No one enjoys overpaying for a sports ticket, and if you are a loyal fan there is nothing worse than missing out on tickets to see your team in the playoffs or championship. Thankfully, ShooWin is changing that with its online sports ticket marketplace. This patented marketplace enables sports fans to purchase or bid on guaranteed reservations for face value tickets to playoffs and championship games. Fans choose all aspects of their tickets and pay a reservation fee to guarantee their self-selected seats.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO David Lane to learn about its recently announced funding and cutting-edge technology.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The Series A financing was led by Cuneo & Co. and Bellnote Partners LLC. Terms of the investment were not disclosed except that part of the invested capital includes dedicated funds to purchase tickets, which reinforces the company’s unique value proposition to ticket rights holders. Coupled with the acquisition of a portfolio of patents, this investment positions ShooWin for accelerated growth in the second half of 2018 and into 2019.
Tell us about the product or service that ShooWin offers.
ShooWin is a patented online sports ticket marketplace that lets fans purchase or bid on guaranteed reservations for face value tickets to playoff and championship games. The fan chooses the team, the game, seating section, and the number of tickets. ShooWin collects the reservation fee, and if the team makes the chosen game, the fan receives the tickets at cost. If the team chosen does not make the game, or is eliminated, ShooWin keeps the reservation cost which it shares with its ticket partners.
What inspired you to start ShooWin?
Our cofounder Brisa Trinchero is a Broadway producer, and she experienced first-hand how the ticket industry is a frustrating monopolistic marketplace which adversely impacts teams, leagues, and fans. ShooWin was built by fans, for fans and is passionate about making sure all of us get to see our favorite teams in the biggest postseason games at a cost we can afford.
How is ShooWin different?
ShooWin offers fans reservations on postseason tickets long before the tickets become available from companies like Ticketmaster or a ticket broker. Fans don’t want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for tickets until they know their team is in the game. Because of ShooWin, they don’t have to, and when their team makes it to the big game, we are able to guarantee tickets at the face value cost.
What market does ShooWin target and how big is it?
ShooWin’s primary audience is men who are sports fans ages 25-54. Roughly six in ten Americans identify themselves as sports fans with three in four men describing themselves as sports fans. The opportunity is tremendous. As a matter of fact, a recent study published by Grand View Research, the online event ticketing market size was valued at USD $46.59B in 2017 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% during the forecast period (2018-2025).
What’s your business model?
ShooWin purchases tickets from rights holders and sells reservations on those tickets to sports fans. ShooWin shares the reservation revenue, creating a completely new revenue stream and fan data source for its partner teams, leagues, and conferences.
ShooWin generates revenue from the sale of those reservations allowing fans from every team to lock in a face value ticket. The fan that purchased a reservation for the team that makes the game is charged for the ticket once the teams are determined.
Why do you think there has been so much innovation in the sports’ tech space?
Technology plays such an important role in everyone’s life – whether it’s the fan, the player, the team, or the leagues and conferences.
The access afforded to fans and how sports are consumed has dramatically changed over the past decade. A player now has the ability to offer fans unprecedented access and personalized experiences which has been enabled by the rapid innovation in sports tech.
Using LeBron James and his recent move to the Lakers. Technology played a significant role in his value. Consider his athletic ability, brand, and fan base. Take those items and introduce technology. Social media, smartphones, podcasts, etc – his reach became global and his value to the franchise increased drastically.
What was the funding process like?
The company has been continuously raising capital since inception. We have never had difficulty getting interested parties, but the amount we had been raising was too small to generate large investor interest. This raise brings in our largest capital infusion and provides enough liquidity to reach positive cash flow.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
As a start-up company in a very mature space, we found ourselves time and time again having to explain why our model hadn’t already been offered by those in the industry. The concept made so much sense, they were dumbfounded that no one else was using a similar model. That coupled with the fact that we weren’t asking for a significant amount of capital tended to be our main challenges.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
2017 was a storytelling year for ShooWin. Being able to prove that we were able to execute against multiple markets while also acquiring new Intellectual Property to further expand our vertical markets is ultimately what got investors to commit to partnering with us.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The next six months looks really exciting for ShooWin. We anticipate growing our registered users by 50%, multiplying revenue by 5X and offering all eleven-college football and all professional (NHL, NBA, NFL) postseason game reservations to our customers.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Network with as many potential investors as possible. Your week should be stacked with pitch meetings. If you’re new(er) to the space, be sure to include benchmarks based on companies that have gone through similar stages for investors to use as a point of reference. In the meantime, without capital, stay as lean as possible. Make sure you have the necessary, yet right, people on your team. Ensure that everyone is working towards the same set of objectives. Remember that each day brings new
challenges and no matter how difficult today was, tomorrow is another opportunity to get it right.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re focused on maintaining our position as a leader in this niche market while
aligning with other primary and secondary ticket providers. Our team has plans to leverage the newly acquired IP while introducing two new verticals including travel (airfare/hotel) and event hospitality.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?