Eventbrite Has a Plan to Survive the Pandemic — Focusing on Small Events

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Photo Credit: Eventbrite

Eventbrite executives say the company’s path to recovery from the pandemic is through ticketing for smaller events.

Eventbrite’s Q1 results were worse than the adjusted estimates due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced an initial loan from Francisco Partners, a private equity firm, for $125 million. Eventbrite says the interest rate on that loan is in the low double digits, and an additional $100 million draw is available if certain business conditions can be met.

Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz says the move is temporary to keep the company operating.

“I want first to emphasize that this is temporary, and once we can gather in real life safely, the demand for in-personnel experiences will be strong,” she says. “It is a fundamental need for humans to gather, as we have been doing for thousands of years, and we will be there to power that connection.”

Eventbrite plans to be on hand when small and medium-sized events can come back. Those will pick up the slack left by larger gatherings, and Eventbrite predicts growth for those events. Large events like Coachella may be some of the last to return – and only after a vaccine is developed, according to health experts.

Despite the strong words to investors, Eventbrite’s outlook is especially grim. Paid ticket volume, the life-blood of the company, was down over 90% in March. Executives say they’ve seen a slight improvement since then, but ticket sales are still anemic.

CFO Lanny Baker confirms Eventbrite paid ticket volume was 85% lower this May, compared to last year.

Eventbrite is making some changes to its structure to accommodate the new future. It will focus on a lower-cost, self-service model allowing customers to manage their event ticketing. Eventbrite is seeing some success with people using the platform for online classes and other streamed events. But in-person ticketing is still the bulk of Eventbrite’s business — when it can resume en masse.