Audience Republic’s Jared Kristensen on Navigating the Pandemic, Securing $10m From Investors and More
Fear At The Top co-hosts Luke Girgis and Poppy Reid chat to Audience Republic CEO Jared Kristensen.
Think big, start small, move fast.
Those ingredients have served Jared Kristensen well, and enabled his business, Audience Republic, to survive and thrive following the traffic spike that was the pandemic.
Kristensen is founder and CEO of Audience Republic, an Australian start-up that has built an all-in-one CRM and marketing platform designed to help promoters sell more tickets, and own their data.
What started small in 2016, has grown its valuation to $51 million, and boasts a list of clients that includes Frontier Touring, TEG, Untitled Group, Live Nation and more.
There’s small, and there’s the earliest incarnation of the Audience Republic platform, built by a Guatemalan designer for just $500.
With that proof-of-design app, the “smallest version that will deliver the most value,” combined with a vision, ample elbow grease, and several early clients, including NZ festival brand Rhythm and Vines, and the now-defunct fest Stereosonic, the entrepreneur had enough to pursue investors.
That first round was a tough one to crack, recounts Kristensen, who met with some 100 investors. He secured the support of 15, raised $500,000 and got the ball rolling.
Today, Audience Republic has raised a total of $10 million, mostly from VCs and angel investors.
Fifty per cent of its clients are based in North America, 35% are in Australia and New Zealand, and the remainder includes festivals and promoters across Europe and the Middle East, including businesses in Saudi Arabia. “It’s very much a global business.”
When the World Health Organisation declared the pandemic in March 2020, Kristensen, like so many others, was faced with having no business at all.
Tough decisions were made. The team, 30-strong at the time, was downsized to 15. “That was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do because these people are doing such a great job. It’s through no fault of their own, but really, we had no choice. We had to get through the pandemic. And get to that point of profitability.”
The reshaped team achieved the goal. “Throughout the two years of the pandemic, Audience Republic was profitable. We left the pandemic with the same amount of money in the bank as we did when we started and we just focused on product.”
Instead of pivoting, Kristensen and Co. held their ground.
“What we knew was live events would come back. It’s just a matter of time, so we spent the whole time in the pandemic building the product and making it better. We came out of the pandemic with a much better product.”
Its rebuilt team now includes Rod Yates, the veteran music journalist and former head of original content at Jaxsta, who joined Audience Republic as content marketing manager in late 2022.
In this wide-ranging and candid Fear At The Top episode, Kristensen opens up on his early wins and losses, presenting to investors (“investors hate music…it’s typically a very tough space”), customer confidence in buying live tickets, insights and more.
Right now, he points out, “big events are doing really well. If you are Harry Styles, you are selling out, no matter where you are.” The medium-size events “are either doing really well or they’re struggling.” It’s a similar scenario with smaller events.
And with music festivals, Kristensen has identified that multi-genre festivals are struggling compared versus single-genre fests, which are performing strongly.
“People are buying as many tickets as ever. The great thing about the live music market is when times are good, people want to have fun, and when times are bad people want to escape.”
Watch the full Fear at the Top episode with Jared Kristensen below:
Stream this podcast episode here.