22-year-old entrepreneur Luke Massie wants to put the power back in the people’s hands when it comes to ticket resale sites. He told Business Advice how he hopes to do that.
The minefield of navigating the world of online resale sites is well-known, with frustrated fans often faced with sky-high prices for tickets for their favourite band, far above face value.
Massie had seen it happen one too many times, and wanted a more ethical solution. A past experience when he needed to resell tickets after friends couldn’t make a gig, meant Massie looked online to find somewhere to sell them on at face value “to real fans who perhaps missed out when the tickets were released”. He couldn’t really find much in the way of free options at the time, so after popping them on Twitter and selling them to a fan there, he decided to create Vibe Tickets to fill the gap – with the app that launched at the beginning of October.
Its primary function is to serve as a “social and ethical solution” for people who want to buy or sell tickets to live events in the UK. Tickets can only be sold at face value, which means sellers receive the money originally spent and buyers don’t feel ripped off.
It also though, has a secondary function, which Massie hopes will differentiate it from the raft of other ticket resell sites now out there. Users can choose to meet each other before or during events to start building a Vibe Tickets community of attendees – taking part offers the option to make new friends with similar interests as well as getting to see their favourite act or event.
“All you need is a smart phone and passion for live events – it’s that easy,” Massie said.
The current business model means “the power is in the people’s hands”, though Massie said the team will be looking to develop this. He’s currently adamant however, that they won’t be charging for the service – “we’ll soon be announcing a new exciting development in the business’s journey to drive revenue – but the app will always be free”.
Massie may be young, but Vibe Tickets isn’t his first business venture. At 17, he started a call centre company, focusing on mortgage claims. “I just spotted a gap in the market and acted upon it,” he said simply. Not a year later he was approached to sell the company and did so at a profit.
While he’d never previously had great ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur, the call centre’s success led to him launching a new business, a student website for users to find cheap accommodation and other necessities. Despite being doing well locally in Preston, he ran into trouble when trying to find capital to expand the business. He said the “financial burden, coupled with the inability to scale resulted in me stopping the project”. It was difficult to take, but marked a “massive learning curve” for Massie ahead of Vibe Tickets.
The trickiest part of the early stages has been “maintaining the social element without having income coming in”, and Massie said Vibe has now built a dedicated social following, which he hopes will become loyal customers. While focusing on running a lean organisation, during the past year, Massie has offered a variety of interns to get a feel for how a startup operates. He said they have provided “great energy and enthusiasm which has been infectious at a firm where we are all working long hours”, with scope for promotion for those “smart and hungry enough”.
Now the app has gone live, he’ll be focusing on growing the business through there for the time being, and then hopes to develop Vibe Tickets further by creating a secure payments platform along with offering additional services.
His own personal ambition however, is something a little more ambitious. “In five years’ time, I’d like to be the CEO of a public listed company, it’s been a goal for a long time.”
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