Friday, March 30, 2007

Business project 4

Jeff Fluhr, 32
San Francisco
Projected 2006 Sales: More than $200 million
Description: A secure online marketplace for the resale of live event tickets

That’s the Ticket: A void in the market for a reliable, one-stop shop in the secondary ticket market prompted Jeff Fluhr and a former partner to start StubHub in 2000. “We felt there were a lot of problems with the options that were available for fans,” says Fluhr, who wanted to transform secondary ticket sales from back-alley deals into secure transactions. So he pioneered a system that allows sellers to list tickets at for a 15 percent transaction fee, and buyers to purchase tickets for a 10 percent transaction fee--guaranteeing the safety of the transaction for both parties. “We provide an escrow-type service,” notes Fluhr.

Safety Dance: Security is the number-one priority for StubHub. The system allows sales only after both buyers’ and sellers’ credit cards are fully vetted, leaving nothing to chance. StubHub also has a direct partnership with FedEx to generate the shipping labels for sellers, so the company can monitor delivery at every step.

Teaming Up: While the core of the business is based on peer-to-peer sales, Fluhr has found it helpful to build partnerships with venues and teams nationwide, including the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Such alliances help market StubHub’s services to season-ticket holders who might want to unload a few tickets during the season.

Fan Focus: Constantly improving StubHub’s customer service is key for Fluhr, who is also a fan of the music, theater, comedy and sporting events that are his company’s bread and butter. In fact, a phenomenal Rolling Stones concert at Madison Square Garden was one of his most memorable “product testing” outings. And Fluhr’s not just trying to win fans on the spectator side of the stage--while starting his business, he recalls working to convince “old-school businesspeople in the music industry that the secondary market is a huge opportunity for them, not a threat.” Fluhr admits it’s an ongoing challenge for StubHub.

Follow His Lead: Give your customers peace of mind while providing a valuable service in a specialized niche


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