Interview with Alex Burkhart, Founder and CEO of Tixers
Q. What problem does Tixers solve, what services do you provide, and what is the value to your customers?
A. The ticketing industry is a growing industry estimated at $15+ Billion annually. Last year, 70 million purchased tickets simply went unused. When people don’t have time to try and sell their tickets, or they are unsuccessful at selling them, they lose money.
Tixers enables ticket holders or sellers to exchange their unused tickets for credits – each credit has a value of $1 – to be used towards purchasing tickets, or upgrading to better seats at a future event. The further out you exchange your ticket, the more value it has. Credits do not expire. Today, events include sports games and concerts, and select big city theatre productions.
Ticket buyers can request a ticket for a specific event, location and price, and Tixers provides the options and cost of the ticket, which is redeemed for credits. A ticket buyer also has the option to purchase with a credit card. The more flexible you are with your seating the more options you have.
Our value proposition to our customers is that we give them more options to have an enjoyable experience, and save them time from the hassle of selling unused tickets.
We also provide an insurance policy, or peace of mind for ticket season holders. If you are corporate season ticket holder, and you have a client that doesn’t like that particular event, you can exchange your tickets for an event your client does want to attend.
Watch our video at Tixers-Vimeo
Q. How did you get the idea for Tixers?
A. I’m an avid sports fan, and I have traveled all over the country to watch games. In order to do this I have purchased a lot of tickets from sites, brokers and scalpers. I have also been reselling tickets since I was 10 years old. I think there are a lot of limitations with the current models and sites, and I had this idea to create a ticket exchange based on credits. I understand how the industry works, and the key challenges in it, which has enabled me to create a disruptive model.
While on a long plane ride, I read the book “Pursuit of Happiness” by the founder of Zappos and it hit me that now was my time to do something entrepreneurial. It was always my dream to start my own business.
Even though I had a job that I enjoyed at Macy’s Inc., and just earned a promotion, I decided to go for it. I quit my job last fall and created a business out of something I am passionate about.
Q. What have been your key challenges?
A. In the beginning I was wearing too many hats, and I realized how important it is to have the right amount of help. Especially from people who have the same drive and passion.
The other key lesson for me was to get a thick skin and be persistent. Any time you do something new and different, and you find people who are resistant to change, but then you get a few early adopters and momentum starts to build.
Q. What have been your key accomplishments?
A. It has been a rollercoaster ride since I won the Cincinnati Startup Weekend last year. I got funding from UpTech in September, did a pilot with Xavier University, and launched the site this March. I have generated $50,000+ in revenue, and already received an acquisition/hire offer from a competitor.
The thing I am most excited about is when I hear directly from customers about what a great experience they had with our site, or at their event as a result of getting a ticket they really wanted. One customer went out of his way at a game to buy me a beer to show his appreciation. Another called our model a “game changer”.
Q. How have you acquired customers?
A. I have focused some on the traditional ticket broker sales methods to drive top line sales and customers, and then convert them to the credit model which creates loyal, repeat customers.
Q. What are your next milestones?
A. Expanding the team is a big priority. I just hired a rock star graduate from Ohio State. Jay Clouse, was very accomplished in campus business organizations and building his very own “craigslist- like” marketplace at Ohio State, and has the same entrepreneurial drive that I do. Jay has a front-end skill set along with driving the business in several other areas. Our next big goal is to bring on someone full-time with a little more back end software development capability.
We are looking to raise our next round of funding. We have $60,000 committed and need another $190,000.
We are working on developing business relationships with corporations, companies in the ticketing space, and venues to maximize the value for season ticket holders. The benefit to the teams means extra revenue in food, beverage and retail products if the seats are filled.
And of course to keep having fun as we develop this business. Our goal is to expand sporting and concert events in the Midwest, and then move to even larger markets such as Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.
About Alex Burkhart
Alex is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tixers, and previously worked at Macy’s Inc., in loyalty marketing and as senior project manager of multi-channel strategy. He graduated from Xavier University with a degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.