Audience Republic, an Australian-developed online platform that helps event organisers increase ticket sales, has closed a $525,000 seed investment round.
Founded by former concert and festival promoter Jared Kristensen, 27, and former CTO of GoCatch Jason MacLulich, 37, Audience Republic raised the seed round from Artesian Capital, QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, and several Australian angel investors.
The funds raised from the round will go towards accelerating customer acquisition and also towards product development, in order to bolster customers’ data and analytics capabilities. Investors in the seed round include: Artesian Capital (via the Slingshot Venture Fund), QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Radinck Martin van Vollenhoven (Stocard managing director. Formerly from Spotify (as a sales director and sales manager) and Apple (in business development), Nick Ingall (Invoice2go’s head of people and culture (Ex Spotify, Atlassian, AdRoll), Ben Sharp (AdRoll’s managing director), Hugh Stephens (Schedugram’s founder and CEO), Allen Liao (Tzukuri’s CEO & founder) and Fredrik Orrenius (G4S Ventures’ CEO).
What exactly does Audience Republic do?
Launched in October 2015 and formerly known as Ticket Squad, Audience Republic is a Sydney-based software-as-a-service platform that helps increase ticket sales for events. Event organisers pay to use the platform to create online campaigns that drive increased ticket sales to their existing ticketing providers, such as Ticketek, Ticketmaster or Eventbrite.
More than $2 million worth of ticket sales from tens of thousands of event goers have been delivered by Audience Republic to organisers to date. Festivals that it’s boosted ticket sales for in Australia and New Zealand include: Electric Gardens, Pitch Festival, Days Like This and Rhythm & Vines. It’s also been used on concerts for Sticky Fingers, Broods and Rufus. But it’s not just festivals and concerts: it’s helped with ticket sales of conferences and special events too.
“More than 85 per cent of events don’t sell out,” says Audience Republic chief executive officer and co-founder, Jared Kristensen. “And with the live events sector being worth $3 billion alone in Australia and $100 billion globally, that’s a huge opportunity for us. We’re very much focused on being a global business. This is demonstrated by our first customers being outside of Australia.”
In order to increase event ticket sales, Audience Republic’s campaigns leverage social media and rewards – such as access to exclusive tickets, discounts, and prizes – to gamify the process of a ticket-buyer inviting friends to purchase tickets too.
The more friends a user refers that buy tickets, and the more social follows they complete, the more points the user gets and the better chance they have to get rewarded. Through the process, event organisers collect data, including their music tastes, so they can learn more about the people who buy tickets to their event. Platforms supported include Facebook and Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Spotify and SoundCloud.
How is Audience Republic doing so far?
On average, Audience Republic says it’s delivered a 76 per cent uplift in pre-sale registrations for events, with 203 per cent being its record – achieved through the virility of social shares.
For event promoters, Kristensen says the data it can provide is invaluable.
“With data collected through Audience Republic, promoters will be able to meet the people behind their ticket sales,” says Kristensen. “We deliver insights like their highest spending, most loyal, and most influential customers. And at a broader level, we provide insights around age, gender and location, as well as interests, preferences and music listening history.”
This seed round announcement comes as the company rebrands its platform, relaunching under the new name Audience Republic. The new name takes into consideration the evolution of the platform and expanded vision beyond just events, says Kristensen.
“We’re seeing some fascinating ways customers have been using the platform beyond events in a way that we hadn’t originally expected, including by some major consumer brands who have used us for campaigns. We’re really excited to be exploring this further,” he says.
“The vision is for Audience Republic to power the marketing for all major events globally, within music, but also across sport, conferences and theatre.”
Rhythm & Vines head of marketing and partnerships Kyle Bell, shared their experience with Audience Republic saying, “The viral element of the presale registration ensured we had maximised entries into our 2016 presale, riding off the back of a successful festival in 2015. Going on sale so early in the year (2 months after the event) was a new concept for us, so we were running on minimal budgets and relying on the viral element created by the frenzy of tickets going on sale.”
“The results were so successful that it led us to go on sale 10 days after the 2016 event, leading to record-breaking sales off the back of an amazing event. We had a sold out crowd of 16,500.
“The hidden benefit of Audience Republic is the gain in followers we achieved, most importantly in our growing channels of Instagram and Snapchat. Our ticket purchasers should be our fans, so this tool helped achieved this. We had used registration tools in the past but failed to drive the frenzy that Audience Republic had done for us,” he added.
Prior to Audience Republic, Kristensen worked for ASX-listed Flamingo as head of marketing, and for a startup called OneSaas. His start in the event industry began at 15, pushing boxes and setting up lighting equipment for events like the Big Day Out and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“I worked my way up to running my own company at 18, which produced a number of electronic music events, with international artists like music producer Boys Noize, DJs The Bloody Beetroots and musical duo MSTRKRFT.”
What is the story behind Audience Republic?
As a former promoter, Kristensen says a key insight he learned was that if people knew their friends were attending an event, they were 10 times more likely to buy a ticket. “And that’s the foundation our platform is built on: leveraging the power of small groups,” Kristensen says.
He adds that he started Audience Republic because as a former event promoter he knew first hand just how difficult it can be to sell tickets.
“For me personally, there was one event where I lost $20,000 in one night because I just didn’t sell enough tickets, and that was the key light-bulb moment for me,” Kristensen says.
“The industry as a whole was getting much more sophisticated: in ticketing, lighting, audio and everything else. But marketing was still lagging behind. While there were lots of great ticketing platforms, what struck me was that there wasn’t a dedicated product to help with event marketing. That’s where Audience Republic comes in.”
Kristensen’s co-founder Jason MacLulich was a former CTO of GoCatch and founder of The Medic, a secure video conferencing service for doctors, which was acquired in 2016. MacLulich met Kristensen through the Slingshot accelerator program, which both Audience Republic and The Medic went through.
“If you had any advice for someone else wanting to start a startup, what would it be?” Anthill asked. Kristensen answered, “Creating something from nothing is really hard. So my advice for anyone else wanting to do a startup would be that you need some sort of unfair advantage.”
“In my case I had the experience of working in the event industry, as well as in marketing. That gave me a unique perspective on how things could be done differently. I’d recommend figuring out what your unfair advantage is, and if you don’t think you have one, then work out how to create one.”