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Get to know a Toronto startup: Picatic

Posted by Jonathon Muzychka / October 2, 2012

EventTiltCrowdfunding is one of the latest buzz words to grace the technology community. Think of crowdfunding as a way to finance a project by reaching out to your potential customers and asking them to invest a small amount of money towards turning your idea into reality. Crowdfunding focuses on allowing individuals to prepay - at a hefty discount - for a non-existent product or service while it's still an idea. If there is enough interest, and potentially enough money is raised through pre-sales, the idea gets validated and the project kicks off.

Although the risk of pre-ordering a product or service before it even exists may be tough to wrap your head around, there are many startups who are trying to apply this concept to more practical situations. Multiple niche crowdfunding platforms are popping up that allow fans to financially back their favourite indie films and musical artists in advance. This concept allows artists to test the market to see if they can generate enough interest before putting pen to paper.

Jay Parmar and the guys at Picatic are a prime Toronto example of taking the crowdfunding idea and applying it to a new industry. I had the chance to spend some time with Jay and his team to learn a bit more about how Picatic is quickly changing the way events are organized and planned online.

What's the story behind Picatic?

Picatic is a crowdfunding platform for the event ticketing and event management spaces. With our website, event organizers are able to pre-sell tickets at a discounted price to see if their event has demand or relevancy. If an event sells enough pre-tickets to meet the event organizer's minimum amount, the event 'tilts' - if it does not, ticket buyers money is returned in full. We help professionals and recreational event organizers by eliminating 100% of the risk when organizing events.

Interesting, where did the inspiration come from?

Our base platform, which is still active and very popular, is a traditional online ticketing company that works quite well.

However, we discovered a major problem in the event industry that no one was addressing. We found that event organizers are subjecting themselves to a large amount of unnecessary risk when they secure talent and a venue before selling a single ticket. This all too common scenario puts organizers in an extremely vulnerable financial position. One unsold ticket at $75 might not be a big deal, but 2000 unsold tickets at $75 is a loss of $150K. After an organizer discovers their event is going to take a loss, it's often too late to turn back.

We are addressing the pain felt by many event planners by allowing them to validate and gather revenues for their event beforehand. With EventTilt, event organizers won't have to take a loss again.

Let's say I want to buy a ticket to an event, how does this benefit me as a buyer?

Ticket buyers are given an opportunity to purchase tickets for an event with the understanding that a predetermined number of discounted tickets need to be purchased for the event before it 'tilts'. Event organizers can sell a preset number of discounted tickets within a maximum of 30 days. If the preset number of tickets are not sold, funds are returned in full to buyers. In the more common situation, when the preset number of tickets are sold, the event 'tilts' and the remaining tickets continue to sell at full price.

Also, as an incentive, event coordinators can reward early ticket purchasers with a financial discount and exclusive 'perks' such as VIP access, autographed books, swag and more.

As an organizer, what are some of the best features of Picatic?

Picatic provides event certainty by guaranteeing successful events and eliminating 100% of the risk!

Our solution puts the cart before the horse - we give tools to event organizers to pre-sell tickets and determine if their event is relevant. This allows organizers to break away from standard ticketing models and disrupt an industry that has been slow to evolve. Our target customers are event organizers, promoters, talent and venues who would historically announce an event and hope they sell enough tickets. Picatic's EventTilt takes financial worries out of the equation and puts power back into the hands of event organizers and their fans.

To simplify, we are Kickstarter for events.

Tell me about the business side of Picatic, where does the revenue come from?

We are a free web-based platform, for free tickets our service is completely free to use - for event that have charge tickets, we make a small commission from tickets that are sold. Thus, we only make money if we make you money first.

What are the next steps for Picatic?

Presently we are open to two currencies, CAD and US. In the near future, we're looking to open up to parts of the Latin and UK markets as well.



Cyril Sneer / October 2, 2012 at 10:40 am
Not a bad idea. As someone involved with a lot of smaller shows, this might make people more willing to put them on. Assuming of course the site actually works well, and becomes popular.
other_peoples_money / October 2, 2012 at 02:35 pm
another crash and burn start-up. i see two problems;

1. how do you pronounce the freaking name? why not simplify it like PTic or Peetik. golden rule of startup names use 2 syllables.

2. if you need to watch a 15 minute video on using an app, before using it then it's an instant FAIL.

honestly, how is this idea going to make a dime. when you're screwing customers on taking all the risk instead of promoters. i certainly wouldn't want to buy tickets for an event that might be cancelled. this idea is so laughable.
what_risk replying to a comment from other_peoples_money / October 2, 2012 at 03:15 pm
I'm failing to find the risk to buyers.
Says right there under the third question:

"If the preset number of tickets are not sold, funds are returned in full to buyers."
MrsPotato / October 2, 2012 at 03:24 pm
i completely agree with OPM.

Monks / October 2, 2012 at 03:57 pm
Cool concept! well written article too! I agree with WR
Mcfly / October 2, 2012 at 05:02 pm
I'm building a Time Machine but can only start if I get enough funds. Buy your ticket to ride now! Don't worry money back guaranteed* if I don't have enough interest.

* administration fees, credit card interest, 3rd-party payment processor fees, applicable taxes are non-refundable. refunds may take 8 weeks to process.
Simon replying to a comment from other_peoples_money / October 3, 2012 at 12:46 am
What don't you get about the name Picatic?


Get it?


Seems pretty straight forward... at least you were able to recognize the actual problems with this start up.
Miles replying to a comment from other_peoples_money / November 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm
I don't think you understand the crowd-funding aspect here. Customers do not risk anything. The promoter only risks their time in attempting to get it set up.

Have you used Kickstarter before? The premise is the same. If the promoter doesn't sell X tickets by a certain date, then the event does not happen, and all the customers get refunded. So you risk nothing by buying a ticket.

Read a little before you mash your keyboard.
global replying to a comment from other_peoples_money / December 28, 2012 at 01:14 pm
Agreed, I see this site failing hard. The traction is going to be very very slow and they've been in business for 2 years already.
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