Here's a 'tech for good' startup worth watching
Tickets for Good is attracting notable attention on both sides of the pond
What’s this? PreSeed Now is in your inbox four hours late?! What is this sloppiness?
Fear not. Today’s startup had some news that was under a media embargo until 1pm UK time, so we held off on publishing.
I felt it would be a bit silly to leave out that Tickets for Good is taking part in a Comcast NBCUniversal accelerator in the States, helping it gear up for international expansion. Scroll down to read all about them.
💸 Just raised
A startup that has recently announced pre-seed funding:
Shipping tech startup eTEU has announced a “six-figure” (a pretty wide window of potential amounts - journalists prefer exact figures!) pre-seed investment from Jenson Funding Partners, Larix Equity, Pinto Ventures and a number of angel investors.
The London-based startup removes the need for physical shipping paperwork.
Tickets for Good is a ‘tech for good’ startup worth keeping an eye on
Despite its potential positive impact on the world, the ‘Tech for Good’ field can get a bit of an unspoken ‘aw, that’s nice… but it’s not serious’ reaction from some in the investment community.
But even if you catch yourself thinking like that sometimes, Tickets for Good is a company that should be on your radar.
A marketplace that sits on top of traditional booking platforms like TicketMaster, it provides a way for businesses and event promoters to offer free event tickets to groups like NHS staff or charity workers. And its unusual model is already attracting some notable interest in the USA. More on that below.
To give you an idea of the kinds of events Tickets for Good works with, the startup partnered with Robbie Williams on his most recent tour. It’s also offered tickets to shows by the likes of Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish, plus big West End theatres and sports events. This includes more than 10,000 tickets distributed for RFU rugby matches, says co-founder and CEO, Steve Rimmer.
How it works
Rimmer describes his startup as a way for businesses to donate tickets for marketing or corporate social responsibility reasons, or for event promoters to make use of unsold tickets to fill venues, where they can monetise through food and drink, parking, merchandise and other sales.
The tech the startup has built provides a verification layer to bookings, so that only those who should be able to claim free tickets can do so.
While the Sheffield-based startup’s sweet spot is big-name music artists, theatre shows, and popular sport events, Rimmer says they could work with any kind of ticketed entertainment. He says they now get offered tickets for things as diverse as theme parks, cinemas, and golf, so there’s room for expansion here.
“Really, it's about providing people with access to new entertainment, and so we want to work across the mix. It's important for us to have a diversity of event inventory, because it's not just about filling a few seats at the last minute for a top-flight artist, it's about getting people out to new events that they wouldn't necessarily have been to before, and getting new experiences.”
Rimmer says the startup has signed up 175,000 NHS workers (around half in London, the rest across the UK), has recently opened to people working for registered charities, and is about to begin a pilot with people who receive the Government’s Cost of Living payment.
While there are other initiatives that offer tickets and discounts to groups such as the armed forces (Tickets for Troops) or emergency service workers (Blue Light Card), Rimmer is bullish that Tickets for Good’s tech and broad userbase sets it apart as a more significant operation.
“The other thing that defines us is we charge a booking fee per ticket of £3.95 on average. If you give away tickets completely free then the actual number of people that turn up is much lower; you're talking about 50%, possibly as low as 20%. Whereas with ours because we charge that booking fee, it's as high as 80-90% consistently, sometimes higher.”
Tickets for Good also provides marketing opt-ins for the companies it works with, and the chance for them to ask market research questions to users who claim their tickets.
Accelerating on both sides of the pond
The startup found an early supporter in London-based Bethnal Green Ventures, which included them on its 2019 Tech for Good accelerator programme.
“They put another £100,000 into us on top of their initial incubation investment, and they also provide us with a lot of insights on a regular basis. They're part of our advisory board as well,” says Rimmer.
“But just being part of such a notable portfolio… it's been a great benefit for us just in terms of the brand recognition as well.”
If it’s brand recognition Rimmer wants, Tickets for Good’s new partner will help on an international scale. When I spoke to him last week, he was preparing to fly out to the US for the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator programme. They’re the only UK startup chosen for the latest run of the accelerator.
It sounds like a flashy affair. In addition to the usual support you’d expect in an accelerator curriculum, Rimmer and the other founders on the programme will take part in what the accelerator describes as “a series of unique excursions and working retreats structured around SportsTech partner events.”
These trips, designed to (as the announcement puts it) “embed founders behind-the-scenes so they can gain a better understanding of how to deliver innovations that service these organisations’ operational needs” will include involvement of the likes of NBC Sports, Universal Studios Florida, WWE, PGA Tour, and NASCAR.
So, there are plenty of opportunities for Tickets for Good to make inroads and connections in the US market there.
Tickets for Good is Rimmer’s third ticketing startup. With a background in live events, including running a popular underground techno club in Sheffield, ticketing was an obvious next entrepreneurial step. His first startup was a dance music ticketing platform.
“It was all about fundraising through music, raising donations through booking fees. We then pivoted into a more self-service model like Eventbrite,” says Rimmer.
“Along the way, we realised this amazing opportunity in unsold tickets in the UK. Globally, over 40% of tickets are unsold across the marketplace and there’s such a huge opportunity to fill those seats but also to do good in the process.”
And so Rimmer co-founded Tickets for Good with old friend Neville Mosey in 2019. The startup has now grown to a team of 15 people.
“So many people, and especially now with the cost of living crisis, have been priced out of accessing tickets. And that begs the question ‘where will the future fans come from?’ So really, we're part of that audience development mix.”
Investment, vision, and challenges
Essential Tickets for Good information for PreSeed Now members: