If you've ever been sitting around tailgating at a college football game, but don't have any tickets, you're familiar with the issues with trying to find a ticket and having to deal with sometime unscrupulous ticket scalpers at the gate. However, now that everyone has a mobile phone, why not use that phone to connect with other fans who have extra tickets, at the game? That's the idea behind MeetMeTix (www.meetmetix.com), a new Austin startup headed by Jesse B. Dyer. We sat down with Jesse to learn more about the service.
What is MeetMeTix all about?
Jesse Dyer: MeetMeTix is a last minute StubHub. We've developed a novel, web app where folks can find tickets last minute, even if they're hanging around a stadium where the bandwidth is low. If you have extra tickets, you can list them, and buyers and sellers can find each other and you can pay by text. You don't have to find an ATM, and pull out your wallet in front of strangers, or even exchange a cell phone number with people you don't know. It's all about building a community for the last minute ticket market, an area we believe is really vibrant, especially with college football over the fall. With so many people tailgating, and who would love to get into the game, they need a way to get a ticket. That's the problem we're looking to solve. There are fans out there with extra tickets, and we make it really simple to get a text message, the buyers and sellers can text each other anonymously, figure out where to meet, and the buyer can pay by text, and they can head off to the tailgate.
How did the company come about?
Jesse Dyer: I've always been a big sports and entertainment fan. However, things have just changed with everyone having an iPhone in their pocket. That's something we're looking to take advantage of, now that everyone is mobile equipped. It's a great way to use your phone, which you just haven't been able to do, and which is fun for the fans. I love going to sporting events, and I have been all over the country scalping tickets to go to the big games. I love to haggle, but other people hate to haggle, and hate to have to deal with scalpers last minute. There are also lots of issues with fraud on sites like Craiglist. We thought that, since everyone has a phone and a Facebook profile, and acreidt card, it would be good to link that together and build a trustworthy marketplace, where you could buy and sell tickets and transact.
How is what you are doing different from what's out there?
Jesse Dyer: What really separates us from sites like Craiglist, besides mobile payments, is putting a face behind a ticket. We pull in your Facebook photo, your favorite team, and bring in the fan behind the listing. On sites like StubHub, you might be dealing with a broker from ten states over, who is trying to sell a ticket for ten times list. What we're trying to do, is connect real fans, who have last minute ticket issues. I think it's really cool to be a community for fans in a rivalry like Texas versus Oklahoma, where if you're a Texas fan you can buy from another Texas fan. Every ticket listing includes your location, and it's something where you might be tailgating, right before the game, and instead of walking all the way around to the other side of the State Fair to buy tickets, you can find someone just a block away. It's all about location and fair pricing for fans, and rips out that anonymous shady stuff right before the game.
So you're including some features around trust and knowing who you are dealing with?
Jesse Dyer: Yes, that's part of the system. You can use your credit card, and we credit those funds to sellers, but there is also some time in between. We also have built the community with seller ratings and whatnot. We're protecting your identity in ways that are important to you, so you don't have to give out your cell phone number or hand someone your credit card, but you really do know who you're buying from. Over time, we want to evolved this to the Airbnb level, where fans are really comfortable selling and buying tickets through the service. So, rather than stay at home, or just eat that ticket, you can get into a game.
What's been the most difficult part so far in getting the service running?
Jesse Dyer: The big challenge has been integrating the payment platforms. We've been working for a year and a half on this, and we're seeing the market evolve every day. It seems like every other day we see an article on TechCrunh about mobile payments. We really got the timing down, and we have a unique system that you don't have to leave the site, you don't have to go to PayPal and log in, and you're not transferring money after the face. It's a great way for buyers and sellers to transact securely, but really easily. I think that will set us apart. It's easier to just text and buy and move that money, rather than pull out your wallet.