Eventbrite rolls out reserved seating – interview with CTO Renaud Visage (video)

26 Mar 2014

Renaud Visage, CTO and co-founder of Eventbrite

Event ticketing platform Eventbrite has rolled out a new self-service reserved seating service that allow event organisers to prioritise and assign seats. CTO and co-founder Renaud Visage says this is only the start of a new market for the company with APIs at its core.

The new solution features Eventbrite’s Seat Designer, an intuitive interface that provides organisers with easy-to-use seat planning and inventory management.

The system allows organisers to create a realistic seat map in minutes by using drag and drop technology, designate a focal point for the event, and modify entire seat sections with curve and skew functionality.

The seat mapping takes into account tables, seats, bars, food stations, exits, dance floors and more, and sets optimal pricing for each seat in the house. The technology could play a key role in helping event organisers drive advance ticket sales by inspiring attendees to buy tickets early to get the best seats.

It emerged in recent months that Eventbrite is establishing an operation in Dublin’s Digital Hub.

The company, which Kevin Hartz, Julia Hartz and Renaud Visage established in 2006, has processed more than US$2bn in ticket sales. Growth is accelerating to such an extent that in 2013 alone the company processed US$1bn in ticket sales.

In Ireland, some 350,000 Eventbrite tickets have been sold, generating €3.5m in revenues for organisers.

The San Francisco, California, company recently raised US$60m in venture capital, valuing it at more than US$1bn.

Removing the complexities from organising events

Interview with Eventbrite co-founder and CTO Renaud Visage 

CTO and co-founder Renaud Visage is in Dublin this week and will be interviewed live on stage around noon today by Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea about APIs at an event at Telefónica’s Wayra start-up accelerator.

Visage told Silicon Republic that Eventbrite was founded in response to an obvious gap in the market because ticketing systems at the time were complex and expensive to use.

“There was nothing for the rest of the event business. There wasn’t even a clear way of quantifying that market, we have been defining it ever since we started eight years ago.

“We’ve been growing pretty quickly over the years. There was just the three of us for a number of years bootstrapping the company, getting our product right, talking to a lot of organisers and figuring out how we could build a product that would deal with the complexities of organising an event but would simplify as much as possible.”

Ever since, there are few events today, from corporate pow-wows, conferences and music concerts, that don’t use Eventbrite as a key way of inviting, managing and creating monetising opportunities from an audience.

In fact, the platform neatly transcends mobile-first methodologies, as well as social media as a key way of attracting an audience.

Simplicity, says Visage, has been the guiding philosophy. “Reserved seating is a clear example of that mentality that we have; our desire to take a complex problems and break them down and create an interface that would interact with complex systems. It’s simple to use, you don’t need to learn, you can play with it and create the seat map you need for your event.

“Our core philosophy is to create the most far-reaching and most ground breaking products to cater to all types of organisers and eventually a global marketplace for events.”

But this is just the start and Visage harbours an ambition to bolt on more functionality using APIs.

“We’ll be adding a lot of functionality to those APIs to enable e-commerce sites, for example, to eventually sell tickets and we’ll mange the inventory for them. These are improvements that will make us more ubiquitous and we’ll be in all the relevant places for events being organised,” he says.

“Hopefully, at some point you’ll even be able to find these events on all the music-discovery platforms.”

eventbrite seat design

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years