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Volume 7 No. 128
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Hangin' With ... TicketGuardian Founder & CEO Bryan Derbyshire

Bryan Derbyshire founded TicketGuardian in Jan. '16.
Photo: TICKETGUARDIAN

BRYAN DERBYSHIRE is the founder and CEO of insurtech company TicketGuardian. The brand provides technology for ticketing platforms and event organizers that offers real-time data concerning revenue, inventory and customer engagement, while also providing consumer protection. Derbyshire launched TicketGuardian in Jan. '16. The company now employs 33 individuals and recently completed an $8M funding round that will help it expand internationally. This week, it received the Bronze Award for North American Insurtech company of the year at the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards. Derbyshire spoke with SBD Global about how TG is beneficial for both sides of a transaction, its recent funding round and plans for int'l expansion.

On how the company operates ...
Bryan Derbyshire: We're a B2B2C company, essentially. To the end consumer, we're an insurance policy. So, to the end attendee sitting in the seat, they're buying our protection to have peace of mind that if something comes up and stops them from being able to make it, we will be able to offer them the opportunity to get their money back. For the B2C side, it is relatively straightforward. But really where we differentiate ourselves from everybody else is around what we offer to the B2B platforms, which is potentially inventory control, proactive customer service and fan engagement by utilizing our data.

On TG's value ...
Derbyshire: It's giving choice and control in the live event space back to the people who the entire industry was built for. On the team or venue side, we're giving control to be able to use real-time data and real-time understanding of what's going on with the end attendees. On the flip side, for the attendee, we're giving them the option that in today's non-refundable space that is live events, that they should have an option -- just like they do when they buy anything else online -- to have protection.

On how TG generates revenue ...
Derbyshire: We make [our money] off of the insurance piece. The nice thing about us compared to traditional insurance companies is that since we're a technology company selling insurance versus a carrier trying to play in a technological world, we don't have to have the same return margins that traditional carriers have been providing their shareholders for decades. We're OK making a smaller amount per policy and just doing 10 times the policies because we're pricing it for the consumer.

On the company's breadth ...
Derbyshire: We have a couple of flags we fly under. TicketGuardian is the core name and really the name of our B2B side as far as technology goes. ... That said, because it's an insurance product, we have to have a fully-insured entity that is wholly-owned by TicketGuardian, which is FanShield. FanShield is the brand that you as the consumer would see inside of the checkout flow when you go to buy your ticket because it's a FanShield policy. ... It is one and the same.

On the recently-completed $8M funding round ...
Derbyshire: We decided from a strategic side, it made the most sense for us -- because our background has always been technology solutions -- to partner with someone with a strong insurance base. So we partnered with American Family Ventures, who was the lead investor on this round. The remaining groups of our investment come from IA Capital, who represent some major insurance players, as well as our actual insurance provider, Markel. ... The reaffirmation for us is that the large, old-school, traditional carriers see the value in what we're doing and we're kind of creating our own niche market.

On plans for a European office ...
Derbyshire: I'm getting some of the bank accounts and the situation set up in Dublin. We're probably not going to be hiring in this office until early 2019. But we're getting all the infrastructure set up here in Ireland because we don't know what's going on with Brexit and all the other chaos. So Ireland checks a lot of boxes.

On nascent efforts to expand abroad ...
Derbyshire: We already have a partnership with CSM [in the U.S.], so we're looking to expand that internationally. Obviously, working with an agency of that size brings a lot to the table, as they already have a foothold internationally to be able to get direct inroads in.

On the similarities between appealing to domestic and int'l consumers ...
Derbyshire: The fans are the same fans across the board. At the end of the day, people go to these live events, go to these sporting events to find camaraderie, to find a piece of worth or meaning. They do it for entertainment and to relax and take them outside of the daily grind. That same value that we've seen in the United States, where we're protecting something that's such a passion for people, like their sporting teams or their sporting events, runs constant across the human race from what we've seen. So it doesn't matter what language they're speaking or what country they reside in; the passion and what matters to them is very similar. It's just the ball shape is a little bit different. So the value we offer as far as peace of mind to that experience runs the same throughout everywhere we've gone.

Hangin' With runs every Friday in SBD Global.