Wellington startup Dash Tickets acquired by competitor TicketDirect

Creative HQ alum Dash Tickets has been acquired by events and promotions company The Fortress Group, which also owns TicketDirect and 1-night.co.nz.

Nick SchembriNick Schembri

Dash founder Nick Schembri couldn't comment on how much the deal is worth, except to say that the sale of his startup was significant.

Schembri developed the ticketing system as a student at Victoria University in 2008, before growing it out as a business at Creative HQ in Wellington. The Dash team is now 10-strong, including a business development lead in Sydney working on opportunities across the Tasman for the past year. The Aussie expansion was made possible by a six-figure deal with Ministry of Sound Australia in 2011.

The Fortress deal gives Dash access to new capital for growth and the ability to secure events and prices at a more favourable rate due to Fortress' scale and clout, says Schembri. He adds that the two companies have long shared a similar goal, namely to "take down" overseas competitors such as Ticketek and Ticketmaster.

"[Davey] and I saw each other at industry-related conferences all the time. We have the same view on the ticketing industry and he built Ticket Direct as a startup just like I did with Dash Tickets," he says.

"Joining forces means we can take it to the big overseas competitor. It started off as an idea to work together but the sale is a good thing too."

The extra resources will also help Dash's overseas ambitions. Schemberi says Fiji, South Africa and Canada are all on the cards for potential expansion.

Dash and Ticket Direct have until now been competitors, but Schembri doesn't expect any sort of backlash from events managers or ticket buyers. Dash will be run as a separate business entity and the current team will remain.

Schembri's own startup aspirations won't be quashed by this deal. He says he'll continue to play a part in New Zealand's startup scene, but this will mostly in mentorship and early stage funding through initiatives such as Angel HQ.

"Startups are incredibly important to New Zealand's economy and they are also the best way to grow it too. I hope I can help a few others achieve a similar level of success," he says.