When trying to go to a concert or sporting event last minute you either have to pay a lot, or you can go to a sketchy website that you don’t know if you can trust. Rukkus is making this a problem of the past. Rukkus, the ticket selling site that gives you the best prices and is 0% sketchy is getting you what you want whether it’s the next Yankees-Sox game or for when Adele inevitably comes back to town. The company that is already causing a ruckus in the online ticket world is committed to making sure you don’t get ripped off.
AlleyWatch spoke with founder/CEO Manick Bhan about the company’s 360° seat selection view as well as how the ticket sales market has evolved through the years.
Tell us about the product or service?
Rukkus provides fans with tickets to thousands of sporting events as well as concert and theater.
How is it different?
Customers can now browse and buy tickets in virtual reality with the aid of our 360° panoramic seat views. The new Seat360 functionality utilizes gyroscope driven panoramic 360° seat views, allowing fans to fully experience their seat location first-hand before final purchases are made.
Our direct relationships with well established ticket resellers keep inventory current and prices competitive. Unlike some competitors, we handle all checkout and by doing so, we are able to round out the purchase experience by converting barcodes into mobile-scannable QR codes and provide award-winning customer service from start to finish.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The secondary ticket market is a $30 billion a year industry across sports, live music, and theater events.
What is the business model?
Ticket sales. We have spent a lot of time and effort forging relationships directly with resellers that allows us access to billions of dollars worth of inventory to provide to customers with the best selection at the best prices.
What inspired the business?
The ticketing industry hasn’t evolved much since the first sellers moved online 15+ years ago. We were tired of overpriced inventory and getting shut out of major concerts and games and that frustration led me down this path. Before Rukkus, I was an analyst at Goldman Sachs where I was part of an advisory team for the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger. During this time I took an interest in the market dynamics at play in the live entertainment industry and saw an opportunity for a more transparent and informative ticket buying experience.
Why does secondary ticket sales lend itself well to VR?
We surveyed customers and people who frequent live events and over 90% of them said a first person seat view was very important to their ticket buying decision. Most advances in virtual reality have come in the gaming or entertainment space but we wanted to bring a practical application to the technology. Our version of VR is immersive without being overpowering and helpful in the decision making process.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We are expecting to do $100 million in transactions by the end of the year. We also plan to expand our catalog of Seat360 venues to include all NFL teams and over a hundred live music venues.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Don’t celebrate capital raising as if it’s a big accomplishment. Obviously raising money is essential for most startups, but it is by no means an end goal or stopping point. I constantly read about funding and valuation, but it all means nothing if you aren’t adding value with a proven product or roadmap towards profitability.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Despite the recent injunctions here in NY, I’d love to sit down with Nigel Eccles and the team over at FanDuel. I really admire the incredible growth they’ve seen in a few short years at the intersection of sports and technology. He’s previously seen success with multiple startups so he’s got an impressive track record when it comes to creating value.
Why did you launch in New York?
As a company that focuses on live events, NYC is the mecca when it comes to live sports, concerts, and theater. From Yankee Stadium to Broadway, there are hundreds of active venues and a countless number of events happening on any given day. You add that to the amazing resources and networking opportunities this city provides and it would almost be foolish to start Rukkus anywhere else.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Not really a restaurant per se, but since we’ve been so busy lately I’ve been ordering a lot from Maple. Good food delivered to me right at my desk.