Reading into Eventbrite’s first two acquisitions: a shift in focus towards attendees, globally

Sep 6, 2013
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Eventbrite has made two acquisitions this week, the company announce on their blog – the Latin American event-ticketing platform Eventioz & the UK-based event-discovery site Lanyrd. The acquisitions come just months after Eventbrite raised $60 Million from Tiger Global Management, a move which many said was in order to put off a potentially premature IPO, despite the fact that the company is not only profitable(Update: we initially noted that Eventbrite is profitable, which was not true; their revenue, however, is growing year-over year), but growing consistently year-over-year.

The first acquisition is quite clear in terms of strategy: Eventbrite has been growing organically in Latin America over the years  – “1000s of events and 100K’s of tickets sold” according to Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz, and that’s pre-acquisition – and when they began to look at getting feet on the ground, “we met the talented team at Eventioz and saw the industry passion and expertise they brought, we dug in.”

Where does that leave Europe?

Kevin Hartz photographed by Kevin AboschEventbrite’s been “digging in” to Europe for quite some time – CTO Renaud Visage attends more European tech conferences than I do – and yet it seems that Eventbrite’s strategy in Europe remains “run out the clock, creep into the market.” Competitors like Amiando & Weezevent continue to dig their feet into their local markets – Germany & France, respectively – however, there’s no sign that Eventbrite will be acquiring either in the near future.

Still, one of the perks of being a global leader in your industry, as well has having $60M in fresh funding, is that you don’t have to focus on just one market:

“The scalability of our product, our world class engineering business teams, and our healthy balance sheet allow us to focus on multiple key markets in parallel.” – Kevin Hartz, CEO @ Eventbrite

The company plans to double its team in London by the end of this year.

Putting a stronger emphasis on event attendees

Online Event Registration   Sell Tickets Online with EventbriteWhenever Eventbrite founders – whether it be Kevin & Julie Hartz, or Renaud Visage – speak at tech conferences, there are always feature-questions from the audience “When will you make it easier for attendees to X?” and the answer, until now, has always been that Eventbrite is a tool for event organizers; however, this acquisition of Lanyrd, one of the foremost event discovery services on the web, marks not so much a shift in strategy, but an evolution towards a “two-sided marketplace,” as Hartz calls it.

“We will always be committed on bringing the best technology to help organizers manage events and sell tickets, we are also putting more focus on helping attendees discover the great events on our platform. This brings value to both organizers and attendees.  In addition to the attendee app and 24/7 support to consumers, we have many discovery features and functionality to make finding relevant events easier. ” – Kevin Hartz, CEO @ Eventbrite

It was only a matter of time before Eventbrite would begin to beef up its discovery service. After all, in order to be able to provide event organizers the same amount of organic audience reach within their network, they need to enable users to discover organizers’ events. Meetup.com has long been an example of a company that does this well – users are constantly updating their event preferences, and constantly (sometimes too constantly) being recommended new events; however, I suspect Eventbrite’s recommendations & discoveries will go beyond ticking preference boxes.

Eventbrite’s vast network of events – most of Lanyrd’s events are ultimately Eventbrite events as it is – and knowledge of who’s attending which events will undoubtedly allow them to push events that are interesting & relevant to users, even more so than their occasional email newsletters. Adding improved discovery experiences to their UX on the home page may also be key, though it’s not clear whether Lanyrd will be absorbed into Eventbrite or remain an independent platform.

As Eventbrite continues to grow, the key evolutions to note are that they are now officially global, and they are no longer just going after event organizers. Apps like Grooblin seeking the attention of event attendees may find themselves competing with Eventbrite’s massive brand in the near future – whether that means an app for every event organizer to push their program, speakers & other information to attendees, or whether that just means providing better recommendations to attendees – this much we’ll have to wait & see.