Popular ticketing startup Eventbrite is known more for selling tix for local indie acts than Madison Square Garden headliners. But yesterday, a huge round of funding—$50 million Series E financing led by Tiger Global—suggests even small startups can dream big.
With this latest round of funding, is 2011 the year 144-employee-strong Eventbrite takes on industry giant Ticketmaster? The company aims to sell $400 million worth of tickets this year, almost double the amount sold in 2010, according to The New York Times. But as Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz tells Fast Company, the San Francisco-based startup has more on its mind than attacking Ticketmaster's market share.
"Ticketmaster is a ticketing company, and certainly in our purview," Hartz says. "But we've grown successfully with virtually no business from Ticketmaster's core market."
Core to Eventbrite's focus, Hartz says, is aggressive expansion. That means growing the startup's product and engineering teams; spreading Eventbrite's reach internationally—roughly 20% of its sales come from outside the U.S. already; ramping up its customer service and support efforts as ticket sales continue to bloom; and lastly, keep its eyes out for potential acquisitions.
Of course, with business expanding globally, Eventbrite will eventually start to step on Ticketmaster's toes. Right?
"Really, it doesn't make the most sense for us to go right after Ticketmaster now, when we have such a large opportunity in all these other markets," explains Hartz, who says that the market for professional events, festivals, conferences, and so on is far larger than the mainstream market Ticketmaster currently targets.
"We have a lifetime of opportunity and markets to gain in that area," he adds.
[Image: Flickr user Anirudh Koul]
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