Ticketing site Eventbrite files to raise up to $200 million in IPO

  • Eventbrite had $38 million in losses last year, while revenue increased 51 percent to $201.6 million.
  • Competitors include Live Nation.
Julia Hartz, Eventbrite
Jesse Grant | CNBC
Julia Hartz, Eventbrite

Eventbrite, a provider of online ticketing services and personalized event invitations, announced plans to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering.

The company, founded 12 years ago by Julia and Kevin Hartz, said in its prospectus on Thursday that it expects to debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol EB.

Eventbrite is poised to jump into a growing pool of tech companies to hit the market this year, including consumer companies Spotify and Dropbox and business software providers DocuSign, Zuora and Domo.

Eventbrite generates revenue by charging creators for the tickets people buy to attend events. Last year more than 203 million tickets were issued through the service.

The company reported it had a $15.6 million loss in the first half of the year. Revenue increased 61 percent to $142.1 million. For all of 2017, losses totaled $38.6 million on $201.6 million in revenue, which represented 51 percent sales growth from the prior year.

To jump deeper into music festivals and large events, Eventbrite acquired Ticketfly from Pandora last year for just more than $200 million. Net revenue in 2017 increased an additional $27.5 million as a result of the acquisition of Ticketfly and another company, Ticketscript. In June Eventbrite disclosed that a hacker had gotten a hold of Ticketfly data. Eventbrite disabled the service briefly in order to "contain the risk" of the event. As a result, Eventbrite recorded a $6.6 million liability for potential costs associated with the incident, almost all of which was a reduction in revenue.

Eventbrite sometimes pays fees to encourage creators to release tickets through its service, sometimes exclusively. In 2017 it spent $10.4 million on these creator signing fees, up almost 51 percent year over year.

As of June 30, Eventbrite had 1,016 employees. The company is based in San Francisco, and more than 10 percent of employees are based in Argentina.

Competitive risks

Eventbrite has a wide range of competitors, from large ticketing companies like Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, to personal invitation providers such as Evite and Paperless Post. Additionally, Eventbrite says that it could face competition from large internet companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

"These competitors may be better able to undertake more extensive marketing campaigns and/or offer their solutions and services at a discount to ours," Eventbrite said in the risk factors section of the prospectus.

Facebook and Spotify are key distribution partners for Eventbrite, which creates additional risks when those platforms make certain changes. For example, Eventbrite said that "Facebook removed a feature of its service that allowed creators to include multiple hosts on a single event seamlessly across platforms, which negatively impacted certain music creators' use of the Facebook integration with our platform."

Most of its revenue flows through its own payment processing system, although some does go through third-party services like PayPal. Square will become Eventbrite's "exclusive payment processing partner for all of our point-of-sale solutions" in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and new places where Eventbrite starts doing business, the company said.

Like Snap and many other internet companies, Eventbrite relies on a third party to operate its computing resources, rather than running its own. It has an agreement to spend $12.5 million on cloud infrastructure from Amazon Web Services, which runs between January 2018 and December 2020.

Eventbrite's biggest shareholder is Tiger Global, which owns 21 percent. Sequoia Capital owns 20 percent of the shares and the Hartzs own a combined 17 percent.

Goldman Sachs is leading the offering, along with J.P. Morgan, Allen & Co. and RBC Capital Markets.

— CNBC's Ari Levy contributed to this report.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap .