The Event Event: A Talk with Eventbrite’s Founders

We’re thrilled to announce that on August 7th, Xconomy will be hosting our co-founders Kevin and Julia Hartz for an evening forum on the growth of the online to offline (O2O) economy. We’re honored to have Wade Roush, chief correspondent at Xconomy and editor of Xconomy San Francisco, pen today’s guest blog post. Take it away, Wade!

There are Web companies that just want you to spend more time on the Web (think Zynga and Facebook). And then there are Web companies that want you to get off your duff and do fun things in the real world.

I’ve always thought of Eventbrite as the second type of company.

Yeah, you do have to go to the Web (or your mobile device) to sign up for an Eventbrite-managed event. But the company’s main goal is to make finding and registering for that event as fast and easy as possible, so you can concentrate on actually going.

It’s all part of a bigger movement that’s been called “online to offline,” or O2O. When you reserve a vehicle through Zipcar, or you look up a restaurant review on Yelp, or you buy a voucher for a kayaking trip on Groupon, you’re engaging in O2O commerce. O2O companies have been among the fastest-growing startups in the whole consumer Internet, and I think it’s because they’re tapping into a fundamental insight that seems to elude many Internet companies: Computers and networks are just tools for making your life more interesting, and most of that life happens off the screen.

Here at Xconomy, where I’m the San Francisco editor, we’ve been using Eventbrite to manage ticketing for our public (and some private) events since 2007. It makes our job much easier, and I would rank it right alongside WordPress and Google Apps as one of the crucial Web-based tools that have helped us create a thriving publishing-and-events business on very little capital investment. Our audiences like it too—they know it’s an easy, trustworthy way to secure a spot at our events.

Well, after organizing about 70 events through Eventbrite, we’ve finally decided to organize an event about Eventbrite. I’m excited to say that on August 7, I’ll be joined on stage in San Francisco by Eventbrite’s co-founders—Kevin Hartz and Julia Hartz —as well as Eventbrite board member Sean Moriarty, the former CEO of ticketing giant Ticketmaster. We’re also fortunate that Renaud Visage (Eventbrite’s founding CTO based in France) will also be at the event. The “Event Event” is part of our “Xconomy Xchange” series of public chats, which has previously featured such Bay Area technology and investing stars as Sequoia Capital chairman Michael Moritz and Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

If you join us on August 7, you can plan on a rollicking conversation that touches on Eventbrite’s growth strategy, its future plans, and how the event world itself is changing thanks to online tools. I’ll also ask Kevin and Julia and their colleagues to share some of the O2O and event marketing secrets they’ve uncovered over the six years since they started the company.

We’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A and networking, so that you can put your own questions to the Eventbrite team. The Xchange event takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and will be hosted by the Greenstart cleantech accelerator in downtown San Francisco, with sponsorship from our partner, the Wells Fargo Technology & Venture Banking Group. Tickets are available now (through Eventbrite, of course). We hope to see you there!