An interview with Andrew Browne, Co-founder & CEO of TikTiks
For those unfamiliar, please explain what TikTiks does.
TikTiks was born out of a passion for sport and creating a more positive experience for the sports fan. We are building a community for sports fans to buy and sell tickets in a way that is efficient, convenient, and affordable. The app decentralizes ticketing by aggregating tickets from multiple sources, making ticket information accessible from one place.
Why do you do it? What problem are you solving?
We saw an opportunity to make ticketing more of a community experience because it is often ignored as a component of the complete fan experience. We started small as a Facebook group to connect sports fans with one another to buy and sell tickets, and transactions were happening on a daily basis. We weren’t really sure what people liked about it, but we knew there was something there!
Data collection is also a huge part of what we do. The value creators, like sports teams and artists, sell the majority of their tickets to secondary sources including Ticketmaster, ticket brokers, and season ticket holders. Because of this, they miss out on an entire set of data and don’t really know who their fans are.
While allowing fans to buy and sell tickets, TikTiks also collects information that can then be shared with the value creators. Using an application program interface, teams and artists can post the TikTiks widget on their website, giving their fans a better ticketing experience, while allowing them to access to their fan’s data.
“People ask if we are trying to take down TicketMaster. From a business standpoint, we aren’t trying to take anyone down. Instead, we are trying to build something more valuable than what exists right now.”
What motivated you to apply to be a showcase company at Launch Party 2015?
While I was working with Startup Calgary, I helped organize Launch Party in 2014. That allowed me to see the value in it first hand. I wanted TikTiks to be considered and featured as a top 10 company. That was always my goal!
“The biggest motivator was the exposure you get. You’re telling me we can set up a booth in a room with 500 people? Sweet!”
Highlights since Launch Party 2015
What are some significant milestones that your company has achieved since being showcased at Launch Party 2015?
Since Launch Party, we applied and were approved for funding from Alberta Innovates’ venture program. We raised $225,000 of private funding and all three of us quit our jobs.
We are also excited to announce that we are preparing to launch version 2.0 of the app! We are in beta and are looking for testers! If you are interested, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While they're putting the finishing touches on TikTiks 2.0, the original app is still live and running!
What does your company have in store for the fall of 2016?
We have some aggressive goals in place. The Canadian market is most accessible to us, so we are working towards entering 6 or 7 (or all) major cities by the end of 2016.
We have been doing a lot of business development in the entertainment industry. Sports teams have higher barriers to entry because they are structured like corporations, which means they make their money up front. Artists are more actively pursuing solutions because they have to make money on tour.
How did Launch Party benefit you?
Launch Party exposed us to a huge group of potential customers and investors. Events like Launch Party are extremely valuable if you are in the process of raising funds and trying to let people know what you are doing. We now understand what is important to investors.
How can startups make the most of their experience with Launch Party?
Bring lots of friends and really take the time to enjoy the experience. Wear your t-shirts, and give people swag they will use! We hand out bottle openers because people will use them.
“The ones that get the most out of it are the ones hustling the most. I saw the Founder of Beep for Service at the ATB BoostR event putting flyers on every seat. You have to do stuff like that.“
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea on the back of a napkin into the marketplace?
Dream big, start small. Start with the simplest problem, and solve it with minimal resources. We still take small steps because we try to collect lots of information so we can be thoughtful about executing our ideas.
You won’t understand how to ask for the money you need until you realize that investors have a huge portfolio and you are only one company. We are finally at that point. Now, we are setting our goals high because we realize our vision is more than just a ticketing app.