Ticketfly taps former Amazon exec for operating role

SAN FRANCISCO Mon May 5, 2014 3:01am EDT

SAN FRANCISCO May 5 (Reuters) - Ticketfly, which harnesses data analytics to promote events, hired a former Amazon executive to run day-to-day operations as the start-up adds more events to its roster and lays the groundwork to expand internationally.

The San Francisco-based company tapped Steve Oliver, who spent 9 years at Amazon.com Inc and led the e-commerce giant's Canadian operations, as chief operating officer. Oliver will also shape long-term strategy in the role starting May 5.

"Ticketfly is growing at a remarkable clip and will greatly benefit from Steve's experience scaling operations at Amazon," Ticketfly cofounder and CEO Andrew Dreskin said.

Since its 2008 launch, Ticketfly has raised $37 million in venture capital from backers including Mohr Davidow Ventures and SAP Ventures. It is likely to raise additional funds soon.

The startup is also on track to promote more than 120,000 events in 2014, up from 80,000 last year, and powers some 450 websites. Its partners include the Pitchfork Music Festival and Burning Man, which tapped Ticketfly to do ticketing in January.

But Ticketfly competes with well-funded rivals including Ticketmaster, part of Live Nation Entertainment Inc, and Eventbrite, an event ticketing platform founded in 2006 whose investors include Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital.

In an interview, Oliver said he would develop Ticketfly's strategy by drawing from his experiences at Amazon, which include launching the Prime service in Canada and running various aspects of Amazon's DVD and digital video business.

"There's definitely a methodology and a framework that Amazon uses to think about problems," he said. "That methodology generally involves starting with the customer and being data-based and being analytical."

Last year, Ticketfly opened its first office outside the Unites States in Canada. It also launched a product to allow venues and event promoters to identify top fans and offer them loyalty rewards. On average, 7 percent of ticket buyers account for almost one-third of revenue, according to Ticketfly data.

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