Seatwave, a European market place for event tickets where fans can buy and sell directly from and to each other, has raised $25 million in a third round of funding.
The financing continues a — yes, a large wave — of interest in the secondary ticket market, where people buy tickets, but then turn around and sell them to someone else. These markets can serve people who are legitimately caught with tickets and want to get rid of them because the can no longer go to an event, or they can also benefit scalpers trying to make a few bucks through arbitrage.
In the last year, we’ve seen a frenzy: Stubhub, TicketsNow and GetMeIn have all been gobbled up in the last 12 months by eBay and Ticketmaster (see our coverage).
The funding comes from Fidelity Ventures, a Boston based venture capital firm that is betting strongly on online marketplaces. It backed marketplace companies like China’s Alibaba and money lending company Prosper. Indeed, the firm’s partners are going around saying that Alibaba’s recent IPO represented a watershed event ushering in a new era of successful marketplace companies. Another firm making a big bet here is Benchmark, which is also an investor in Prosper.
Seatwave offers tickets for theater, sports, music and other live events. Other investors in Seatwave include Atlas Venture, Mangrove Capital Partners and Adinvest.
The company was launched last year by Joe Cohen, a former exec at Ticketmaster and Match.com.
The company said it has 500,000 tickets available for sale and is the most-trafficked ticket exchange website in the UK. The money will be used to expand into other countries, the company said.
The company estimates the secondary market to be worth around $1.9 billion in the UK alone, and $6.8-9.7 billion Europe wide.