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Brown Paper Tickets Named Finalist for GeekWire Bootstrapper of the Year

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GeekWireAwards-200x225Fantastic news. GeekWire, the national technology news site nominated Brown Paper Tickets for Bootstrapper of the Year.

Vote for us now or read on and find out what makes us viable bootstrappers.

3 Reasons to Vote for Us 

1. After launching the world’s first free ticketing and event registration service, Brown Paper Tickets has remained profitable and continues to hit record sales year after year. We’ve created a multi-billion dollar business niche in the ticketing industry, without a dime of venture capital.

2. Brown Paper Tickets donates 5% of its profits from every ticket sold to good causes chosen by ticket buyers, so each event we ticket has a social impact.

3. In 2014, Brown Paper Tickets started a revolution by offering event organizers the ability to collect online donations without taking service fees. Part of our not-just-for-profit business values.

William S. Jordan (@wsjordan), Brown Paper Tickets’ founder, president and CTO shared insights into why he and his business partner and CEO Steve Butcher continue to turn away VC funding.

Q: You’ve been offered VC funding many times. Why haven’t you accepted it?

Jordan: We love live events. We provide everything event organizers need to make their events more successful. Other ticketing companies aren’t providing the features and services we offer because it doesn’t maximize their profits. Investors would force us to do what was necessary to make the most profit.

We love creating technology and solutions that elevate the success of event organizers and experience of ticket buyers.

Q: Can you give some examples?

Jordan: Without having to be beholden to investors, we’ve been able to offer live 24/7 customer service.

We’ve given 5% to charity with every ticket sold, so that all the events on our site have a social impact. We’ve created deeper, more authentic relationships and saved the day for people who needed our help.

We’ve given the world’s first free access to advanced event ticketing features such as assigned seating, something that’s taken the rest of our industry 12 years. We innovated new technologies such as our Transfer-to-a-Friend™ feature that allows ticket buyers to text tickets to their friends.

Because we don’t care about making the highest profit, other companies are now being forced to offer the services and technology that we offered at the lowest prices possible, just to keep up.

We don’t nickel-and-dime event organizers or ticket buyers for mailing tickets, accepting donations online, or sending staff to help them to run their box office.

We treat event organizers as friends, sharing technology, services and assistance at the lowest service fee possible. We make choosing Brown Paper Tickets a no-brainer, and by doing so, we help the entire live events industry.

Q: What’s in it for Brown Paper Tickets?

Jordan: Bootstrapping the company has made us more nimble, efficient and sustainable and we are able to pay that forward. We have better planning and more scalability at a lower cost than the rest of the industry.

We have had to work harder, but we have more intimacy with the product and industries, making it easier to see trends, anticipate needs, avoid unnecessary costs and create solutions without approval from a board of directors.

All of this makes us great problem-solvers and gives us the ability to share better counsel and to help anyone who works with us make more money from their events. When you succeed, we succeed.

Q: Any down side to bootstrapping your company?

Jordan: Whenever there is a problem, we don’t have the luxury to throw money at it. We are forced to look at issues differently and sometimes work a lot harder than a team working at a VC-funded company, awash in cash. Also, most companies get a lot of press for partnering with big corporate money.

But bootstrapping is a mindset that also makes one more resilient and creates a fight-to-win attitude that resonates with a lot of independent event organizers. So, it’s still an asset.

BPTickets_BestPlacesQ: As the company grows, how can it remain an underdog to VC-funded competitors?

Jordan: When a scrappy start-up creates a product or service that fixes problems and exceeds the standards for performance, service and price offered by big-money corporations, it changes everything – and that start-up becomes the underdog. You’re not the one that’s supposed to win; and people love it when you do.

Underdogs are in a position of power because people are rooting for you. If you use your success to fund your next great idea, your tribe will be rooting for you because you are making interesting things happen. I want to see how far we can take it.

Brown Paper Tickets was a 2014 finalist for GeekWire’s Perk of the Year. Read all about it.