Zimbabwean-born du Toit leads SeatGeek Inc

By Staff reporter | 08 Apr 2019 at 13:14hrs
Danielle du Toit
TICKETING startup SeatGeek Inc. has hired Danielle du Toit as president of SeatGeek Enterprise, a new position leading a business that's become 10 times bigger than the company first expected.

A longtime marketing executive, du Toit took an unlikely route to SeatGeek.

She said she knew little about ticketing when SeatGeek's co-founders, Russ D'Souza and Jack Groetzinger, approached her late last year.  After a few informal conversations, she grew fascinated by an industry in flux due to new technology, and a company she believed was poised to take advantage.

"I was surprised by how much I was talking about the industry, and how much I was researching it," du Toit, 41, said in an interview at SeatGeek's New York headquarters. "And one thing that stuck out is how big of an opportunity SeatGeek has."

SeatGeek Enterprise provides primary ticket sales, back-end software, mobile options and marketing to teams, leagues and venues around the world.

SeatGeek, originally just a secondary market where fans could buy and sell tickets they already owned, launched this new part of its business in 2016 through a partnership with Major League Soccer.

Since then, SeatGeek has bought ticket software company TopTix for $56 million, added five international offices and signed some of the sports world's biggest brands.

Its roughly 400 clients include the Dallas Cowboys, the New Orleans Saints and Manchester City Football Club. Du Toit, who will oversee a team of 150 people, said the division's business is 10 times bigger than SeatGeek projected three years ago, though she declined to provide specific numbers. She's looking overseas to keep that growth going.

Unlike in America, where mobile tickets are prevalent and resale markets are an accepted part of the sports and concert experience, most European countries are just now adopting new ticketing technology.

SeatGeek is working with its European partners on mobile first and plans longer-term to expand to markets in Asia and Africa.

"In those markets, clients are really just starting to understand," she said.

"They're realising that the way they've been servicing fans isn't ideal. There's an opportunity to give their fans a better experience, and that's good for their business."

SeatGeek launched in 2009 with the aim of creating a mobile-first option for the growing ticket industry. It's become one of the industry's biggest advocates for an open ticketing model, one that blends sales directly from a team with listings posted by fans.

Investors include Causeway Partners, the investment fund led by Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, Accel Partners, Peyton and Eli Manning, the rapper Nas, and Carmelo Anthony's Melo7 Tech Partners.

Du Toit was born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa. She's worked previously at marketing firm Cheetah Digital, software giant Salesforce and cloud computing company Bullhorn.



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