Ahead of the VOOM finale on Tuesday 28 June, which will see six SMEs pitch to Richard Branson, Virgin Media Business MD Peter Kelly and a trio of judges, Real Business is getting familiar with the companies that are battling for a £1m prize fund.Three finalists can be found in the two categories, Startup and Grow, and the first person we heard from was Luke Massie, owner and founder of Vibe Tickets. Category: Startup Location: Lancaster Founding year: 2013 Sector and company description: Vibe Tickets is the social and ethical solution for people who want to buy or sell tickets to the biggest live events in the UK. Tickets can only be sold at face value which means sellers receive the money they originally spent and buyers are not left feeling ripped off. The differentiator of Vibe Tickets is that users can also choose to meet each other either before or during events to create a Vibe Tickets community of attendees. By taking part, users simultaneously get to see their favourite attractions and make new friends. (1) What was your inspiration for launching the business? It all started with a personal experience in navigating the secondary ticketing market. I actually purchased gig tickets for me and a few friends, but unfortunately they had double booked themselves. I didn’t want to waste the tickets (and my money!) or rip anyone off, so I looked for a way to sell the tickets for face value to real fans who perhaps missed out when the tickets were released. Seeing that there wasn’t a free option available at the time, I put my tickets on Twitter and ended up selling them – making a fan and my pocket happy! From there, Vibe Tickets was born. (2) Who are your target customers? The beauty of Vibe is it appeals to people of all ages, of different genders, and who are interested in all different things. If you’re 15 or 50 we are sure to have something for you on the Vibe Tickets app. If you have tickets to sell, we’re perfect and can help you out – it’s easy to upload and very quick. If you are looking to buy, we have thousands of people selling tickets, so again, we can be of great use to you. (3) What prompted you to take part in VOOM this year? We thought it was a great opportunity to get Vibe out there and with the backing from such an esteemed company as Virgin Media Business, and obviously the potential to meet Richard Branson, we knew we had to enter! Our brand is all about the people and so the more people we can get it out there too, and get on board with our idea, the more fans will save money and stop getting ripped off. We know that if we had a chance to tell Richard about our product and brand, and our reason behind it, he’d love it and believe in it like we and all our fans do. (4) How did you find the Pitchathon, and what did you do to prepare? The VOOM Pitchathon was pretty intense. I did have prompt cards that I had written out and prepared which explained what Vibe Tickets is in a nutshell – all our differentiating points, why we do what we do, and why we are out to help the fans. But when you get in there, it’s a different atmosphere and you’ve just got to go with it. I didn’t end up looking at my points once, and I could have talked for a lot longer, but thankfully I got most of what I wanted to say across, and they liked it! (5) Prior to that, what was your experience of pitching? I have done pitches before to investors and I do a lot of public speaking, but this was different because I knew I was up against some great companies, so it was going to be a tough competition. And what with not having that long in front of the panel, you want to try and cram everything in a short period of time without sounding like you’re rushing.
Read more from VOOM 2016:
- Oomph should be used with caution, says SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards
- 29-hour pitching frenzy results in Guinness World Record for Virgin Media Business
- What do you get when you mix a supermodel, underwear expert and a YouTuber? Richard Branson recruits
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