TodayTix, a Broadway-born mobile ticketing start-up, is looking to expand into a bigger global media and transaction enterprise with a capital infusion of $73 million led by private-equity firm Great Hill Partners.
The investment brings TodayTix’s total capital raised to over $100 million, according to CEO and co-founder Brian Fenty. Part of the new funding will be used to “clean up existing investments from other investors” and buy out their stakes. The bulk of it will go toward expanding TodayTix’s proprietary data-driven audience feedback technology platform to enhance its personalization and discovery features, as well as to expand the lineup of shows, arts and cultural experiences available in the app.
“The next great generation of media companies will be built around data and transactions,” Fenty said.
Fenty, who has a background in venture capital and producing Broadway shows, co-founded TodayTix in 2013 with producer Merritt Baer. The duo saw a gap in the marketplace — at the time, there was no easy way to buy Broadway tickets on a mobile app. “There was very little transparency around pricing,” Fenty said.
To date, TodayTix has sold more than 4 million tickets. According to Fenty’s estimates, the company now accounts for 8% of all Broadway tickets sold annually and 4% of those in London’s West End.
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While TodayTix does compete with traditional event-ticket brokers like Ticketmaster and Telecharge, Fenty said the company’s approach is fundamentally different because it aims to be an on-ramp that brings consumers to live experiences they may not be aware of. It’s more of a socially driven media app with a loyal user base of some 5 million consumers, he said.
“We don’t compete with other ticketing companies. We compete with Netflix and a pitcher of margaritas,” said Fenty. “It’s more like, ‘I have 100 bucks. What can I see in my town?'”
TodayTix operates in 15 cities worldwide, including New York, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Toronto, and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. It works with 1,300 venue and producer partners, and to date has run lottery and last-minute discount ticket promos for more than 900 productions.
In 2015, TodayTix launched its first lottery, for “Hamilton,” giving users a chance to land $10 tickets to the Broadway smash hit. “It was a campaign we came up with for a sold-out show with no ad budget that wanted to create attention and awareness,” Fenty said.
According to Fenty, 70% of TodayTix’s users look a minimum of five shows before they make a selection. That gives it an opportunity to help partners burnish their messaging and connect with a target audience, tapping into TodayTix’s data analytics. The company has launched “TodayTix Presents,” a series of curated events and related content.
The funding from Great Hill Partners was facilitated with guidance from Methuselah Advisors. Boston-based Great Hill, focused on mid-market growth businesses, recently led the buyout of Gizmodo Media Group from Univision and has invested in companies including Ziff Davis, IGN, Momondo Group, Wayfair and The RealReal.
“TodayTix is rapidly changing the way millennials and other consumers connect with live cultural experiences,” Michael Kumin, a managing partner at Great Hill Partners, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Brian, Merritt and their talented management team to expand the company’s product and service offerings and accelerate its push into new geographies.”
TodayTix, based in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, has 90 full-time employees. Fenty said hiring plans will include expanding the company’s insights and analytics team, along with product developers to build personalization features and TodayTix’s recommendation engine.
TodayTix’s partners in the U.S. and worldwide include: American Conservatory Theatre, The Public Theater, MSG Entertainment, Roundabout Theatre Company, Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, SHN, Curran, The Metropolitan Opera, BAM, English National Opera, Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, LW Theatres, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Young Vic, National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Opera Company, Goodman Theatre, Lyric Opera, The Second City, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Signature Theatre, Center Theatre Group, L.A. Opera, the L.A. Philharmonic, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Kimmel Center, American Repertory Theater, AT&T Performing Arts Center, and Sydney Theatre Co.