E092: with Kevin Hartz, CEO/Founder of EventBrite



about this episode

This week, Jason interviews the CEO and Founder of EventBrite, Kevin Hartz. Matt pitches a new web site to the Shark Tank, and Sean Percival brings you the latest startup news!

Today on This Week in Startups Kevn Hartz the CEO of EventBrite, we have another pitch in the Shark Tank and Sean Percival is going to give us the news.

The Launch Conference will be February 23-24, 2011.

Jason expresses his love for MailChimp. He discusses some of the great features of the product.

Kevin Hartz CoFounder and CEO of EventBrite

Kevin discusses the start of EventBrite and his motivations for starting the company. 200M in gross ticket sales in 2010. EventBrite makes somewhere between 3-5% of sales.

Jason discusses the difficulties of event hosting, including merchant accounts for credit card processing and printing tickets. Kevin discusses how EventBrite resolves many of those pain points.

Kevin discusses the size and competition of EventBrite. He discusses the users that are using the service and why it makes sense for them.

Kevin discusses his angel investments and why/what motivates his angel investments. He discusses Friendster and why it failed.

Jason and Kevin discuss the importance of having stuff work. The dial-tone has to be there. The culture and the passion of the entrepreneur is questioned when this happens.

Kevin discusses the top 2-3 things he looks for when starting a company.
1) Great CoFounder/Partner
2) Product Market Fit
3) Frugality and Sustainability

Jason calls Kevin out on the 20M round. Jason asks why take 20M if he thinks that there is a bubble. Kevin addresses why EventBrite raised the round. Jason expresses his thoughts on raising money.

Jason asks about building a company in SV. Salaries, availability, competition are all making it difficult to sustain. Kevin discusses the benefits and liabilities of being in SV.

Provides fully hosted / managed Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps e-mail

Please thank our sponsors on Twitter. @DNAMail and @MailChimp

Kevin discusses the entrepreneurs that he looks up to and take notes from.

Jason asks about constructing a board of directors and how Kevin constructs a board and why they exist. Kevin discusses his thoughts on this subject. Jason comments on boards as well.

@sglad how much do you pay a board, do they get paid?

Kevin discusses how board members are compensated. Investors are not compensated, they have an investment in the company. Outside board members usually get some stock in the company (up to 0.5-1%), but not money. They vest monthly over 2-4 years of service.

Kevin discusses some of the mistakes he made early and how he’s corrected them. Cultural fit and how they gel with the company is number one.

Jason asks about the fraud that can happen in this industry. Fraud is a issue in the ticketing business. Kevin discusses how EventBrite handles these issues. They look at fraud as part of the cost of doing business. There is a balance between functionality/ease and fraud.

What are your thoughts on Square? Kevin discusses the value of Square and the open payments api. EventBrite would like to integrate with Square for ‘at the door’ sales.

What do you attribute the EventBrite success to? Timing. Social media. Facebook.
Team building and execution.

Shark Tank

Matt Talbot of Belliella

Belliella – Rent designer maternity wardrobe through a subscription and a exchange them for different clothes as you progress through pregnancy.

Jason discusses his thoughts on the viability of the business and market.

P: 8
I: 7.5

Tyler – Insight (Cupcakes and Carrot Sticks). There is an element of what you think you want is different that what they really want at the moment. You have to provide the service to understand if the idea is valid.

P: 8.5
I: I don’t have any idea.

Matt discusses his responses and how they’re addressing the concern. They are doing a private launch with some of the people in their pregnancy classes.


Sean Percival (VP of online marketing on MySpace)

Marc Andreessen just raised another 650M (Total on 1B under management).

Do we still need these big funds?

Jason discusses the fact that anyone can raise money. Every company is 3-6M. The Andreessen/Horowitz fund is round agnostic. The pace of company growth requires that you get in when you can.


Twitter is testing their in-stream ads through HootSuite. Are they using HootSuite because they value the relationship or do they just not want to monkey up their stream?

Jason discusses his thoughts on in-stream ads and how this will move things forward for Twitter. 100K a day for sponsored tweets.


Blekko founded in 2007 just when Beta. It’s an interesting product, but is this a viable product?

Jason discusses the difficulties of search and that 20M raised by Blekko will not be enough to take on search. Jason discusses the difficulty of judging quality pages and searches.

Tyler discusses his toughest on how using the ‘slashtag’ is difficult to understand. Simplicity is key.


Adeo (rom the Funded) has developed ‘Mad Libs’ for pitching to help focus the elevator pitching. Is this a great framework for a pitch?

Jason discusses his thoughts. He plugs in the iPhone and makes it sound bad. Facebook (fail again). Groupon (fail three). Belliella (works).

The premise is right. Try to boil down what your doing into a concise statement.

Google is not allowing Facebook to use GMail to find Facebook friends.

Thanks to NewTek and StormOnDemand.com

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