Deals

Online ticket vendor Eventbrite shines with $20M infusion

Online ticketing agent Eventbrite has clearly caught the eye of investors looking for an upwardly mobile competitor to dominant market player Ticketmaster, on Wednesday announcing it had raising $20 million in mezzanine financing from DAG Ventures and Tenaya Capital.

Today’s $20 million more than triples the four-year-old startup’s total funding to date to $29.5 million. Until now, its only venture capital investor has been Sequoia Capital, which also joined this latest round of funding.

The interest in the unorthodox ticketing venue, which specializes in collecting payment for smaller-scale and less formal events than the concerts and sporting events Ticketmaster is known for, is not without basis. This year, San Francisco-based Eventbrite projected $200 million in total gross ticket sales, a number which has doubled year-over-year.

The online ticketer’s representatives say much of that boom in growth is owed to a recent partnership with Facebook that allows people to share all Eventbrite’s upcoming calendar with their entire network of friends, thereby increasing the site’s brand awareness. It also has built-in tools to help organizers design their own social networking pages to promote an event.

Thus far Eventbrite said it has sold almost 8 million tickets in 2010. It makes most of its revenues by charging event organizers 99 cents per ticket sold through Eventbrite, as well as 2.5 percent of a ticket’s total cost. Events that are free are allowed to list on the site at no cost.

Still, Eventbrite has a long way to go before it can take Ticketmaster head-on—and remains coy about its prospects of going public. Because the site specializes in smaller, more independent events, it does not draw the sheer mass of ticketing business its larger competitors do, which could handicap it in drawing a larger audience heading into the future.

For now, CEO and founder Kevin Hartz said that Eventbrite’s ticketing niche is a boon, not a hindrance.

“We are changing the rules of ticketing,” said Hartz. “We are building a powerful service from the ground up to transform how event organizers sell tickets and how consumers discover and buy tickets for events of all shapes and sizes.”