Eventbrite Isn’t Just Selling Tickets, It’s Building A New Kind Of Social Platform

What if partygoers could automatically share Instagram photos? Or conference attendees could exchange LinkedIn requests without collecting cards? With Eventbrite’s API, we may be about to find out.

Eventbrite Isn’t Just Selling Tickets, It’s Building A New Kind Of Social Platform

Every time you invite people to an event, you create a mini social network. Startup ticketing platform Eventbrite aims to help put that physical network to use in online apps.


Think about automatically sending a tweet when you walk into an event to announce yourself, Eventbrite CEO and co-founder Kevin Hartz suggests. Hartz goes on: “Think about using Instagram at an event. That could be better shared among [attendees]…You can imagine on the professional side, what could happen with LinkedIn after an event.”

None of these hypothetical examples is a priority for Hartz himself. Eventbrite is pretty good at selling tickets and plans to stick to it. But the company recently gave other apps the opportunity to bring these use cases to life by opening up its API.

For the last 18 months, developers have been able to easily add Eventbrite-powered capabilities to their apps. For many, this means simply using Eventbrite to sell tickets within their apps. But the API also presents an opportunity for event organizers to use their attendee lists within other apps. Apps can integrate a new kind of social graph: one based on physical meetings rather than clicks.

Giving people the ability to share, mingle, and keep in touch with the people who they attend events with is arguably more useful than offering new ways to interact with their 800 Facebook friends.

“There’s almost nothing as powerful as a live experience,” explains Hartz’s wife and cofounder, Julia Hartz. “People actually gathering offline, it’s something you don’t forget.”

So far the implementations have been gingerly engaged. 5K races have used the Eventbrite API to send photos and race times to participants, Paperless Post uses it to link tickets with invitations, and services provided by MailChimp and Salesforce use it to help companies stay in touch with the people who attend their events.


Since it set up shop in 2006, Eventbrite has differentiated itself in the ticketing space by allowing anyone to sell tickets on its platform–whether they’re planning a cooking class for their friends or a 60,000-person concert in Central Park. Throughout the last couple of years, however, it’s been on a bit of a growth spurt. It has been quick to develop mobile opportunities like an iPad credit-card reader to help event coordinators working in non-tradition venues organize admissions and launched an aggressive international expansion. So far, it’s sold tickets in 174 countries.

Hitching a ride in other apps, whether as an enabler of online connection between eventgoers or a simple ticket seller, should further serve its growth.

“When you’re moving in to dominate a space, you can’t be everywhere at once,” Kevin Hartz says.

Apps with Eventbrite integrations, however, can be.

[Image: Flickr user Vanessa Lynn]

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.