Written by Jerred Ziegler.
Even here in 2015, many sporting events and concerts still require paper tickets for admission, posing two major issues for customers. First, paper tickets are easy to lose and a missing ticket means not getting in to your event. Second, selling these tickets requires inconvenient face-to-face meetings or the risk of them getting lost in the mail. The solution for these two problems is the foundation of startup company TicketFire, based in Columbus, Ohio.
TicketFire was founded in late 2012 with an early investment from Ohio Third Frontier partner Rev1 Ventures, formerly TechColumbus. The company is a mobile ticket connection, allowing users to convert their hard tickets into mobile ones, which means users no longer have to carry their tickets and can send them electronically.
“This is definitely the future of ticketing,” said Ray Shealy, executive chairman of TicketFire. “Even companies that have switched to exclusively digital ticketing only allow exchanges on their own platform. We free up these tickets to be exchanged with anyone, anywhere.”
The freedom TicketFire offers its users is paying off – the company is expanding quickly with consistent growth since August 2014. The app has been ranked in iTunes’ Top 100 Utilities Apps chart for worldwide downloads. To date, the company has had more than 40,000 downloads from 100 different countries.
“The ticketing industry has been slow to adopt mobility,” said Shealy. “We’ve been pushing the edge and now we’re seeing the market catch up to us.”
The early Rev1 grant enabled TicketFire to build their initial technology platform. In 2014, Rev1 invested in the company again when TicketFire was raising a round of capital for growth and tech build out. TicketFire has also utilized Rev1’s mentoring services, which provided the company insight and context as they developed.
Shealy cites TicketFire’s location in Columbus for much of his company’s success. The venues housing Ohio State athletics, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Columbus Crew were the first places where TicketFire really took off.
“Columbus is a great place to have as home base,” said Shealy. “Columbus has a very strong disruptive tech community paired with a young, vibrant university community. This has given TicketFire the assets we’ve needed to grow.”