Tech startups make music and events a smooth operation

Tech startups make music and events a smooth operation
Luke Rynne Cullen: Applaud helps performing musicians earn a living

Two Irish companies are disrupting the events space with innovative technology.

Applaud is an online marketplace for booking live music acts, while ticketing tech company Tito caters for organisers of events of all sizes.

Software developer Paul Campbell founded Tito with Doc Parsons in 2014. Tito’s first line of code was written in 2010 for Funconf, a “mysterious” tech conference held on a bus tour around Ireland.

The founders worked on Tito as a semi-sideproject for a few years, raising around €45,000 through a crowdfunding campaign in 2013. Tito caters for any organisation, from community to commercial, that is holding an event that requires ticket sales, Mr Campbell said. It charges a percentage of proceeds, with no fees for charity events and 1% for non-profits.

Early on, Mikeal Rogers was inspired to use Tito for his NodeConf. Since then, Tito has worked with tech conferences such as Web Summit and Dublin Tech Summit. Mr Campbell said he is excited to be partnering with C2 Montreal this year.

With customers in 55 countries, previous clients include Twilio, Intercom, and Shopify. Having bootstrapped until 2017, Tito received €250,000 match funding from Enterprise Ireland under its High Potential Start-Up Fund. A total injection of €500,000 in funding helped the company to double its revenue and grow the team, based on Dublin’s Dame St, from three to ten.

Tito processed $80m (€71.1m) in ticket sales in 2018. The company currently handles €300,000 worth of tickets each weekday and is projected to pass €1m in revenue in the next 12 months.

Competing in a space already occupied by ticketing giants Eventbrite and Ticketmaster, Mr Campbell says Tito’s USP is its “strong developer focus”, a stress-free user experience, and commitment to data privacy.

Meanwhile, Luke Rynne Cullen was studying English while managing the Trinity Orchestra when he came up with the idea of an online booking agent for musicians.

His experience in booking performances for the orchestra at corporate events and festivals and as a freelance violinist helped him to recognise some of the pain points that musicians face.

He said:

Sometimes when you do a gig and you’re expecting payment, there’s an envelope there at the end of the night, and it’s €200 short. As a freelance violinist it’s cash on the night; with orchestras it’s 30-day invoicing.

And then you need to factor in additional expenses such as transport costs, he added. Using the Applaud model, he doubled the orchestra’s bookings and increased its profits 10-fold.

Amended: "Mr Rynne Cullen said Applaud’s mission is to help musicians make a living from performing through its technology solutions. Currently, the platform charges a 10% service fee, which Mr Rynne Cullen said is considerably lower than the market standard of 20% to 30%.

He plans to move to a subscription model, offering a free profile where musicians can showcase their work. A premium service will have additional features, including a booking management system with online payments.

The team is currently taking part in the New Frontiers programme at TU Dublin Hothouse. With the new platform up and running, it aims to be in a position to seek private investment later this year.

The company is initially focusing on the lucrative wedding market. There were over 21,000 weddings in 2018 in Ireland, with wedding bands charging an average of €2,500.

With clients in the live music, wedding, and corporate events space including the Grand Social and Thinkhouse, and more than 250 musicians signed up to the platform, the company is focusing on user growth as it moves towards a more SaaS-based model.

More on this topic

Spotify investigating issue causing app to crashSpotify investigating issue causing app to crash

Uber to launch commuter boat service in LondonUber to launch commuter boat service in London

Zoom boss says it ‘will not stop’ focus on security improvementsZoom boss says it ‘will not stop’ focus on security improvements

Retro style Marshall smart speaker with a big voiceRetro style Marshall smart speaker with a big voice


More in this Section

Ireland faces second mortgage arrears crisis when payment breaks end this autumn, leading financial advisers warnIreland faces second mortgage arrears crisis when payment breaks end this autumn, leading financial advisers warn

EU's Michel proposes €5bn Brexit emergency fund that may help IrelandEU's Michel proposes €5bn Brexit emergency fund that may help Ireland

Pressure builds on Donohoe after UK cut Vat to boost pubs and restaurants in Covid-19 stormPressure builds on Donohoe after UK cut Vat to boost pubs and restaurants in Covid-19 storm

Britain heads for sharpest economic slump of major economies in Covid-19 stormBritain heads for sharpest economic slump of major economies in Covid-19 storm


Lifestyle

Eve Kelliher explores temples of Zoom to get verdict on relocation from boardroom to spare roomWhat we've learned from world's biggest remote working experiment

As those of us who love to have friends round are tentatively sending out invitations, we’re also trying to find a workable balance with necessary social distancing rules, writes Carol O’CallaghanTable manners: How to entertain at home post-lockdown

Helen O’Callaghan says asthma sufferers need to watch pollen levelsBreathe easy: Pollen tracker protects asthma sufferers

Testosterone levels drop by 1% a year after the age of 30, so should all middle-aged men be considering hormone replacement therapy to boost their mood and libido? asks Marjorie BrennanHow male hormone deficiency can impact both mood and libido

More From The Irish Examiner