The Problem

Music festivals sell out very quickly, often within minutes. In the case of Coachella, you have about 20 minutes on January 4th at exactly 11 am Pacific Time to buy tickets directly from the website. If you’re unable to buy tickets within this window, you are left with one of two options:
– Go on a website like StubHub to buy your tickets, and pay close to 30% in fees, about $150 on top of a $500 ticket.
– Go on Craigslist, and meet with a (potentially) sketchy person you don’t know, in a dimly lit Walmart parking lot, and hope you get a legitimate ticket without getting robbed or scammed.

The Solution

FestFriends is changing that. We provide a safe and convenient alternative for buyers and sellers who want to avoid the scenarios above. Our web and mobile marketplace allows users to buy and sell tickets in an environment similar to the stock market. Buyers place Bids, with a price they’re willing to pay. Sellers place Asks, with a price they’re willing to accept. Our platform automatically matches Bids and Asks, and Buyers and Sellers, and places transactions anonymously.
Here’s the kicker, and the biggest value we provide: In order to complete the transaction and get paid, the seller has to send us the physical wristband ticket, which can’t be transferred digitally like most concerts or sporting events, in the mail for authentication.
After we receive the wristband ticket from the seller, we verify that it’s legitimate and exactly as advertised. Once we’ve done this, we mail it off to the buyer and release the funds to the seller. Both parties can operate knowing that they will not get scammed out of their hard-earned dollars or the precious tickets they spent time and money to acquire.

The Idea

The idea for FestFriends came in March of 2018, in the month leading up to Coachella. Like every other year, Ed, Shaf, and Tom were tirelessly looking through different websites to find tickets for themselves and a few of their close friends. In a coffee-induced adrenaline rush one night, Shaf created a dynamic color-coded Excel sheet with information collected from each of the postings he found on Craigslist and Facebook. After posting a picture to his Snapchat and Instagram stories, he started to receive direct messages asking for his help to find tickets for a number of other friends. He posted a link to a Google Form to his Facebook for people interested in buying or selling their Coachella tickets, collecting pieces of information from the people that wanted his help, such as: quantity, type of tickets, budget and price range, weekend preference, etc. Within 72 hours, he was overwhelmed with the response. Over 200 people had completed the form, the vast majority of whom he had never met.

Rather than trying to match buyers and sellers individually and manually, he thought a better solution would be to create a platform that would take offers from users, and set transactions automatically. He immediately reached out to Tom and Ed to share his idea. The three spent the next few nights discussing about the potential of such an idea for music festivals in general, and agreed to employ the services of an overseas developer team with whom Shaf had worked on previous projects, and the idea quickly came to life.

Shaf’s color-coded Excel Sheet for Coachella tickets

People start asking for help buying/selling tickets

Google Form to facilitate ticket sales

Idea: Mobile app marketplace for festival tickets

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