Eventbrite IPO: An Open Letter to Julia and Kevin
If the solution Eventbrite created seems obvious in retrospect, it is only because their team did the heavy lifting.
PublishedSeptember 20, 2018
Julia and Kevin,
You probably remember the day in the summer of 2009 when you came to Sequoia to present Eventbrite. You probably also remember that we signed the term sheet at 7 a.m. that Saturday in a diner in Los Gatos. But you may not know about the all-nighter I pulled in between.
During your presentation, something clicked and I was struck by an unshakable belief that you would succeed. After the meeting, I searched my email and turned up a dozen Eventbrite-powered invites, then cold-called each event creator. Hearing their glowing reviews added to my excitement—and fed my conviction. I stayed up all night preparing so our partnership could make a decision before the weekend.
Nearly a decade later, we’re celebrating an incredible milestone together as Eventbrite becomes a publicly traded company. You may be realizing that IPOs are a little like final exams—you obsess for months, then the big day finally comes and you think, “Now what?” For you, the answer is simple: keep doing what you’ve always done.
From the earliest days of Eventbrite, you’ve been obsessed with serving your customers. At a time when event creators were using spreadsheets, email, and pen and paper to do their jobs, you recognized a market that was not just underserved but entirely unserved. You gave those creators the tools they needed to build their businesses and to focus on their passions; their inspiration was contagious. You also recognized, obsessed over, and fueled people’s growing preference for experiences over material possessions.
If the solution you’ve created seems obvious in retrospect, it is only because you and your team did the heavy lifting. You innovated relentlessly, never letting fear of imperfection stop you from quickly launching and iterating on new features. And because you remained customer-obsessed, you continuously improved the experience for an increasingly diverse group of creators as you grew Eventbrite into a truly international business.
The result is a delightful product that spreads through word-of-mouth and a viral business model: of the 700,000 creators who used Eventbrite to issue 200 million tickets in 170 countries last year, 95 percent of them signed themselves up!
Of course, your success is also fueled by your team’s culture, which encourages creativity, teamwork, and trust. The energy one feels walking through Eventbrite’s offices is palpable, and it manifests in countless small ways: how Britelings give and receive feedback, the emphasis on inclusivity, the way meetings are run, the sense of transparency and openness.
Eventbrite’s culture is a product of your own character and the example you set as founders. Because you two are optimistic, empathetic, kind and thoughtful—the type of people who write thank-you notes after they come over for dinner—so, too, are the people on your team. Just as event creators have inspired you, you inspire everyone around you, including me.
While I look back with pride on your accomplishments thus far, I am also reminded that today marks a milestone, not a destination. As you and your team stay true to your roots, the same customer obsession, innovation, and incredible culture that brought Eventbrite to this moment will continue to serve you well. It’s an honor to join you for this journey, and I look forward to the inspiring experiences Eventbrite will power on the road ahead.
Best regards, Roelof