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Ticketing Firm Targets Global Growth With Equity Funding

by Brian Lewis

Friday, November 27th, 2015

red61logoTicketing software firm Red61 has implemented an aggressive growth strategy after securing £572,000 in funding from Venture Capital firm Par Equity.

The business, which licenses its VIA Ticketing System and runs ticketing operations for many large scale events in the UK, recently announced record revenue of over £1million and is now targeting new live event ticketing clients across the UK and abroad.

In recent years Red61’s impressive work with the world’s largest arts festival – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – has seen it build an impressive portfolio of clients across the UK and develop an international reputation, breaking into several new overseas markets including Australia, UAE, South Africa and Canada.

CEO, Tony Davey, says the recent successful round of funding will allow the business to expand.

Tony said: “We were absolutely delighted to secure the funding from Par Equity as not only will it allow us to accelerate our growth plans in the UK and abroad, but it is also reassuring to know that the experts agree with us and believe our growth plans are realistic and achievable.

“Until now our success has been without any proactive sales effort with most of our growth coming from client referrals and word of mouth due to the excellent reputation we’ve built across the industry. This investment will allow us to accelerate this growth by adding a more direct route to market.

“We’re strengthening the company and adding staff across all departments in preparation for significant growth over the next few years. We already have an incredibly powerful product, perfect for high volume, high profile live events and we have some exciting plans for e-ticketing and the disruption of the traditional ‘box office’ service.”

Red61 was founded in 2002 to build VIA the Ticketing System, which is the brainchild of Tony and his business partner, software developer Peter McNaught. The pair were then joined by Systems Architect, Will Tatam, in 2006.

VIA processed 2 million tickets for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the firm now employs 85 seasonal staff to run the ticketing operation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

One of the immediate benefits of the funding was the move into a new 4000sq ft Edinburgh Headquarters with the headcount growing from 15 to 25 FTE.

Globally, the firm is planning to open an office in Melbourne in the near future to allow it to deliver on its various commitments in Australia and New Zealand, looking to increase the scale of work gained through its distributor partners in South Africa and Canada, while also developing similar partnerships in Belgium, France, USA and India after receiving several strong enquiries from each.

Tony continued: “We’ve secured contracts with the National Arts Festival of South Africa – Africa’s largest arts and culture festival, the Abu Dhabi Science Festival and The Garden of Unearthly Delights – the largest entertainment hub within the Adelaide Fringe.

“We’ve also seen a steady rise in the amount of business from England where we’re now working with the Camden Fringe, Brighton Fringe, Hullabaloo in Stratford Upon Avon, are based full time at Pleasance London and Riverside Studios and also work with a company called Exhibitours who are doing large scale exhibitions such as Art of the Brick – amongst others.

“And there are still various events and opportunities we hope to get involved in back in Scotland where we enjoy a high profile through our work with the International Book Festival, International Science Festival and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Mela Festival.

“It’s been a remarkable journey so far and the opportunity we now have through this investment makes it a key point and exciting time in the history of the business.”

Marcus Henderson from Par Equity says Red61 fits exactly the type of venture it likes to invest in and believes the VIA software has the unique functionality required to make it a global success.

He said: “We’re always very keen to help promote technology businesses that improve the sector they work in and that is definitely the case with Red61.

“Tony, Peter and Will’s background in the event & ticketing industry has allowed them to develop a system that gives festivals, venues and other live event owners the ability to sell more tickets more easily. VIA enables clients to easily create multiple sales and media channels, and therefore makes it easier for people to find information and make a purchase. We know from our detailed market research that there is a huge domestic and global market for this.

“As well as offering the investment we will offer a pragmatic hands on approach to help Red61 succeed as our advisory panel consists of experienced entrepreneurs, investors and business people who can add real value to the companies we invest in. Richard Lewis has joined the Board of Red61 as a Par Investor Director, bringing with him over 25 years of experience in the technology sector, specifically significant success at Board level in aggressively growing businesses both domestically and internationally.“

Public relations account director with Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Private: Brian Lewis

Brian Lewis is part of the expert PR team at Holyrood Partnership, a multi award-winnning Scottish public relations agency, which offers media relations, social media, photography, video, crisis management and PR in Edinburgh.

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