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TMN Tinnies January 21, 2022

TMN Tinnies Spotlight: Tixel on ticketing trends, tech & teamwork

TMN Tinnies Spotlight: Tixel on ticketing trends, tech & teamwork
Tixel CEO Zac Leigh (photo by Naomi Lee Beveridge/supplied)

Last month The Music Network announced the winners of its annual business awards, TMN Tinnies. This week TMN’s contributing editor, Christie Eliezer, winds up shining a spotlight on six of the winners, with a look at Tixel’s win at Ticketing Business Of The Year. The 2021 TMN Tinnies were supported by Humm Events, iHeartRadio Australia, Ingrooves, TikTok and Vevo.

2021 was still a turbulent 12 months for the live music and events sector, but secondary ticketing marketplace Tixel still managed to facilitate almost 100,000 trades despite low inventory.

It also raised fresh capital, struck the first of technology partnerships to consolidate security, and continued its plans to move into the European market.

According to Tixel, on average, up to 30% of tickets change hands in the lead-up to an event.

For co-founder and CEO Zac Leigh, the disruptions COVID made to live music and the events market “made us even more relevant”.

When Melbourne-headquartered Tixel first entered the market in 2018, they found consumers frustrated at missing out on shows, tickets trading at three times the retail price, or being turned away at the door because the ticket they purchased was fake.

For Leigh, CFO Jason Webb and CTO Denis Mysenko the solution was a “Buy safe, sell easy” secondary ticketing platform for fans, venues and promoters.

It had to be simple, transparent and scalper-proof by capping prices at 10% over face value.

Two trends have emerged that put pressure on the ticket resale sector.

The unhealthy mix of a huge desire for tickets and a reduced capacity in some venues and festivals aggravated demand and supply.

Secondly, the huge rise of postponements and rescheduled gigs caused a nightmare for the industry in terms of demands for refunds and no-shows.

“With high demand for tickets, we could ensure prices were regulated and we could help sellers easily sell,” Leigh says on Tixel’s rising to the challenge.

“From that perspective, we were able to help.”

The Tixel software suite, including new event organiser features like the refund relief tool, drove measurable reductions on refund requests and no-shows.

It maximised the revenue its customers were able to make on each show.

“We leaned into becoming more flexible. That degree of flexibility with purchases has almost become an expectation now, for fans and organisers.

“From our perspective, it’s still an ongoing journey.

“We’ve been aware of both sides of the coin for a little while and we’ve been able to flex with both conditions – the pockets of activity as well as the challenging times.”

Jason Webb, Zac Leigh, Denis Mysenko

Looking back at 2021, he surmises: “Obviously it was a difficult year, but the big thing for us was that some events were still able to go ahead.

“There was a lot of volatility but we basically helped about 100,000 fans sell their tickets instead of asking for a refund or letting their ticket go to waste.

“We saw that as a metric of how we could help the industry and how we can help fans.

“That will probably continue for a little while.”

Rod Smith, general manager of Melbourne live music venuethe Corner Hotel, revealed a 50% reduction in no-shows after bringing Tixel in as a preferred place for customers to trade tickets.

“I can’t overstate what a huge difference that makes to our business,” according to Smith.

Another number Leigh is proud of is zero – the number of fake tickets that traded on Tixel.

“We validated, caught and cancelled any fraudulent tickets that were listed on the site before they were even purchased.”

However, the distorted supply and demand equation is causing a rise in scammers.

“They’ve become more sophisticated globally, and that’s obviously having a big impact.

“We’ve seen a lot more fraudulent activity in other social media platforms, but we’ve been able to keep it safe for buyers.

“We’ve got a team of developers who work hard at making sure our tech is two steps ahead.”

Two partnerships set up Tixel’s growth in 2022.

In May, it announced a $1.5 million capital raise.

It was to further scale the platform for a leap in ticket refunds, and expand a product suite made for event organisers looking to streamline their operations and drive incremental sales.

Investors included the music industry’s Alberts (with David Albert joining Tixel’s board), UNIFIED Music Group, Future Classic, I OH YOU, Leisurely and Rose Avenue, as well as newly formed Galileo Ventures, and Linktree co-founders Alex and Anthony Zaccaria.

David Albert explained his company is drawn to investing in pioneers.

“A core pillar of our impact thesis is contributing to a vibrant culture,” Albert says.

“Tixel is a great example of this and sits within our arts, music and entertainment theme.

“Having an independent ethical ticket resale marketplace in Australia can mean more fans at shows, more bar and merch sales for our venues and importantly an all-round better experience for everyone involved.

“We’re big fans of what Zac, Jason, and Denis have created and the way they handled the stresses and strains of the pandemic.”

Added UNIFIED Music Group founder and CEO Jaddan Comerford: “The thing that the most successful and enduring artists care about most is their fans.

“A fan’s experience extends right out to the process of buying a ticket to their show.

“The Tixel team is laser-focused on making that experience better and fairer for fans, as well as bringing transparency and data access to the promoters and venues that help bring shows to life.

We’re proud to continue our support of their customer-centric approach and business model.”

In October, Tixel and Brisbane based independent primary ticketer Oztix integrated the technical aspects of their platforms.

The aim was to solve price gouging, fraudulent activity and inefficiency in the secondary market.

“​​The sheer quantity of new event builds on our platform is something I’ve never seen before and it’s all in response to a huge demand from fans wanting to get back out there,” Oztix commercial director Seth Clancy said then.

“The partnership with Tixel is landing at the perfect time to give fans more flexibility and confidence as they make decisions about which summer events they want to attend.”

The alliance was acclaimed by many in the biz, particularly for its timing.

“I couldn’t be happier with this partnership,” commented Sharlene Harris, national entertainment manager at ALH Group, which operates 300 licensed venues

“Dealing with heartbroken punters with fake tickets at the door — everyday people who have been scammed by unscrupulous ticket sellers — has been a problem for some time.

“But this integration has never been more important than right now.

“With so many shows and events having to be rescheduled during the pandemic, sometimes up to a handful of times, purchasers that can’t attend on the new date are able to sell their tickets simply and confidently.”

Leigh expects similar collaboration and integrations will continue through 2022 to keep the platform one step ahead of the scammers.

“We’ll continue to work more closely with event organisers ad ticketing companies as well.”

The plan to expand into Europe has been curtailed due to COVID’s continual devastation.

“We’re keeping our finger on the pulse,” Leigh says.

“It seems things will be up and running for their summer cycle, but who knows?”


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