In geometry, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But that’s not always true in business: Entrepreneurs tend to lead a life of zigzags.
Just ask Kyle Grasser. With only 28 days left until Demo Day, Grasser revamped his business idea – taking the best of what he had built and applying that model to an untapped market opportunity. Grasser and teammate Uriah Thornes have created a business called Tikk.it, a direct-to-fan ticketing platform that enables bands and musicians to become self-promoters like never before. It’s an answer, they say, to fee-ridden ticket services, currently plaguing the industry.
Today, if a band wants to book a gig, the band manager will put a hold on a venue. A certain number of tickets must be sold before the band is taken off the hold list and confirmed for the venue, ensuring the owners will get enough business to make the show worth their while.
“To sell their tickets, artists are usually at the mercy of Ticketmaster.com or other similar services,” Grasser said. “Those sites advertise a particular price to their fans, and then they start tacking on fees.”
That can include a 30- to 40-percent service charge, as well as printing, shipping and venue fees. At the end of the day, only a fraction of ticket revenues actually goes to the bands.
Tikk.it will put the “power back into the hands of the artists,” Grasser said, enabling them to use social media to let their fans know about upcoming gigs. Without revealing too much about Tikk.it’s distinctive business plan (before Demo Day!), we can say that fans who wish to attend a show can connect directly through the artist’s website.
“Everything is going to be digital. We’re creating a system that can be run completely on your smartphone, so forgetting to print off your ticket will be a thing of the past,” Grasser added.
He acknowledged that the music industry can be a tricky space for startups; his original idea also focused on the artist-fan connection. He explored other industries but eventually decided it was his model – not the market he was going after – that needed to be changed.
Grasser, who studied entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and started his first business at age 14, said he’s familiar with the twists and turns that startups often take, and he refuses to be bothered by the ticking clock.
“Dealing with a pivot isn’t easy, especially when you’re in a time crunch,” Grasser said. “But it was worth it. The music industry is full of change and opportunity right now. Tikk.it can provide the tools and services that artists need to succeed in the digital transition that’s taking place.”