How Does TickPick Make Money? Dissecting Its Business Model

Executive Summary:

TickPick is an online platform on which members can purchase tickets from licensed professional brokerages.  

TickPick makes money by charging sellers on its platform a flat fee of 10 percent. The commission is applied whenever a ticket is sold through the platform.

Founded in 2011, TickPick is now one of the biggest ticket resellers in the United States. Its founders have raised over $40 million in funding for the business.

How TickPick Works

TickPick is an online platform on which members can purchase tickets from licensed professional brokerages.  

Customers can purchase tickets for all kinds of events including sports (e.g., basketball or football), music concerts, comedy shows, theater plays, and more.

Previously, tickets on TickPick were sold via a bidding system, with each ticket going to the highest bidder.

This has since changed. Sellers now simply set the price they want to offer the ticket for and wait until someone is willing to pay the said price.  

Apart from substantially lower fees, TickPick also provides the total pricing of a ticket upfront, thus not requiring customers to click through the checkout page.

The vast majority of tickets sold via the site come from licensed ticket brokers. However, approved individual sellers can also offer theirs in some rare instances.

As a result, TickPick is able to offer a so-called BuyerTrust Guarantee, meaning it ensures that tickets will be authentic and valid for entry, shipped on time, and refunded in case of the event’s cancellation.

TickPick itself can be accessed by visiting the firm’s website or by downloading its mobile app (available on Android and iOS devices).

Detailing the Founding Story of TickPick

TickPick, which is headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2011 by Brett Goldberg and Chris O’Brien.

The two founders met each other when they were both pursuing college degrees at Lehigh University.

While Goldberg, who studied finance, became an investment associate, O’Brien pursued a career in software engineering at Nuance Communications.

And one pivotal experience in college would ultimately wind up becoming the inspiration that led to the creation of TickPick.

Brett Goldberg had just purchased tickets to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert only for two of his friends to cancel on him last minute. Luckily, this proved to be a blessing in disguise.

He managed to sell the tickets for substantially more than the initial price, thus essentially being able to attend the concert for free. Throughout the coming months and years, Goldberg would check sites like StubHub, put listings into an Excel sheet, and then purchase the ones he thought he could resell.

Unfortunately, he would eventually begin losing money on those transactions, which made him wonder how to properly price tickets at scale – and whether potential competitors like StubHub were actually too expensive.

So, Goldberg and O’Brien set out to create a more sophisticated solution. They figured that the optimal price for any given ticket could be determined via a bidding system instead of setting a fixed price.

They then patented said bidding system all while still working full-time at their respective day jobs. Fast forward to the end of 2011 and the two founders finally managed to unveil the first beta version of what was initially called Ticket Picket to the public.

tickpick launch
Wayback Machine

Since they bootstrapped the business, the founders also had to get creative. For instance, one of the interns that they employed early on created a script that would automatically upload all of TickPick’s tickets to Craigslist where a lot of tickets were purchased back then.   

To have at least a little bit of a cushion, Goldberg and O’Brien raised a seed round of $250,000 from friends, family, and an unknown angel investor back in May 2012.

However, this would end up being the last round of funding the founders raised for a long time. Instead, they were effectively forced to focus on profitability from day one.

In fact, it was O’Brien who built the firm’s mobile apps and website. TickPick would only hire their first software engineer four years later (in 2015).

Meanwhile, Brett Goldberg was busy cracking out blog posts, which sometimes attracted up to 100,000 visitors – and led to some nice additional revenue. He also continued to publicly denounce StubHub for its high fees, which they even changed later in 2014.

Fast forward to mid-2016, and TickPick was growing so fast that it managed to land on’s famous 5,000 list, meaning it was one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.

Simultaneously, TickPick managed to snatch away partners from competitor StubHub and other sites. From 2016 to 2018, TickPick became the official secondary marketplace of the Firefly Music Festival and dozens of colleges like Georgia State University.

2018 also became the year of growth through acquisitions. Over the course of 3 months, TickPick announced the purchase of ticket reseller RazorGator (May) and ticket inventory aggregator Rukkus (July).

All of those initiatives ultimately paid off in August 2019. That month, TickPick announced that it had just secured a $40 million investment from PWP Growth Equity (now called GreyLion Capital).

And even though the Covid pandemic put a significant dent into its business for over a year, TickPick came out as strong as ever – in large part due to its early focus on profitability.

As a result, it continued to sign on even bigger partners such as the Chicago Sky of the WNBA (05/2021) or the BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league (06/2022).

How Does TickPick Make Money?

TickPick makes money by charging sellers on its platform a flat fee of 10 percent. The commission is applied whenever a ticket is sold through the platform.

The company essentially operates a two-sided online marketplace in which it connects ticket buyers with licensed sellers.

What sets TickPick apart from its competitors are the upfront pricing, lower seller fees, as well as the fact that it doesn’t impose service fees on buyers.

Consequently, the more sellers join the TickPick marketplace, the more valuable it becomes to buyers due to the greater number of ticket options. Its business model is thus predicated on establishing a thriving supply side.

This has been particularly visible in the quality of partners TickPick has been able to sign up. While it has initially closed partnerships with smaller colleges, it now also handles ticket sales for the BIG3 or WNBA teams like the Los Angeles Sparks.

One of the reasons why TickPick is able to provide such competitive fee structures is because it always focused on profitability.

Instead of relying on expensive advertising on TV and other avenues, its growth largely came through word of mouth and content published by its co-CEO Brett Goldberg.

For instance, when Will Smith punched Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony, TickPick quickly published a story on how prices for Rock’s upcoming shows skyrocketed.

Lastly, TickPick, despite generating tens of millions in annual revenue, still ‘only’ employs around 50 people, which points towards a fairly healthy cost base.

TickPick Funding, Revenue & Valuation

TickPick, according to Crunchbase, has raised a little over $40 million across two total rounds of equity-based funding.

While its seed round was mostly comprised of family and friends, its second one was led by GreyLion Capital.

Since TickPick remains in private ownership, it is not obligated to disclose revenue or valuation figures to the public. It may do so during a future funding round, though.  

However, there are at least a few data points we can take advantage of. In 2019, TickPick facilitated sales worth $250 million according to a press release.

As mentioned above, the company charges sellers 10 percent in commission. Consequently, in 2019, TickPick generated around $25 million in revenue. That number, especially now that the pandemic is behind us, likely has substantially increased ever since.

Hi folks, Viktor checking in! Years of experience in various tech-related roles have led me to start this blog, which I hope provides you with as much enjoyment to read as I have writing the content.