2020 Summer Catalyst Startup Profile: TicketRev
Jason Shatsky ‘21 is the CEO and Co-Founder of TicketRev, a reverse marketplace for event tickets. TicketRev strives to make the process of buying and selling tickets to your favorite events easier and more convenient. Here’s how it works: a buyer enters the online platform, selects his or her desired seating, and identifies what they are willing to pay for those tickets. Sellers enter the location of their ticket and will be notified of the highest bid. Jason’s passion for sports and music inspired him to start this venture: “Opening a business in this industry is so exciting because I have first-hand experience with the problems my venture aims to solve.”
The idea for his venture was sparked on February 10, 2019, when Jason and his friend Alex Fantappie ’21 (also a Summer Catalyst entrepreneur) traveled to San Francisco for the Startup Grind Conference. Coincidentally, Dwyane Wade was playing his final game against the Warriors that same week, but Jason didn’t realize it until the very last minute; “I immediately began searching for tickets on online marketplaces. I noticed that all the prices were very similar, there was no way to put in an offer, there was no way to negotiate, there was very limited flexibility, and there was no convenience. That experience led me to believe that there has to be a better way to purchase tickets online – and the model we’ve created doesn’t just benefit buyers, it benefits both buyers and sellers.”
What Jason enjoys most about entrepreneurship is the freedom to make decisions and to be the driving force behind the outcome of his business and career. Before TicketRev, he started an e-commerce business for sneakers and apparel in middle school and ran it through high school. Through his work in the sneaker industry, he gained valuable knowledge and insights. He also met his Co-Founder and COO of TicketRev, Andrew Duca: “Much of what I learned in the sneaker industry helped me figure out what innovation was needed in the ticketing industry. Sneakers and tickets are two of the most popular things that are re-sold, and there are many parallels between the two industries like an increased desire for convenience and flexibility.”
Jason entered Summer Catalyst with a fully developed product and was eager to launch. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on live sports and music events, TicketRev will not be launching this summer. There are several other milestones the team hopes to achieve: expanding the advisory board, increasing the email list sign-ups, building the brand, and immersing themselves in the Boston ecosystem. Although the pandemic resulted in unforeseen challenges, Jason strives to look on the bright side and sees a potential silver lining: “Both live music and live sports bring people together – we’ve seen it in the past. I believe that once fans are able to safely return to the stadiums, it’s going to be one of the most exciting places to be. We will have an opportunity to make an even greater impact after the pandemic.” Jason also provided four pieces of advice to other entrepreneurs who might be facing challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: “One: forget about the negatives and look at the upside. Two: recognize that as a startup, you can pivot faster than a large company. Three: think about all the opportunities that are present due to the online transition. Four: seek advice and feedback from peers, mentors, and support networks.”
Jason is thrilled to be a part of the Summer Catalyst cohort and grateful to be surrounded by other ambitious and talented entrepreneurs: “All of the knowledge, experience, and networking that Summer Catalyst provides is just completely invaluable.” Babson has always been Jason’s dream school and he has immense appreciation for the college and its mission. He has taken full advantage of the incredible programming that Babson offers. In addition to Summer Catalyst, Jason was a B.E.T.A. Challenge finalist and a member of the Butler Launch Pad Fast Track Cohort. Currently, Jason is a manager at eTower and enjoys supporting his peers while giving back to the community.
For Jason, “The most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur involves being the driver of your own success; the success of your company depends on you and the work you put in.” Although it’s an exciting journey, Jason acknowledges that being an entrepreneur is also quite challenging and risky. Therefore, your ability to pivot and adapt as an entrepreneur is imperative. Furthermore, Jason believes that,“Every failure is just another lesson learned. Something that may seem like a mistake or a failure can be reframed as feedback or data to help you move forward again and improve the venture.”
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Jason would like to share several words of wisdom: “Talk to as many people as you can. In the business world, especially as a student, people are willing to help. So never be afraid to reach out especially in this virtual setting. Be patient and recognize that growth is a slow but valuable process. If you’re only focused on launching or making money it’s not going to work, so just love what you are doing and focus on enjoying the process. That’s how you can make the most of the entrepreneurial journey.”