In likely march toward IPO, Eventbrite doubled revenue in 2011 (exclusive)

As popular ticketing startup Eventbrite moves slowly toward a likely IPO in the next year, the company’s financial situation appears strong with more than doubled revenue in 2011, the company has revealed exclusively to VentureBeat.

This has been quite a week for Eventbrite, as the company just announced Wednesday that it has issued its 50 millionth ticket. During 2011, the number of events posted on Eventbrite doubled from 222,353 posted in 2010 to 458,207. The number of tickets issued almost doubled as well, from more than 11 million to nearly 21 million.

I was able to speak to Eventbrite founder and CEO Kevin Hartz about what has been happening as of late with the company. While he was coy about strict details, he was able to reveal that the company’s overall revenue more than doubled in 2011, a fact the company has kept under wraps until now and one that solidifies a strong position of growth on the financial side.

Eventbrite makes its money by charging $0.99 per ticket processed and taking a 2.5 percent cut of each ticket. Companies and individuals that use Eventbrite also are charged a 3 percent credit card fee, meaning anyone who uses the service keeps about 93 percent of ticket sold.

Hartz was an early investor in PayPal, so Eventbrite’s model of charging a small fee per ticket makes quite a bit of sense. And it’s working: As event coordinators realize Eventbrite charges less than both Ticketmaster and rival startup Ticketfly, larger organizations are approaching the company for ticketing. Recently, the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City (featuring Beck, Passion Pit, Modest Mouse, and more) opted for Eventbrite over other options. We should also note that we’ve used Eventbrite for some VentureBeat events and it has worked smoothly.

Coupled with the company’s huge $50 million funding round last May, the news that it has doubled revenue means it is almost certainly inching its way toward an IPO in the next year. Hartz admitted that the company has set “internal goals” for moving in that direction, but because it has “close to $60 million in the bank” it was not a rush. He did, however, disclose his philosophy on IPOs, saying, “An IPO is just another funding round.”

Hartz said the largest driver of traffic to Eventbrite was Facebook, as the company has taken advantage of social networking as an opportunity for encouraging others to attend events. The company also has ties to LinkedIn for business events.

Eventbrite’s plans to launch its first translated products in French-speaking Canada, France, and Spain, all of which will happen by the end of March. And of course, as soon as we hear more on its IPO plans, we will let you know.

Concert crowd photo: Nikola Spasenoski/Shutterstock