Lyte, the San Francisco-based ticket exchange, has secured $15m (£12.3m/€13.7m) in Series A financing, which will be used to drive development of the platform and scale operations.

Lyte’s partners, which include Coachella, BottleRock Napa Valley, Newport Folk Festival, and Mumford & Sons, offer fans the opportunity to return unwanted tickets, plus fees, to the original point of purchase for an immediate refund.

Resale prices are determined by an algorithm that monitors other websites and by stakeholders themselves. Resale money is divided between Lyte and the stakeholders, such as venues, promoters and artists.

Lyte has been integrated into top primary ticketing companies including AEG’s Elevate, Live Nation’s Front Gate and Eventbrite, along with their Ticketfly subsidiary. As a platform, Lyte – founded in 2013 – claims 60 per cent of the $13bn secondary market for the events it powers.

“We made a foundational bet we could build a platform and marketplace that included and benefited all of the folks with financial and emotional investment in this industry – rights holders, talent, enterprise ticketing companies as well as fans,” said Lyte chief executive Ant Taylor.

“This raise is a validation of that bet. It’s a win for our partners and the future of the live events ecosystem. This important company milestone is just the beginning and our clients and partners know it. We are creating a category that will challenge and overtake the incumbent secondary ticketing model. That is super exciting.”

Jackson Square Ventures was joined by Industry Ventures, Accomplice Ventures, Coelius Capital and Correlation Ventures to close Lyte’s latest funding round.

“Lyte has an amazing opportunity to radically improve the customer experience in a sector that has seen fundamentally little innovation over the last decade,” said serial marketplace entrepreneur, Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of Hired, 99 Designs and Flippa. “Their marketplace is both reducing risk and redefining the fan experience in a way that actually grows the overall market.”

Lyte has seen explosive growth this year, matching its 2018 revenue by Q1 and growing reservations booked on the platform to $78m year-to-date, up five-fold from a year ago.

Lyte has partnered with more than 50 major music, food and wine and pop culture festival partners across the country, in addition to 300 music venues and touring artists. It has now set their sights on new adjacent verticals in sports and entertainment and non-US markets.

Josh Breinlinger, Jackson Square Ventures partner and Lyte board member, added: “Lyte is the first marketplace of its kind to utilise digital ticketing to fundamentally improve the fan experience.

“We’re excited about this investment because it has excellent marketplace characteristics: highly fragmented supply and demand, high repeat usage with different stakeholders, proprietary supply of tickets, improved experience through technology, and it’s all embedded in the payment flow.”

Image: OrnaW