A new online broker to fan ticket marketplace, SeatSmart has launched.
The San Antonio-based startup has raised $750,000 of its $1 million seed round funding led by angel investors Lew Moorman and Pat Matthews, both former Rackspace executives. Additional investors include ten large brokers nationwide.
SeatSmart plans to use the money to hire additional employees, continue product development and on marketing.
SeatSmart features hundreds of thousands of tickets to sporting events, concerts and theater shows for sale at five to 50 percent less than other ticket brokers such as StubHub and SeatGeek, according to Brett Cohen, the company’s CEO and co-founder.
SeatSmart, which has five employees, spun out of Best Tickets, a ticket broker in San Antonio, which Cohen’s father founded 20 years ago. Cohen saw an opportunity to create a new online ticket broker to fan marketplace. The advantage is that the broker doesn’t have to pay large markup fees to the marketplace or platform operator and the consumer doesn’t have to pay add-on fees for purchasing tickets online. The other co-founders are Jerome Cohen, chairman of the board, Aaron Pearson, chief technical officer and Andrew Powell-Morse, chief marketing officer.
“It’s a new business model to help consumers save money and brokers make more money,” Cohen said.
The site launched early last month and already has more than $100 million of preferred tickets listed from brokers, Cohen said. It launched just before the Super Bowl and several people bought tickets through the site at a discount from other online ticket marketplaces, Cohen said.
“This is the type of business model that can be disruptive,” said Matthews, an investor in SeatSmart. The key is that SeatSmart charges brokers a flat fee to list their inventory and doesn’t charge the customer any mark up fees. By cutting out middlemen from the websites, SeatSmart created a better marketplace by connecting brokers to consumers, Matthews said.
“Everybody wants to save money,” Cohen said. SeatSmart helps customers avoid expensive markup fees, he said. SeatSmart also lets brokers control the end price of their tickets and to gain new customers. “We have real deep relationships with a lot of these brokers throughout the country. For us, it was important to allow these other brokers to sell directly to fans.”