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Ticketbis: From Bilbao to California

Ticketbis is an online platform where users can buy and sell tickets to events. Founded in Spain in 2009 by Ander Michelena and Jon Uriarte, the company operates under the secondary ticketing market (or ticket resale market) alongside several others including industry giant StubHub. Ticketbis is currently present in 31 countries. Following the support of BIC BIZKAIA EZKERRALDEA and an exponential growth, they have been acquired by internet giant eBay in 2016.

The Company

At the end of May 2016 the news broke to the media: eBay acquires the Bilbao company Ticketbis, a platform of online ticket sales. The brains behind this company were Jon Uriarte and Ander Michelena who in only seven years have managed to break through in a competitive industry and achieve an unexpected success.

Jon and Ander met by chance, at the Foronda airport and presented by their respective parents. Coincidently, they both worked in London on the same bank and had the same goal: to create their own company. Their friendship continued to grow and around 2009 they o returned home to create Ticketbis and start the road to success.

After only one year of business operations, Ticketbis became the market leader in Spain and began its process of internationalisation. In 2011, Ticketbis inaugurated their website in 6 additional countries, and haven’t stopped growing since then.


Jon Uriarte and Ander Michelena

From idea to exit with the help of BIC Bizkaia Ezkerraldea

Half way through 2009, without much resources and a temporary office in Jon's bedroom, they set out to find the necessary help. This is how BIC Bizkaia Ezkerraldea (BBE) met this project seven years ago, when the two Bilbao entrepreneurs came to the BIC with a clear business idea but with the usual doubts that always occur in the beginning of a new venture. They were looking for grants to start and BBE found them the necessary help through their mentors. ”We needed to save on costs and BEE was vital in that initial process.”

“You need help to create a business and launch your idea on the Internet” says Jon. “We figured the first steps but we needed guidance to get grants. This is how we met BBE, who helped us in the management of the calls and gave us the right explanations, including the deadlines to follow!”

BIC Bizkaia Ezkerraldea, operates in Bizkaia (Basque Country). Its mission is to generate wealth and employment on the Left Bank (Ezkerraldea) and in the Mining District (Meatzaldea). BEE also manages the Ilgner Business Incubator which is currently home to 25 innovative businesses.

Like most EBN Members, BEE has the support of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Basque Government, through the Basque Agency for Enterprise Development, SPRI. They are a member of EBN and a certified EU|BIC and are also active member of ANCES (the Spanish national network of business and innovation centres).

The Exit

Following several rounds of investment and their international scaling, Ticketbis’ success didn’t go unnoticed. Last year they have been acquired by internet giant eBay for a price tag of $165 million. Jon and Ander will now continue managing the company under the StubHub brand.

“We are very happy because it is a very good opportunity for all the participants in the project: founders, the team, investors. We had a relationship with eBay for a long time because of the industry sector in which we operate. The relationship has been growing in the past seven years and in 2016 we were made an offer”.

And as for their plans for the future Jon clarifies: “during the negotiation we talked about the future broadly but we know for sure that Ander and I will continue to lead the project for a few years with our team. We will to work hard but now with more resources and facilities”

Associated member: BIC BIZKAIA EZKERRALDEA
Published on 01-01-2017 00:00 by Cláudia Silva. 661 page views

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