12 Jul 2017 | 10.40 am
Ticketing Startup Coras Gets €200k EI Investment
Atlantic Bridge and U2’s The Edge also backing the firm
12 Jul 2017 | 10.40 am
Ticketing startup Coras has received a €200,000 cash injection from Enterprise Ireland, a couple of months after the venture officially launched.
Co-founder Mark McLaughlin describes Coras as “a Nasdaq for tickets”. McLaughlin is the son of Kyran McLaughlin, deputy chairman of Davy Stockbrokers.
He previously founded Ticket ABC in 2016, a white label ticketing and venue management solution, and raised €4.2m for that venture. Accumulated losses at the end of 2015 amounted to €5.1m. McLaughlin says that Ticket ABC will continue to operate separately, but his focus is now on Coras.
Coras started as a side project that developed slowly. Its inspiration is that perishable inventory products such as flights, hotel rooms and car hire have all moved towards a model of multiple distributors selling pooled inventory using API integration. “Event tickets are not usually available to multiple providers and we’re trying to build a global distribution system for ticketing,” says McLaughlin.
“If the ticket inventory is available in real time to multiple sellers using a product like Coras, it means customers don’t just have to go to one site like Ticketmaster to buy tickets, where they’re competing with bots.”
Operating company Corasdotio Ltd was established in 2015 and Atlantic Bridge invested €800,000 in November 2016, along with UK investor Hambro Perks, which parted with €200,000. The company rounded up an additional €500,000 from other investors, with U2’s ‘The Edge’ (David Howell Evans) among its backers.
McLaughlin completed a Master’s degree in marketing practice in UCD’s Smurfit Business School in 2000 and then went to work for Goldman Sachs in London as a tech analyst. He moved on to a role with Bank of Ireland in London before setting up Ticket ABC, with was initially called Ticket Text.
“The idea of having tickets sent to your mobile phone was novel at the time,” McLaughlin explains. “But we underestimated the capital requirements to build a consumer brand. As we were building Ticket Text, we noticed that the quality of ticketing software in the marketplace was poor. We had a network of clients but the wrong product.
“We figured that out about nine months after launching Ticket Text. We had to realign completely from being a consumer brand to being a technology company, a white label software company to power the venues and promoters we worked with.”
McLaughlin and co-founder James Bailey refashioned Ticket Text as Ticket ABC, relaunching in 2009. “With Ticket Text we raised a chunky amount of money; in 2006 it was the peak of craziness in Ireland,” McLaughlin recalls. “For Ticket ABC we had to bootstrap initially. People worked for free or for equity until we secured a small amount of investment to kick it off.”
The Coras founders also have tech sector veteran Chris Horn on the company board to turn to for advice. “He has a wealth of experience and most of the challenges that you encounter when you are trying to build a product have been encountered by other entrepreneurs before you. There’s no point in thinking you can figure out everything yourself,” McLaughlin says.
Coras is based in Dublin and has an employee working in London, as well as software developers in Poland. “It’s difficult enough to hire software developers in Ireland,” says McLaughlin. “There are loads of smart developers and product managers here but they’re very expensive. Poland is by no means a cheap location for tech staff but the quality of the people you get for the cost is phenomenal.”