Square Inc. struck an agreement to process payments for ticketing service Eventbrite and made a strategic investment in the startup, part of the digital-payments company’s push into online commerce, an area dominated by larger players like PayPal Holdings Inc.
San Francisco-based Square invested $25 million in Eventbrite, which lets event organizers sell tickets and promote and manage events. Eventbrite, whose customers include the Tribeca Film Festival and Maker Faire, said it processes 2 million to 3 million tickets each week and expects to facilitate more than $4 billion in gross ticket sales this year. Square will handle Eventbrite’s online, mobile and in-person payments for countries where Square does business.
Square’s stock has more than doubled in the past year as investors gain confidence in its long-term growth path. The shares were up less than 1 percent to $28.21 at 11:56 a.m. in New York Thursday. When the company was co-founded by Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, who also runs Twitter Inc., it focused on selling smartphone plug-ins that helped individuals, food trucks and farm-stand vendors accept credit cards.
Since then, the company has gained ground with bigger merchants with its all-in-one offering, freeing them from having to stitch together services from different vendors. With Square, Eventbrite’s users can analyze sales data from a single platform, whether they’re selling tickets online or merchandise at an event. Currently, event planners mostly process payments through Eventbrite’s own system. Square will become the primary provider for online and mobile payments and in-person transactions within that system in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. PayPal will still be available for online payments.
"Online is a natural extension of Square because its offline retail clients are online also," said David Ritter, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. "Everyone is competing in everyone’s territory now. If you’re online you’re dipping in offline and vice versa."
Eventbrite, also based in San Francisco, raised $60 million in 2014 at a $1.2 billion valuation, according to PitchBook Data Inc. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and T. Rowe Price.