Ben Franklin

INVESTING IN PENNSYLVANIA’S FUTURE

TicketLeap: Agile Teamwork and Responsive Customer Service

Keith Fitzgerald was tired of being a spectator. When he left his corporate job and joined startup company TicketLeap, he knew there would be risks—but the benefits were impossible to pass up.

Keith Fitzgerald, TicketLeap

“I decided to join a startup simply for the adventure,” he says. “Working at an established company, I felt like I was watching the game instead of being on the field. I am passionate about technology and building quality products so when the opportunity came up to apply those skills in a new company environment, I jumped.”

TicketLeap is a fast-growing full-service ticketing software and event management solution. Fitzgerald joined the company in September 2009 and, facing software limitations, immediately began testing the idea of redesigning the TicketLeap platform from the ground up.

“Once we discussed it, we decided to build an entirely new platform,” says Fitzgerald. “It’s a testament to the commitment and full support of our management team that we were able to do this.”

Support Far Beyond the Initial Investment

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA invested a total of $500,000 in TicketLeap from 2008 and 2009. TicketLeap has attracted more than $4.5M in total investments.

Ben Franklin and MentorTech Ventures (a University City-based venture firm that specializes in investing in companies with connections to the University of Pennsylvania) led TicketLeap’s first round of investments. TicketLeap’s other investors include three groups of wealthy individuals called angels—Delaware Crossing Investor Group, the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group and Robin Hood Ventures; NextStage Capital, a venture-capital firm based in Audubon, Pa.; and singer John Legend.

“Ben Franklin acts as an observer to the board at TicketLeap,” said Fitzgerald. “They have been amazing supporters of TicketLeap and continue to be instrumental in our growth.” Over the years, Ben Franklin has provided business development, management and website design support. In fact, Ben Franklin has used TicketLeap to handle tickets for several of its own events.

Reinventing the Concept

A leader in online ticketing and event registration for the past few years, TicketLeap has developed a revolutionary new platform that is social, quick and intuitive. The platform is deeply integrated with Facebook and Twitter, making it easier than ever for event organizers to sell tickets online and market their events. For select small events, the new platform is free.

TicketLeap is now the fastest-growing ticketing company in the U.S. for small-to-midsize events, helping thousands of event organizers increase their sales and simplify their ticketing.

“Working at TicketLeap has confirmed beliefs I’ve held true for a number of years. One, you’re only as good as your team. Two, a great team is often made of less instead of more.”—Keith Fitzgerald, TicketLeap

Fitzgerald has become familiar with the startup community in Philadelphia, much of it fostered by Ben Franklin. “Things can change on a day-to-day basis here. Established companies can be infuriatingly slow when it comes to turning ideas into implementation. But at a startup there’s no speed limit,” he says.

“I’ve also confirmed beliefs I’ve held true for a number of years. One, you’re only as good as your team. Two, a great team is often made of less instead of more. A swat team of incredibly talented individuals is more agile and can ship great products in a short amount of time.”

A History of Steady Growth

TicketLeap had two employees at its start, seven in 2007 and 25 today. The company’s founding principles—to bring cutting-edge ticketing to even the smallest events, and to treat every event organizer as if they were the most important client—guide the organization still. TicketLeap’s service-oriented attitude is what sets it apart.

TicketLeap is free to use for event organizers selling fewer than 100 tickets per month. The company makes money by adding charges, typically of $1 to $2, to the tickets sold using its systems, and charging fees of about four percent on tickets bought with a credit card. Most of its customers pass on these charges to their ticket buyers, but TicketLeap can take the charges out of its customers’ ticket sales as well.

TicketLeap has expanded its client base and its offerings since the beginning. TicketLeap still primarily services organizers of small to midsize events, but some of the customers have used it to sell tickets to events attended by over 20,000 people. Instead of just enabling TicketLeap customers to sell tickets to their events online, it helps them manage the entire ticket-selling process. Last year, the company launched TicketLeap Anywhere, which enables event organizers to use their computers to sell tickets at their events as long as they can access the Internet.

In the end, Fitzgerald finds working at TicketLeap fulfilling both professionally and personally. “In the past year, I’ve matured by an order of magnitude. A single year in a startup environment is equivalent to ten in a corporate environment.”

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This article was featured in
Keynotes October, 2010
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