Platforms in Perspective: Spektrix’s Plan B

How do you stand out in a crowded, competitive market of ticketing offers? Our first Platforms in Perspective feature takes a look into what could make the difference for arts and culture organisations, where profit-motives are often secondary to broader community, social and cultural goals…

From a double-digit increase in clients to a workforce wellbeing update and a three-year environmental plan, Spektrix’s latest B Corp Impact Report outlines its steps to be seen as a “purpose-driven organisation”.

This goal is very much Spektrix’ market differentiator for the next few years, as other platforms – notably 20-year incumbent Tessitura and the ‘new kid’ Tixly – join the pitch for both new and renewing clients.

Its latest published accounts (to Dec 2021) show a company with £9.2m turnover (up 28% on pandemic-impacted 2020) with a 13% YoY increase in clients on the platform (from 457-516). Headcount was little changed at 123 employees, with 71% of revenues derived from its UK base. Revenues from overseas – almost exclusively North America – rose from £1.955m to £2.574m.

The accounts noted that with the 2021 post-Covid reopening of the live sector its revenues had “increased back to almost 2019 levels” with 70 new clients and less than 2.6% churn.

The company posted a loss £533,000 in 2021, after profits of £1.99M the year before

The company posted a loss after taxation of £533,000 in 2021, after reporting net profits of £1.99M the year before.

The company retained a £4.7m cash position (down from £6.49m in 2020) but sufficient to provide “a healthy runway towards growth and profitability, with a sufficient buffer to see us through any economic downturn.”

Differentiation of Purpose

With cash in hand, London-headquartered Spektrix now wants to stand out from the crowd, and claim to be the only ticketing and CRM solution to be certified as a B Corporation. For reference, Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

Its client list grew by over 11% between 2022-23, from 582 to 649 organisations

In the two years since its certification, the latest B Corp impact report emphasises the message that Spektrix continues to measure its success beyond the usual financials.

During 2022-23, Spektrix saw its community of theatres, event spaces and arts centres grow by over 11%, from 582 to 649 organisations worldwide. North America is a key focus for its growth in the next 2-3 years and is where the B Corporation message may resonate most strongly.

“The clearest evidence of our value lies in organisations choosing to continue working with us, and new clients continuing to choose us as the supplier that best reflects their purpose and their needs,” the company said in its report.

The impact report also includes valuable business data, indicating the way the winds are blowing across the sector. Around 73% of all transactions now take place online, which is up from 56% just five years ago.

“Online sales create vital efficiencies for busy arts venue teams, and help them make best use of segmentation and personalisation tools in Spektrix,” it adds.

Servicing Clients

Spektrix is also backing subscriptions, linking to a case study from Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in Ohio. It understood its existing flexible subscriptions offering was complicated, so launched Ticket Subscriptions in February. It said: “We’re continuing to test and add to that solution over the year to come, helping our clients to inspire more frequent attendance and cross-genre discovery among audiences worldwide.”

In 2023-24 Spektrix has committed to assessing how it is servicing clients and what it can improve, as well as achieving the high-level ISO27001 certification for information security. It plans to measure the quality of integration on all its clients’ websites and is to launch a new, simple way for audiences to book tickets using Spektrix, even if organisations do not have the resource for a full website integration right away.

60% of Spektrix users do not use any Approved Partner solutions.

From a user interface perspective, it accepts the architecture of its system looked like a series of horizontal layers. It is now moving to a vertical architecture, which gives each engineering team their own area of ownership.

One standout observation is that 60% of Spektrix users do not use any Approved Partner solutions. Presumably these organisations are either happy with just the ‘out of the box’ functionality of Spektrix – or, perhaps more accurately – they have not either had the need or the resource to connect the platform up to other data flows or third party software?

Community, Team and Environment

When it achieved B Corp certification two years ago, Spektrix amended its governing documents to require consideration of community, team and environmental stakeholders in every business decision.

Its impact report considers workforce wellbeing, and figures collected from the monitoring of team sentiment and demographics are displayed. Some 83% of employees feel pride in and commitment to Spektrix, while 88% believe that their wellbeing is supported and prioritised.

In terms of environmental action, Spektrix has put in place a three-year plan, first to measure and understand its environmental impact and then to use its findings to design a strategy for reducing and minimising environmental damage on a long-term basis. By 2024, Spektrix has committed to defining its net zero strategy and setting measurable reduction and offsetting targets to work towards a net zero carbon score. In 2025 it will seek relevant accreditation to evidence its environmental accountability.

In summary, CEO and co-founder Michael Nabarro says: “In this B Impact Report, we share our story – how we inspire action and drive positive change within our own team and across the sector. Every day, I see colleagues living our values, challenging themselves to deliver greater impact, and exploring opportunities for collective improvement.”

He will be hoping the message from the latest Impact Report puts the purpose in front of prospective clients as the company looks to not only retain but also gain more clients across North America’s arts, culture and attractions landscape.