TopTix, an Israeli software company that develops ticketing applications for the entertainment industry, has been sold to U.S. startup SeatGeek for $56 million.
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The purchase price includes the company’s Israeli development center in Carmiel and its six subsidiaries in Europe, the United States and Australia. SeatGeek provides a search engine for buying tickets to performances and sporting events.
TopTix was founded by Eli Dagan and Yehuda Yuval in 2000. Since its launch, it has attracted investments of $4 million – $2.5 million of which was from the European Brevan Howard fund, which has a 20% stake in the company. The company employs 47 people in Israel and 70 more overseas.
The Israeli employees will share some $8 million, some by exercising their options and partly as bonuses.
The company and its subsidiaries will continue to operate independently following the acquisition. Yuval, who ran the company for its first 16 years and has spent the past year working on the sale to SeatGeek, is expected to resign to pursue other ventures, leaving Dagan to continue running the company.
“It’s been a long and challenging time,” Dagan said. “Over the past 17 years, we’ve switched technologies three times and totally rewrote the software – which is very uncharacteristic of our industry, which is very cautious. We took a chance and relied on the commitment of our talented employees. In all our years of activity, almost no employee has left us – the loyalty in a place like Carmiel is high and long-standing. In the near term, we will expand our Israeli development team. Our impression is that the corporate culture of the acquiring company, SeatGeek, is very similar to ours.”
Yuval also pointed out a Haaretz connection to the story. “In March 2000, IOL – the culture and leisure portal of the Haaretz newspaper – was the first investor who believed in us and put down $350,000,” he said.
“Walla later bought IOL, and they’re the ones now benefiting from the sale. Haim Inselberg, formerly the group president of Haaretz, has been TopTix’s chairman for all its 17 years,” added Yuval.
TopTix says it works with most of the theaters, museums, sports stadiums and cultural centers in Israel. Among its foreign customers are the Concertgebouw concert hall in Amsterdam, the Dutch soccer federation, the English National Opera, and the Rotterdam and Sundance film festivals.
TopTix specializes in developing technological solutions for ticketing and customer management for the entertainment industry. The company’s software allows consumers to see, in real time, how many seats are still available for an event, as well as providing the institutions with a platform to manage their customers and regular subscribers.
SeatGeek was founded in 2009 and has raised $160 million to date. The company had 135 employees before its acquisition of TopTix.