The vivenu story begins in late summer of 2017, in a small budget hotel room in Kuala Lumpur. Simon has come to the Malaysian capital to unwind and catch some sun – but right now, he is hunched over his laptop and growing increasingly frustrated. It’s the week of the Malaysia Formula 1 Grand Prix and he has spent the last fifteen minutes trying, and repeatedly failing, to book his ticket. After navigating a user interface he describes as “just short of hostile”, he finally gets the tickets in his inbox – only to find that he has been charged an additional fee for the privilege of printing out the tickets himself.
In hindsight, the race itself should have more than made up for his troubles. Max Verstappen, then only a promising rookie, beat out Lewis Hamilton for his second-ever win, mounting the first serious challenge to the reigning champion in years.
However, Simon was still mystified how a franchise so intimately connected to technological innovation and outstanding performance could rely on a ticketing solution that was anything but – and instead forced hundreds of thousands of fans through the same disoriented suffering they had endured earlier.
His curiosity piqued, Simon reached out to the local company in charge of the ticketing for the race weekend to make sense of what had quickly become an intriguing puzzle. A well-received cold outreach email and a couple of days later, he was shown around in the ticketing company in a nondescript commercial building in central Kuala Lumpur.
What he saw only added to his feeling of unease – and, increasingly, opportunity. Crammed inside a poorly-ventilated office, forty account managers were laboring day in, day out to wrangle into compliance what can only be described as “the backend from hell”: built on long-obsolete tech and with a user experience even nastier than the customer-facing one, it seemed to create more work than it took off the brokers. The Malaysian entrepreneur explained that he had looked at all available ticketing systems in the market that could handle the mass of tickets he sold. He knew that the solution he was using was “the best of the worst”, but there simply were no better options out there.
Back in Germany, Simon dug deeper – and soon partnered with his long-time friends Jens and Simon (confusing, we know). With Jens’ programming skills and the other Simon’s business experience, they got to work: if even sophisticated organizers had to make do with software this broken, they could only imagine what hundreds of thousands of smaller planners were forced to put up with. Over hundreds of interviews with event organizers of all scopes and sizes, their suspicion hardened into certainty: ticketing was a cornerstone of their business, yes. But most event organizers also had a visceral dislike for their current solution. Their reasons were the same across the board: too complex, too clunky, too rigid for their unique requirements.
Armed with such strong guidance on what not to do, the founders went to work to build what organizers so clearly needed: a ticketing solution that was powerful and could handle even the most complex workflows, sure – but more than anything, the product needed to be just as joyful and intuitive as using the latest iPhone.
After months of iterating and testing the product on a shoestring budget, the vivenu ticketing platform went live as a MVP in mid-2018. While the founders had a sense that their product could handily beat incumbents, they had not anticipated just how ripe the market was for their solution: a year later – after intensive customer discovery and R&D – and still completely bootstrapped, the company had got its first loyal customers and was receiving increasing inbound interest from organizers all over the world.
Based on this development, raising venture capital on such extraordinary growth and clear market need proved easy. By mid-2020, revenue had grown by a factor of ten compared to the previous year even during a global lockdown on events – and investors were starting to show up unannounced to the Düsseldorf HQ to pitch the founders to partner up. With more than $15m from top-tier global investors like Balderton Capital and Redalpine, and strategic partners like the owners of the NFL’s 5x Super Bowl winner San Francisco 49ers, vivenu was now also ready to answer the demand of organizers in the US and other prime markets outside Germany.
In January 2021, vivenu signed up the first US customers – and has not stopped growing since: couple of months later, the company is proud to serve front-running venues and organizers with its dedicated and growing team.
To meet this extraordinary demand and continuously improve the product offering, vivenu is growing its team to three digits, and is onboarding new talent from the world’s best ticketing and technology companies on a weekly basis.
Building on the enthusiastic customer feedback and explicit interest from ticket sellers around the world, vivenu is also dedicating extensive resources to building out the API to enable even more organizers to create extraordinary experiences for their guests and remake their internal ticketing processes.
vivenu is coming out of stealth – and can’t wait to show you what has been brewing.
Want to join the rocketship? 🚀 Find the open positions here.