Episode 22: How Live Experiences Bring People Together – the Secret Behind the Success and IPO of Eventbrite

Kevin Hartz is one of the few leaders in Silicon Valley who has had an incredible career as a repeat founder, business builder and investor.  He co-founded Eventbrite, the born digital ticketing leader, in October 2005 with his wife Julia Hartz and Renaud Visage.  Kevin served as Chairman and CEO through late 2016 before turning the CEO reins over to Julia while remaining Chairman.  Eventbrite had a very successful IPO in September 2018 valuing the company at well north of $2 billion.  Prior to building Eventbrite, Kevin co-founded Xoom, the money remittance business, in 2001, and he served as CEO until 2005. Zoom also had a successful IPO before being acquired in 2015 by PayPal for about a billion dollars. Kevin’s been a very successful investor as well. Some of his most successful early stage investments include Airbnb, Pinterest, Trulia, Skybox Imaging and NewFront Insurance which we talk a bit about in this episode.  Kevin was also a partner at Founders Fund.

In this episode, we mainly talk about Kevin’s journey in creating and building Eventbrite, including the spark behind Eventbrite in creating user experiences, the secret to making successful acquisitions and how to navigate being married to your co-founder.

Episode Highlights:

2:36:  What was the spark for Eventbrite?
5:11:  How is Eventbrite used to create live experiences? 
6:12:  What are the benefits of a platform?  
7:49:  Are there things you did early on so that the platform could thrive?
8:34:  Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently or re-prioritized that would have allowed you to move quicker?
10:11 What do you look for in a great hire? Anything to avoid?
12:46. Eventbrite is well known for its organic user adoption. Is that something that you planned?  How can other companies learn from your success?
14:35:  How do you get the right fit?
16:19: How do you keep a leg up on the competition?
17:43:  Has starting a company with your spouse given you added perspective about how to evaluate teams and how they interact with each other?
20:27 How much time do you spend on what competition is doing? Should founders get hyper focused on entrenched competition?
22:49 What are some of the rules of the road for making acquisitions?
24.52:  What other benefits have you had as a business builder from being an investor?
26:13:  Tell us about NewFront Insurance, a new company that you’ve just invested in
28:03: What is your favorite book to recommend to entrepreneurs
29:13: What’s something that you believe that isn’t conventional at most others don’t believe
30:15: What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself when you were just getting started as a founder.

If you have any questions you’d like us to ask our guests, or founders you’d like to hear on this podcast, feel free to email us at founderrealtalk@ggvc.com. If you like what you hear, please rate and review us on the Apple podcast app to help others find this podcast.

GGV Capital is a global venture capital firm that invests in local founders. As a multi-stage, sector-focused firm, GGV focuses on seed-to-growth stage investments across Consumer/New Retail, Social/Digital & Internet, Enterprise/Cloud and Frontier Tech sectors. The firm was founded in 2000 and manages $6.2 billion in capital across 13 funds. Past and present portfolio companies include Affirm, Airbnb, Alibaba, BitSight, ByteDance (Toutiao), Ctrip, Didi Chuxing, Grab, Gladly, Hello Chuxing, HashiCorp, Houzz, Keep, LingoChamp, Namely, Niu, Nozomi Networks, Opendoor, Peloton, Poshmark, Slack, Square, Wish, Xauto, Xiaohongshu, Yellow, YY, Zhaoyou and more. The firm has offices in Beijing, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Silicon Valley. Learn more at ggvc.com, @GGVCapital or GGVCapital on WeChat.