King Charles’s coronation, Beyonce’s Renaissance Tour, Taylor Swift’s latest series of live shows—all momentous, all a pain to get tickets to thanks to Ticketmaster according to customers. Recently, the ticketing behemoth has been overwhelmed by the millions of fans rushing to make purchases, and have experienced site crashes across markets in the US, leaving many scratching their heads.
“We are currently experiencing technical difficulties and our team is working to resolve this as soon as possible,” one message read on the site during an outage while customers attempted purchased Swift’s concert tickets in November 2022. “We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Please check back soon to continue.”
The litany of issues may seem as if they have come out of nowhere, but Avante Price and Eli Taylor-Lemire saw them coming from a mile away.
“I think we saw it from both an engineering standpoint and a growth standpoint,” Tayor-Lemire told ESSENCE.” He and Price founded their event production and ticketing company POSH in 2020 after noticing a less than desirable customer experience on EveNtbrite and Ticketmaster. “On the engineering side, those platforms have been around for so long that their engineering teams are massive and they move very slowly and they’re building on very outdated infrastructure. So we knew that even though we have far less engineers, we can move very quickly and also pivot if we need to. On the growth side, most of these bigger companies have pay to play model in place where they shell out a bunch of money to larger players to get them to use their product, but the product doesn’t actually provide them with features that generate them more revenue.”
The 21-year-olds have been launching and running startups since their teens, so when they identified the issue while students at NYU and freelance event organizers, the decision to partner up made perfect sense.
“When I got to New York City for school and started working with different entities that threw parties, we noticed they weren’t where any of our friends want to be,” Price explained. “The main issue was no one really felt like they were getting the value for their money for these events.”
According to him, platforms like Eventbrite didn’t provide an intuitive enough experience for event producers to identify their target audiences and market directly to them.
“POSH‘s integrated technology speaks to those needs,” said Tayor-Lemire, the company’s CTO. He built the initial website and handled all of the coding at the onset of the startup. Since then, the platform has grown into a brand that has caught the attention of Silicon Valley. The founders recently announced the close of a $5M seed co-led by Companyon Ventures and EPIC Ventures, with participation from Cameron Dallas, Day One Ventures, Pareto Holdings, Joshua Browder (DoNotPay founder) and others.
“The existing events industry is extremely monopolistic,” Price said. “Incumbent brands use a pay-to-play model to keep corporate event organizers exclusive to their products. They put their brand before their organizers’ and make it extremely difficult to manage and scale the communities that event organizers work so hard to build. Other existing platforms have limited functionality, weak financial infrastructure and offer little to no marketing tools. We built POSH to make it the best platform to find what to do as an attendee, make money as an affiliate and manage an event as a host.”
Described as the Shopify for events, POSH is aiming to support independent event organizers to control the entire lifecycle of a live experience, which is crucial as festival season approaches.
“POSH immediately caught my eye as the most user friendly, sexiest and innovative ticketing platform,” said Charles Hochfelder, co-founder of We Belong Here Festival in a news release shared with ESSENCE.
The capital raise is just the beginning for the young founders.
“Over the past few years we’ve been in so many meetings, both with potential investors, potential clients, potential employees, where people, I think once they see us, their first thought is, there’s no way that these kids are going to succeed with a tech startup, let alone in nightlife,” Price told ESSENCE. “But we just pushed through. We pushed through and we’re going to get bigger from here.”