This weeks installment of the TZ Startup Hot Seat features Adam Kanner, CEO of ScoreBig. Think of it as the Priceline for the sporting, music, arts, and theater event ticketing space. Shoppers name their price, wait a few moments, then see if their price was accepted. One of the great things of ScoreBig is that the price you pitch is the price you pay. None of those pesky convenience, printing, or mailing fees. Now, lets learn a little more about ScoreBig and a few tips and tricks of the trade with Adam.
Before we get started ScoreBig has been so gracious as to give our wonderful TechZulu readers beta invites to test out their service for themselves. They have a huge waiting list if you signup through the site that will have you waiting for at least 2-3 weeks. 50 of the first TZ readers will gain instant access by CLICKING HERE
Give Us the Fast Pitch
Right. ScoreBig is a new way to get great deals on live event tickets. We sell many of the best sports, concerts and theater tickets all for below retail prices. We will never sell a ticket above retail price. ScoreBig members can pick their price on tickets to events and get an instant response if their offers are accepted or not. With ScoreBig there are never any fees or delivery charges and every ticket is 100% guaranteed.
What made you decide to begin working on ScoreBig?
While working at the NBA I experienced the industry problem of unsold seats firsthand. I heard a lot of pitches from companies hoping to help us at the NBA solve this problem, but none of them directly addressed the issue without risking the brand of our teams and the cannibalization of full priced tickets. I was well aware that in the travel and apparel markets channels have existed for decades that helped those industries sell excess inventory to consumers at a discount without damaging the retail channels, so why not for the live event industry?
What is the market opportunity?
Approximately 40% of total industry capacity goes unsold and we have a huge audience of casual live event fans that have been priced out of attending. No one else is dealing with this issue head on.
How big is your team?
Sixty and growing.
Are you funded? How did your company get its initial funding? How much funding do you currently have?
Yes. We’re very well funded. We started with a round of angel financing and then Bain Capital Ventures led our Series A. We’ve raised a total of $8.5 million.
[Update: ScoreBig raised another $14 million bringing their total funding to $22.5 million]
Have you ever needed to change direction/focus? If so, what was that like?
In most start up situations you generally have to change direction several times, but we’ve been fortunate that to date we haven’t had to. The senior team has a great deal of expertise from the industry and as a result, we were well aware of the issues and challenges in advance. We’ve stuck to our plan and it has been paying us huge dividends.
How do you deal with competitors? Do you keep up with other companies doing similar things?
We are always watching other players in the ticketing industry. What we are doing is quite unique and difficult. As long as we continue to focus on executing well, we’ll be in good shape.
What are the most difficult and best things about being an entrepreneur?
Best and most difficult things about being an entrepreneur: creating a team of the best people, having a real mission and sense of purpose, enjoying and thriving on highs and surviving the lows, the excitement of creating something great and the overall challenge of building something from nothing. Good entrepreneurs are people who will bet on themselves over anyone else and if you don’t feel like you can do that, it’s not the right gig for you.
Mobile computing is blowing up right now, where do you see online ticketing and Mobile (Phones, Tablets, etc.) going?
Mobile is important for all categories of eCommerce and social commerce. A rich, engaging and useful mobile platform is not a “nice to have,” it’s a “must have.” People are using their phones for much more than phone calls and that will only increase.
What’s one of your most successful decisions?
To start a company out of business school and not go into the traditional workplace. It was a tough road, especially at 28 years old, but it taught me more in a few years than most would learn in a full career.
Where have you struggled? What mistakes have you made that you believe other entrepreneurs could learn from?
Too many mistakes to list – but a big one is hiring the wrong people. That could mean being enamored by a resume or being swayed by an introduction from someone else you trust. You have to do the work to get to make sure they are right for the role and the culture. The right people make a business; the wrong people can kill it. Environments like startups need hungry, smart, flexible people.
Who are your three most influential entrepreneurs?
My grandfather, who taught me how to build companies the right way; my mother, and Michael Bronner, who started Digitas and Upromise.
All three of those people helped me realize how hard it is to start a business and the sacrifices necessary to be successful. They helped me develop a willingness to take enormous personal, but calculated, risk.
What does “failure” mean to you?
A learning opportunity.
What does “success” mean to you?
A learning opportunity.
What is coming up next? Your goals, new products, new direction? (Either for you as an entrepreneur or for the company as a whole)
We’re continuing to build our product, add more markets, more events and grow our member base in line with our inventory. We’re going to change this industry for the better.
Thank you Adam for taking the time out and giving our readers some insite into your world as an entrepreneur, the event ticketing space and what to expect with ScoreBig when it becomes publicly available to the masses. Again for those of you who would like early access to ScoreBig the first 50 to CLICK HERE will be able to check it out.