Industry News

Dragons’ Den startup TickX launches ChatBot

TickX, the event ticketing search engine startup, has today (Thursday) launched a first-of-its-kind event ChatBot through Facebook Messenger.

The start-up, which famously turned down three offers on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, has since partnered with leading ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster, Skiddle and StubHub. The search engine pulls in information from more than 75,000 events from more than 35 ticket sellers into one feed.

TickX has now developed a ChatBot that allows Facebook Messenger users to ask complex questions while receiving immediate and specific answers.

A user could type, “when is the cheapest ticket to see The Lion King in July?” and the ChatBot will respond with an answer and links for customers to compare and buy tickets.

Here’s a video of the TickX ChatBot in action:

Co-founder and chief executive of TickX, Steve Pearce, told The Ticketing Business that the ChatBot makes it quicker and easier for customers to find exactly what they are looking for.

“Millions of people spend hours on Facebook Messenger each day,” Pearce said, “so now they can click straight into TickX in one click. No apps to download, no need to open a website.”

Pearce added: “At TickX we want to lead innovation in the event market and we see massive potential in integrating directly into messaging platforms where there are already millions of users.

“Creating a Facebook ChatBot was our first step towards this goal by combining our powerful event data with Artificial Intelligence.”

The development of the ChatBot has been led by 18-year-old developer Aayush Chadha, a multi-hack-a-thon winner who studies Artificial Intelligence at the University of Manchester.

Sam Coley, TickX co-founder and chief technology officer, told The Ticketing Business: “Aayush approached us not long after arriving in the UK from Mumbai, and we were blown away by his technical knowledge, project experience and passion for building great products.”

Pearce said that the Messenger bot is the initial phase for making it easier for customers to search events and compare tickets. He said that while continuing to improve upon the Facebook application over the next few months, TickX will also be rolling out voice-based assistances, such as Amazon Alexa.

TickX was hailed as “the Uber of events” by multi-millionaire investor Peter Jones from the Dragons’ Den on the popular BBC investment programme, before the young founders turned down three offers from the Dragons.

TickX, which is now backed by music industry giants Ministry of Sound, was offered £75,000 (€86,000/$96,000) on the Dragons’ Den, but has since raised more than 10 times that from angel investors, in addition to growing revenues by 40 per cent month-on-month.

Following the programme, Pearce said: “Entering the Dragons’ Den was the most daunting but brilliant experience. We appreciated the offers from the three Dragons but stuck to our guns as we felt they undervalued our company.”

Image: TickX