New York – Founders of SeatGeek, an extensive ticket search engine and customized event database, with headquarters in New York City, have altered the vision for their company over the course of three years and are currently seeing positive results.
According to Will Flaherty, director of communications at SeatGeek, traffic to the site has increased between thirty and forty percent over the last three months. “We’ve had really substantial growth. Every day is kind of like a record for us, which is exciting,” said Flaherty.
One reason for such enthusiastic feedback from users and a high amount of traffic to the site, is simply due to the small changes, or pivots, SeatGeek has made since the owners launched the company in 2009.
“We’ve broadened our ambitions from being a site to help users find the cheapest ticket to one that is about helping users discover the events that they’ll be sure to love,” said Russell D’Souza, co-founder of SeatGeek.
Each SeatGeek user is able to enter information pertaining to their interests, such as a favorite band or sports team, into the site’s Columbus feature, which then provides them with a personalized calendar of events to attend in selected cities.
“The goal is to take in as many inputs as we can, in terms of what you like, musical artists or teams, and produce recommendations accordingly,” said Flaherty.
SeatGeek not only provides tailored selections of events to attend, but also focuses on ticket aggregation by offering over 120 brokers and individual ticket sources.
“We want to have as many ticket options available for as many live events as there are in the US. For any live, ticketed event in the US, from a bull-riding competition in Montana to a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden, we want to make sure we have that event catalogued,” said Flaherty.
As SeatGeek became more prominent, the company pivoted in a way that took away a key price-forecasting feature that was in the original business plan.
“These [price forecasts] were a core feature of the company when we launched, but we realized that most users who came to SeatGeek wanted to buy tickets now and were thrown off by the forecasts,” said D’Souza.
SeatGeek has also changed its course by adding a wider assortment of events to their site.
“It started as very sports-focused. Initially, we only had the big four sports. We didn’t have college sports or concerts, but over the course of 2010 we added those event types,” said Flaherty.
Since adding new categories of events into their search engine, like concerts and musicals, SeatGeek has seen even more success. Luke Williams, the executive director of the NYU Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, believes that a company must be open-minded to pivoting, in order to truly flourish.
“They have to be open to their own biases being broken down in order to get the best result, by taking into account feedback and making sure they are changing their plans accordingly,” said Williams.
SeatGeek has been open to changing their business model, and is now looking to further expand. The company plans to widen its user base by releasing their first mobile app next month, which will be one of the first ticketing apps on the iPhone with interactive maps.
“I think we’ve realized we’ve got a product that people love. Now, it is about how we can reach a broader audience,” said Flaherty.
Geoffrey Karapetyan, a second-year MBA student at NYU’s Stern School of Business, is surrounded by friends who have been working on their own start-up ideas, and believes there are many ingredients, besides pivoting, that can lead a start-up to success.
“It is about dedication, the belief that the project is worthwhile and being able to convince others of your own passion,” said Karapetyan.
SeatGeek’s team is passionate about their product and believes they are helping others through their business.
“We’re tackling a meaningful problem. We’re working on a product that is helping people get more out of their wallet and get more out of their experience when they go to a game or event, and that is rewarding,” said Flaherty.
**Check out my interview with Will Flaherty, director of communications at SeatGeek**