Broker-owned ticket exchange Ticket Evolution this week announced the hiring of its first employee with the company’s self-imposed deadline for raising $4 million only one week away.
Paul Harris, formerly a senior sales representative for TicketNetwork, was hired to be Ticket Evolution’s director of broker relationships, and he told TicketNews that he has also invested $10,000 in the new company to be one of its stakeholders.
“It would have been hard to try to talk brokers into making a commitment to this venture without having made one myself,” he said. Harris has more than 15 years of experience in the ticketing industry, building relationships along the way. “I think brokers feel they can trust me, and I hope to be able to build on that trust.”
His hiring, however, comes as questions swirl around the company as it relates to its financing and its chosen technology.
In a three-page letter posted on the company’s Web site yesterday, August 5, co-founder and President Ram Silverman reached out to an unidentified number of brokers who are “teetering on the fence” about whether to invest in the company. Speculation has spread through the secondary ticket industry that the company has not yet raised its total, which the letter would appear to confirm. TicketNews asked the founders how much the company has raised, but they did not respond.
“I have talked to a couple hundred brokers the past 2 weeks and for those of you who are waiting to see what the next broker is doing; I encourage you to take a small leap of faith and jump on our side of the fence. Please take a hard look at what your downside is and if you truly do not see the benefit or need for this exchange then don’t join. Change is going to happen with or without you!” Silverman wrote.
The company initially set a deadline of today, August 6, to raise the $4 million but extended that by a week to August 13. If the $4 million is not raised, the founders vowed to return all of the money to the investors.
On the technology front, the company is planning to use Amazon’s cloud computing option and the open-source Ruby on Rails platform, which it displayed to potential investors during a splashy presentation last month in Las Vegas. Yet, the company’s choice of technology is rife with questions about its security and other issues.
TicketNews posed several questions to the founders about their choice of technology, but those inquiries have gone unanswered. Drew Gainor, the former chief marketing officer at National Events Company who is now chief technology officer for Ticket Evolution, said he intended to respond to questions about the technology, but had yet to after several days.
Among the questions posed by TicketNews included:
-How will [Ticket Evolution] handle [Payment Card Industry] PCI compliance, and how will broker data be secured? Will you have access to their data and where/how they obtain tickets?
-Based on [TicketNews] research, [we] found that Twitter is only using Ruby on Rails (ROR) for its front end, but it has abandoned it for back end operations because of its limitations, slowness and lack of scalability. Does this alter [Ticket Evolution’s] perception of the platform, and/or what is [Ticket Evolution’s] opinion of Twitter’s decision?
-Which version of ROR will [Ticket Evolution] be using? 2.0 or 3.0?
-[Ticket Evolution] mentioned that the technology used by other [ticket] exchanges is dead or dying. Could you elaborate on that, and why ROR is better considering its limitations?
-Continuing with that line of questioning, what other high-transaction, e-commerce sites can [Ticket Evolution] point to that are using ROR for all of their operations, not just front end interface?
Earlier in the week, Steve Parry, one of Ticket Evolution’s founders, forwarded TicketNews a copy of a press release from the University of Texas Dallas about a research team from the university who are working on software applications to secure cloud computing operations. But, when asked whether Ticket Evolution had contacted the team about possibly using the applications, or whether those efforts met PCI compliance standards, neither Parry nor Gainor responded.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.