Quicket: just the ticket for events - TechCentral

Quicket: just the ticket for events

James Hedley

Two-month-old Cape Town start-up Quicket is taking the fight to SA’s dominant ticketing company Computicket by making it possible for companies and individuals to manage their own ticketing for an event and providing them with a database of all attendees at the same time.

It claims it does all this for less than the cost of using Computicket.

“Last week we turned over R15 000 worth of tickets and this week we’ve done R50 000 in tickets sales for four events,” says sales and marketing manager James Hedley. “At the rate it’s going, Quicket’s going to get big quickly.”

Started by four friends who once lived together, Hedley says Quicket, which is self-funded, was originally intended as an accommodation booking website.

He says that he and his friends like to take weekends away, but there’s always one person who has to take the responsibility for the rented house, and people often cancel at the last minute.

“We wanted to find a way for people to pay separately,” he explains. “We started going down that path and realised how difficult it would be. We also realised the value of the idea was in collecting money for people, for anything.”

Hedley says he and his partners in the company came across US group payment website WePay but didn’t think the SA market was ready for a fully fledged group payment site. “Instead, we’re focusing on events to start with, as events need to collect money from groups. Eventually we want to be a pure group payment system.”

Quicket hopes eventually to be the go-to site for people collecting money for a group birthday present, a holiday with friends, a charity or just about anything else that involves a group putting money together for a project or event.

The Quicket homepage (click for larger version)

So far, it has provided ticketing services for 15 events, including corporate functions, fundraisers, a class reunion, an independent cinema and even an event called Renegade Bingo that Hedley describes as “category-less”.

Quicket takes a 4,9% commission on each ticket and charges those purchasing tickets R2,90 per transaction, regardless of how many tickets they buy. “If you look at the competition, that’s roughly half of the going rate,” says Hedley.

Those signing up to Quicket can opt to create a new account or sign in with their Facebook credentials. The latter makes it easy to share events on the social networking website. Michael Kennedy, one of Quicket’s two developers, says the site has seen an almost even split between people creating new accounts and those opting to use their Facebook login details.

Tickets can include as much or little information as an event organiser requires and, in the case of simple tickets for small events, can even be sent to purchasers via SMS. Tickets for larger events usually include a barcode so that these can be scanned at the event.

Once users have purchased a ticket, it gets e-mailed to them as a PDF document and stored in their Quicket account. The client, meanwhile, gets a guest list and can use various criteria for authentication. For bigger events with large volumes of attendees, clients can rent a barcode scanner from Quicket that plugs into a laptop and cross-references scanned tickets with the guest list.

Hedley says one of Quicket’s advantages is that once event is over, the client has a database of all of the attendees, complete with whatever information they requested during the booking process.

He says Quicket is focusing on bigger events for now because they’re better for getting the site’s name out there, showing that it can handle large events and because “banks are charging us substantial merchant fees”. The company hopes to bring down those fees in coming months once it’s processing larger volumes.

Quicket also has a widget that customers can embed on any website to make selling tickets easier. Quicket works with Visa and MasterCard — using a service called Setcom — and has deals in place with SA’s four biggest banks to allow for “instant electronic funds transfers” via a service called “secure instant deposit”.  — Craig Wilson, TechCentral

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