What Makes Eventbrite a Billion Dollar Company?

Everything in our digital world — business, art, communication, — happens on the flat screens of computers or mobile devices. But here is the thing — people still enjoy real life. Mobile apps for event planning offer a great connection between the virtual and the real.

As with all genres of mobile apps, the event planning sphere has already received plenty of attention. Here at Yalantis we know that very well, since our developers have much experience developing event planning apps both for iOS and Android.

Some of the most popular event planning apps today are:

  • Songkick, a world concerts picker (and my personal favorite);

  • Fever, which was generously funded recently.

There are much more event planning apps out there.

You can check out more local event apps – and believe me when I say there are still unique features to develop! The absolute leader of event planning apps is Eventbrite, which we will be examining in this article so you can get a better idea of what to expect if you decide to develop a similar app with us.

How much is Eventbrite worth?

Eventbrite was founded in 2006 by Kevin Hartz (who previously was involved with PayPal), his wife Julia Hartz, and Renaud Visage (the CTO). Since 2006, Eventbrite has raised a total of $200 million in funding, including through a new round led by Tiger Management and T. Rowe Price, with their support amounting to as much as $60 million. This last venture capital investment, according to Fortune’s Dan Primack report, lifts the value of Eventbrite to over $1 billion.

This means that the Eventbrite ticketing platform joins a so-called “Unicorn club” for elite startups. In 2014, Eventbrite processed $1.5 billion worth of free and paid tickets through their apps for over 80 million events. Judging from their massive surge in growth, Eventbrite is doing extremely well. Eventbrite didn’t go public in 2015 as it was expected. Instead, the company opted to raise more funding – a move that ushered it into the Billion Dollar Startup Club.

Eventbrite's underlying technology

Eventbrite Mobile App

Eventbrite offers a few products targeting both event organizers and regular users looking for events in their local area. Among Eventbrite’s event discovery app features are event classification by categories based on user location (via GPS), ticket purchasing, and ticket management (like a digital wallet for your tickets). There is also a discovery feature implemented through Facebook integration that shows friend’s events. Eventbrite’s users don’t have to print out their tickets. QR codes on their phones make it easy to check into events.

Eventbrite for organizing events

Eventbrite’s monetization model is based on establishing connections with event organizers. The idea is to take care of selling tickets and event promotion in exchange for a fee charged for their ticketing service. This is a wise approach that benefits for event organizers by letting them get rid of the ticket selling headache while also turning a huge profit for Eventbrite.

So how does Eventbrite work and make money? Registering an event with Eventbrite is free. They charge money only when a ticket is purchased. They charge a service fee and a credit card processing fee.

In figures, these fees are: 2.5% of the ticket value + $0.99 per ticket. If payment is by credit card, then they charge an additional 3% of the value of each ticket. Eventbrite accepts all major credit cards and complies with PCI-DSS 2.0 Level 1 as both a merchant and a service provider.

There is also an option to use alternative payment processors: PayPal and Authorize.net. In this case a customer will have to cover the Eventbrite service fee in addition to PayPal / Authorize.net payment processing fees.

Speaking of ticketing, Eventbrite is pretty democratic with their clients. It’s up to a customer to decide whether to make event attendees pay for all fees by adding them on top of the ticket price, or to include the fees in the total price of the tickets. For example, if a ticket costs $50, Eventbrite will make $3.74 per ticket (Eventbrite service fee + credit card processing fee), and if you wish you can sell the ticket for $53.74.

What is more, Eventbrite has integrated its service with Facebook Event’s “Buy Tickets” feature to help event organizers create event ads, spread the word and sell more tickets. In a nutshell, a user’s event URL is incorporated into the “Buy Tickets” link on Facebook. All that an event organizer has to do is hit the “Publish to Facebook” button and then invite attendees or make an event public. The “Buy Tickets” link will be shown in the event window next to Join, Maybe and Decline buttons.

Eventbrite technology

In recent updates to the platform, Eventbrite added reserved seating options for ticket sellers. This Web tool lets event organizers customize the seating map of the venue and designate a focal point, according to which Eventbrite calculates where the best seats are. The pricing they charge for reserved seating remains the same (2.5% + 99¢ per ticket). This great feature opened the doors for Eventbrite to bigger venues and more formal events, presenting a challenge to other ticket sellers like Ticketmaster.

Entry Manager App

To help event organizers check in attendees faster, Eventbrite has developed an Entry Manager app. This app validates attendees’ ticket barcodes using a camera on the device. There are also name search options for checking in attendees. The app contains all the information that the organizers need: the number of tickets sold for a particular event, the number in attendance, and analysis of the attendance data after the event.

Eventbrite's apps

At the Door app

Eventbrite’s online event registration platform has developed a solution for event organizers to check in attendees, as well as purchase tickets and process credit cards on-site. Their At the Door app is available for iPad, and together with At the Door Card Reader (that plugs into the tablet’s charging dock) and Printer, you can form a great portable box office. (The Card Reader costs costs $10, but the money is later refunded. The printer is $300 per piece, but it’s optional).

Celebrating the launch of this solution, Eventbrite has waived all service fees on purchases made through At the Door, leaving only the 3% credit card processing cost. There are other players with card readers that accept and process credit cards right from iPhones, iPads or Android devices, such as Square or PayPal Here.

But every company is looking to maximize profit. Relying on third party services would deprive Eventbrite of the transaction fees that the payment processor collects. Furthermore, Square doesn’t have an open API that could be synchronized with organizers’ Eventbrite accounts and give them all the data related to event attendees and ticket sales. Besides, making more money for the company, Eventbrite’s At the Door solution lets event organizers have a comprehensive look at ticket sales both before and after the event.

At the Door kit

Events are never enough

In September 2013, Eventbrite announced the acquisition of Eventioz, an online ticketing service headquartered in Argentina, and Lanyrd, a London-based event data company. I cannot really tell you much about Eventioz, but the Lanyrd app targets busy professionals who don’t miss a chance to listen to something useful and establish valuable connections at professional events and conferences.

Lanyrd helps people find events through Twitter contacts (sign-in is implemented through Twitter), store events on the device (the app works offline), see the list of attendees as well as speakers, and hurry to the event using Google maps.

Eventbrite clone looks like a huge deal

But we can help you get going or open the mobile gates for your existing event business – and then the sky’s the limit. The good news is that Eventbrite has an API, and their API is in open source. So why not monetize your app using Eventbrite’s API? With the help of Eventbrite you can add event management features to your website and access rich worldwide event data for your app – hopefully produced at Yalantis. ;) Currently Eventbrite has partnerships with Salesforce, MailChimp, Wordpress, Boomset, Attendify and others. Is yours next?

Read also:Our expertise in mobile app development for taxi. Limo booking apps

If this article gave rise to any more questions about developing event planning apps, then we would be glad to chat! We’re here to offer expertise and suggestions, and to help you develop whatever innovate app you have in mind!


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