Startup stories

£3m Windfall for Duo who Turned Down the Dragons

Startup stories, Manchester, Early Stage ,

Jenny BrookfieldJenny Brookfield, March 2, 2018

This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.

A tech duo who turned down cash from the BBC’s dragons have raised 40-times that amount one year on.

Ticket search engine Tickx has announced a £3m Series A investment that will enable it to launch across Europe, explore new innovations and expand its team.

Steve Pearce, chief executive and co-founder, says the investment, led by BGF Ventures, will help continue Tickx’s mission to become the global destination for discovering experiences, events and attractions.

“Two years ago we were working from my bedroom and now we’re live in three countries, with one million people using our platform last year, which is amazing really,” says Pearce. “We’re incredibly ambitious, our dream has always been to build the go-to destination, and this investment will enable us to continue with our plans, which we’re very excited about.”

He and co-founder Sam Cole, both 25, appeared in an episode of TV’s Dragons’ Den in January 2017 in which they turned down offers of £75,000 from three of the investors. The latest cash injection has seen investors Ministry of Sound and 24 Haymarket increase their backing.

The site allows customers to buy tickets for more than 125,000 events and attractions, from gigs and football matches to family days out, from ticket sellers including Ticketmaster, Headout and Skiddle.
As part of the investment, this will expand to include cinema tickets following demand from customers. Last year, the business launched the world’s first chatbot for event ticketing and a 3D seating map for theatres, while some of the cash has also been earmarked for continuing this kind of innovation.

“The intelligent-powered chatbot gets you from A to B a lot faster and it’s this kind of innovation we’re looking to experiment with,” Pearce says. “We’re building a suite of widgets to power events search and ticket comparison so we’ll be rolling them out and announcing big partnerships in the coming months.”

The international expansion plans will see Tickx operating in the Netherlands, France, Germany, adding to the UK and Ireland, and Spain, where it is already live.
Native speakers for these countries and extra technical staff will see the 14-strong team based in Manchester grow to 35.

It is this northern location, Pearce says, that has added to the business’s success so far.
“Manchester is an amazing place to be based, with a great pool of talent that has enabled us to build a great team, not to mention the great airports links,” he says.

Investor George Mills, of BGF Ventures, says: “We are both proud and excited to be backing Steve, Sam and the whole of the TickX team. We’ve been seriously impressed by their ambition and pace in building the company, and we’re confident that TickX will continue to expand and reach their goal of becoming the global go-to platform for discovering experiences.”