Of the various digital ticketing startups and platforms operating in Brazil, few have become as well-known as Sympla. After two years of the pandemic, however, the “sister to the I feed(both belong to the group movement) is different: while the return of concerts, parties and plays brightens up the company, its business models have evolved and go beyond face-to-face events.
Founded in Belo Horizonte 10 years ago, Sympla has always focused on selling digital tickets for in-person events: it has become common to present the smartphone with the QR code on the screen. With the entertainment industry paralyzed, the company knew it needed to adapt and started investing in the development of new digital tools. In other words, even a startup had to learn to be more digital because of social isolation.
“We entered the pandemic with a business sector. Today, we are coming out with three: in-person event tickets, digital event tickets, and on-demand events, which allow classes and distance learning,” he tells the Stadium Tereza Santos, Executive President of Sympla.
Ticket startup Sympla is betting on in-person, digital and hybrid formats in the post-pandemic era
Along with this, the company also has a streaming platform for plays and shows, which can be streamed live or pre-recorded. In addition, the company has developed specific solutions for resuming face-to-face events, such as an automatic system to determine the distance in assigned seats.
Adaptations were necessary, as the competition for the sector in Brazil is intense, with traditional names in the sector, such as Time for Fun. According to the Brazilian Association of Startups (ABStartups), there are around 240 technology companies in the field of events and tourism in the country, a share that is increasing year by year. There are also globally significant startups here, such as Germany’s Eventim and France’s Shotgun. Finally, booming national names like Ingresse, Eventbrite and Even3 are fueling the controversy.
For Gilberto Sarfati, professor at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), entering new business models during the pandemic has had the effect not only of generating liquidity to weather the turbulent period, but also of broadening the fronts of the crisis. action for a possible recovery. .
“Today there are several possible experiences in the events after the pandemic. it is a market immensely bigger than before,” he observes, pointing out that Movile’s performance can help propel the Minas Gerais startup. “Sympla ended up creating a huge business model on all three fronts.”
Commissioned by Tereza Silva, Sympla has seen the business grow amid the pandemic by uniting face-to-face, digital and hybrid formats
Face to face is good too
Despite the changes, Tereza admits: “Between us, the face-to-face format is one thing and the digital format is another. Of course, the face to face remains our flagship. With three years in the business and eight years of experience in the events industry, she has reason to be optimistic.
Since September 2021, when the reopening began in Brazil with the advance of vaccination, Sympla claims to be breaking records month after month. On New Year’s Eve 2022, for example, it exceeded sales by 80% compared to the same evening from 2019 to 2020, just before the arrival of covid-19. In the summer of this year, more than 8 million tickets were issued – in February, during the “Carnival away from the streets”, it was very common to find closed events on the platform.
Today, the startup has 130,000 customers, compared to 100,000 in November 2020 – however, it does not give details of the financial operation. It is not possible to know, for example, the size of the investments that Movile makes in the company. In the words of Tereza, growth in numbers is expected.
In addition to the success of the covid vaccination, the year 2022 brings several dates considered positive for the calendar of events: off-season carnivals, music festivals and tours resuming their activities, extended holidays and, of course, the World Cup. “It’s very favorable for us,” says the executive.
With one foot in the digital and the other in the physical world, Sympla is evolving towards a model of flexibility, in which event organizers can choose different formats according to their needs.
Today, the same show can be performed in person, with digital tickets presented at the door, and streamed live to home users. For an additional fee, home audiences can watch the performance from behind the scenes. “These are complementary experiences. We can offer unprecedented content compared to face-to-face,” says Tereza.
Now the company is working on improving the platform’s event recommendation algorithm – the goal is to make it the weekend agenda. Additionally, the company is talking about redesigning the app, improving the consumer’s browsing experience, and implementing new forms of payment from Pix.
Like other startups, Sympla plans to expand internationally, thanks to the small push of digital formats. However, this movement should only occur after the consolidation in Brazil, “where there are still a lot of opportunities”, specifies the CEO.
Finally, she also dreams of seeing the company achieve “unicorn” status (market valuation above $1 billion), just like its “brother” iFood. But according to Tereza, this should be a consequence of the company’s achievements, not a goal. “We need focus.”
Leandro Reinaux is the founder and CEO of Even3, a startup for scientific and corporate events
More ‘head’, the Even3 startup targets scientific events
It’s not just entertainment events that startups in the field experience in Brazil. the Recife Pair3, born in 2016, focuses on the corporate and scientific sectors, such as academic congresses. The segment was also affected by the covid-19 pandemic, which forced digitization as early as 2020.
“We had to adapt very quickly, with new alternatives and customer support,” explains Leandro Reinaux, founder and CEO of Even3. During the period, the company’s platform adapted “real-world” solutions to digital, such as an evaluator panel and conference recording.
With the adaptation, she increased the team from 20 to 60 people and, above all, saw the clientele expand to other regions of Brazil: “Online breaks down all barriers.