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Ticketer

Leading smart bus ticketing provider

Partnership origins

Founded in 2010 with a vision to revolutionise ticketing through cloud technology, Ticketer has emerged as a UK market leader in cutting-edge electronic ticketing solutions. The company’s innovative approach allows passengers to leverage the latest payment technologies while simultaneously furnishing bus operators with invaluable real-time performance insights. Notable clients include First Bus, Arriva, and Go-Ahead.

As the driving force behind Ticketer’s mission to become “bigger and better,” the Founder navigated the company to an enviable 70% market share. However, at a crucial juncture, the business faced a decision point—it aspired for more aggressive growth. Balancing the desire for successful scaling with the determination to preserve the startup dynamism that defined Ticketer as a market challenger became a strategic challenge.

Enter private equity, and in particular, Tenzing—a partnership that marked a pivotal moment in Ticketer’s trajectory.

Why Ticketer chose Tenzing

Ticketer’s Founder had not encountered Tenzing previously, but a serendipitous last-minute meeting just before heading to Majorca for a holiday resulted in an immediate and undeniable chemistry that solidified the partnership.

Adding a touch of humour to the narrative, the Founder’s wife playfully suggested an alternative reason for the alignment with Tenzing: “She says it’s because they were the only ones who laughed at my jokes.”

Within just 10 minutes of engaging with Tenzing, the Founder swiftly concluded that this was the team he wanted to collaborate with. Recognising that a significant portion of the business he’d built hinged on emotion, feelings, and trust, he intuitively felt that Tenzing truly understood Ticketer’s ethos.

Motivation for investment

While a trade sale initially garnered interest from certain Ticketer shareholders, the Founder’s primary motivation was to discover a path to growth that aligned seamlessly with Ticketer’s core values.
As the driving force behind the initial stage of the Ticketer journey—a phase that successfully propelled it into orbit—the Founder recognised the necessity for the next stage of growth. Personally averse to a trade sale, he expressed concerns about the potential challenge of preserving Ticketer’s unique culture under the stewardship of trade buyers.

In contrast, Tenzing resonated with Ticketer’s vision. Opting for private equity allowed Ticketer the autonomy to pursue its goals without compromising its distinctive approach. The alignment of values and the understanding demonstrated by Tenzing made private equity the preferred avenue, enabling Ticketer to chart its course without compromising its fundamental ethos.

How have we helped Ticketer since investing?

Since Tenzing’s investment, Ticketer has experienced a comprehensive transformation marked by strategic initiatives that have propelled the company to new heights. Following a seamless Founder transition, Tenzing played a supporting role in appointing a new CEO, ensuring continuity and driving the company forward with fresh perspectives. The build-out of Ticketer’s C-Suite, coupled with the introduction of Richard Blackburn-Hughes as Sherpa—subsequently promoted to Chief Commercial Officer—has infused the leadership team with dynamic expertise.

This collaborative approach has translated into tangible successes, with Ticketer expanding its market share to an impressive 75%. The partnership has not only prioritised growth but also innovation, evident in the company’s strides in new product development. Additionally, the strategic acquisition of FARA, a Nordics-based entity, stands out as a transformative move, underscoring Tenzing’s commitment to propelling Ticketer into new dimensions of success.

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