Christmas has come early for tech startup Dash Tickets – the Wellington-based company has just secured a six-figure capital investment from the founders of Ministry of Sound Australia.
Dash is a platform for event organisers and venues to manage their ticketing and interactions with consumers, and the cash injection bodes well for Dash's planned expansion across the ditch in 2012.
Dash founder and chief executive Nick Schembri says the deal with the Ministry of Sound team provides them with a good launchpad into the Australian market.
Ministry of Sound Australia is a big player in the country's entertainment industry, running a large touring and events business that manages more than 200 club nights a year, as well an artist management division.
With a big-name partner on board, Schembri says they can "attack the market head on".
Schembri says Dash grew from hobby status into "something more" in just a matter of months in early 2009, after he was challenged by the students' association at Victoria University to come up with a ticketing system for Orientation events.
After finishing up his commerce degree, Schembri set about growing the Dash Tickets business, with the help of business incubator Creative HQ.
Over the past two years, Dash has sold more than 160,000 tickets for nearly 770 events, including the Christchurch Arts Festival, the Wellington venue Sandwiches, and the World Buskers Festival.
Schembri says tapping the Australian market has been a goal since Dash's early days.
Where you'd get 200 people to an event in Wellington, and sell maybe 100 tickets, in Australia, you'd expect around 2000 people to turn out.
"The volumes are much higher in Australia," he says.
While developing an entry strategy for Australia, Dash will be focusing on strengthening its position in the New Zealand market, continuing to develop its platform and services, including social media integration and marketing add-ons.