Ticket scalping goes digital
Patrick (Lakeview Labs’s Founder & CEO) got into ticket scalping while attending the University of Wisconsin where he would he would buy and sell tickets he bought from alumni and students at the ‘on-sale’ of the ticket selling season, to then re-sell them at higher prices at the start of the season. He also acted as a ticket broker on gameday, acting as the middleman for buyers and sellers of Wisconsin Badger tickets. However, it wasn’t until a few years later when Uber came out that Patrick figured out how he could revolutionize the ticket re-selling (secondary) market.
The major issue Patrick wanted to address was fraud, ensuring fans didn’t have to worry about buying fake tickets. Secondly, he set out to make the process more efficient and keep people from wasting time aimlessly walking around the stadium. To solve these problems, Patrick decided to create an on-demand platform for people to buy and sell tickets.
Therefore, Ticket Scalpr was a “Uber for Ticket Scalping”. It allowed fans to buy and sell tickets outside of stadiums, bypassing using a ticket scalper & all the negatives associated with the process.
The app functioned by allowing the seller to upload their seat information: section, row, seat #, price, and the location of where they wanted to transfer tickets. This was decided to be at either the stadium or a location of seller’s choosing. If a buyer purchased that seller’s tickets, they’d go into an “Uber” type meetup process where they could text or call to meetup and transfer tickets. The transaction was handled safely in the app, and there was even a verification process in the dashboard that required users to upload the barcode of the ticket, ensuring that the tickets were valid.
How do I build a company?
After almost half a year trying to figure out how to get this accomplished, Patrick assembled his team and moved out to San Francisco, where he had been accepted into an accelerator called Boost.vc. The program was a 3 month crash course in the art of the startup, and was an eye-opening experience to how tech companies are created and scaled.
Even after Boost.vc and working on the idea for months and months. I really had no idea how to build, scale, or grow a company. I realized pretty early in my Ticket Scalpr days that all my knowledge gained, and 1000’s of hours wasted, I could apply towards helping other startups chase their dreams at some point.
So, after a few more months of getting feedback from mobile user experience experts, an MVP of the product was launched in San Francisco in 2013. The initial offering was very simple and only allowed people to buy and sell tickets from one another, but was a first of its kind, and led to a small investment by a well known angel investor.
Following a successful run in San Francisco, TicketScalpr expanded & relocated back to Chicago where it was launched with a new design. The app quickly reached number 2 in the App Store under the tickets category right behind StubHub!
Unfortunately, disaster struck for Ticket Scalpr during the opening weekend of 2013 as the app had to be shut down due to fraud. People were using stolen credit cards to buy tickets on TicketScalpr and then reselling them on more liquid secondary marketplaces, like StubHub. As a result the app had to be shut down for six months. Following this hiatus, it was relaunched with a new cutting edge fraud infrastructure in addition to launching on Android for the first time. However, the secondary ticket market caught on quite quickly and many competitors launched competing apps with massive budgets behind them, edging out Ticket Scalpr from it’s perch upon the top of the app store for tickets.