Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trickytix - Online Event Registration Company

In our ongoing coverage of startups coming out of Australia and interviews with CEO's, Media Personalities, Philanthropists, and VC’s, today we showcase a startup from Melbourne, Australia, to be lunched in October, 2008, Trickytix - an online event registration company.

Trickytix allows a customer to create an account, setup and style their event page and then begin selling tickets without any manual intervention from us. This is all achieved through a self-service interface. Typical events include lunches, meetings, fun runs, cycling or triathlon events, dinners, conferences, etc etc.
It will be running under closed beta trial with number of companies from July 2008.

Let us explore what Scott, co founder of Trickytix, has to say about his venture and innovation coming out of Australia. This is what he has to say:

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
My name is Scott Handsaker, and I am the Managing Director and co-founder of Trickytix, an online event registration startup from Melbourne, Australia. My previous experience was in managing IT call centres in Singapore and Malaysia, but I have been working on the web exclusively since 2004 in my role as MD of Hugeobject.

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
Andrew Edwards and myself founded a web consulting company in 2004, and commenced Trickytix as part of that in mid 2007.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
Hah! Trickytix is the end result of a thousand and one ideas for a web application, some of which we actually started coding before dumping them in favour of Trickytix.

We commenced it in April 2007 with the aim of launching a beta within 8 weeks. The need to keep money coming in through consulting work put paid to that launch date, but the build continued throughout 2007 with a successful launch in Feb 2008.

• What services it provides it for consumer or customers?
Trickytix allows anyone to accept registrations and sell tickets for their event online, without the need to know computer code. It is a self service model aimed at small business, community groups, sporting organisations and not-for-profits in Australia.

Trickytix has a number of modules built in which make it easy for event organisers to accept registrations online quickly and easily, as well as make more money from each entrant. These include merchandise, donation and sponsorship modules.

Fundamentally we are aiming for Trickytix to do two things for our customers:
  • Make accepting online event registrations easy and hassle free
  • Extract more money per online registrant for them than any other previous method used
We have achieved both these objectives for our first two customers, and look forward to rolling out our solution to the rest of the country.

• How many people are using your services?
We launched to two larger customers in Feb 2008, with both the Mothers Day Classic and the Million Paws Walk (RSPCA) using our solution to run their online event registrations. Each event is the largest single fundraiser for their respective organisations.

Since then we have added another two smaller customers, with another five lined up to commence our closed beta testing program in July 2008. Trickytix has not yet fully launched as a product, but will do so in October 2008.

• What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
Since we commenced the build we have been blogging for Australian Anthill magazine, and have been featured a number of times in their pages over the last 12 months.

Each ticket/registration done through Trickytix is branded with our logo and URL, so many people have found out about us through both the Mothers Day Classic and the Million Paws Walk.

Once our full marketing plan kicks into gear we will be utilizing a combination of direct mail, pay-per-click, organic search, media releases, content provision and word of mouth.

• What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is their any new model, which is being tried?
We take a small percentage of all financial transactions put through the system. This service fee can either be absorbed by the event organiser, or passed onto the ticket buyer as a booking fee.

Once we launch in October 2008, free events will be able to use our system at no charge.

• What are the main technologies used behind this venture?
MySQL, Flex, Flash, PHP.

• What has been the most easy to use, out of box and helpful technology?
We use Basecamp extensively, as well as

• What’s your thought on being an entrepreneur? How tough it is to start a venture in Australia?
Doing a start-up is not for everyone, although it is no more difficult in most respects in Australian than anywhere else. Where it gets harder when compared to places like the US is in access to capital, as well as the depth of recruitment resources available.

• What Government resources have you used to help your business? And have they made an impact? Have you sought any funding?
Our experience in seeking Government funding has been poor. The processes are difficult to navigate, while the amount of early stage funding available is quite small. The serious money (6 figures) only kicks in once you have an established, growing business with a few years of operating revenues behind you.

We are currently seeking private equity/VC money to fund the expansion of our business, and have teamed up with BSI to facilitate this. I have pitched in Sydney and Melbourne at investment breakfasts, one of which went quite well and one of which I would like to do over again!

Fund raising is a lengthy process with no promise of a return at the end of it. We are lucky in that we have a consulting business which can continue to fund us whether we receive funding or not, but yeah funding makes life easier.

• Do you have any advise for people who want to start their venture?
There are a lot of people more qualified than me to provide advice on doing a start up, so my best advice is to do what I do – read them extensively!

Blog suggestions are:
And one book suggestion, which I highly recommend: The Four Steps to the Epiphany – Steven Blank

Thanks Scott for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, tech trends check this out and our coverage on interviews can be found here

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