Alan Vey and Annika Monari are the founders of blockchain ticketing platform Aventus Protocol, a new solution for the ticketing industry to combat uncontrolled resale and counterfeit tickets. Here, they tell SME about their company
Annika We created the Aventus Protocol to combat counterfeit ticketing and uncontrolled resale in secondary ticketing markets. It’s an open standard for ticketing based on the blockchain: a secure technology solution that enables controls over the secondary market, provide ticket transaction security, and allow artists and managers to enforce fair ticketing for fans.
Alan In simple terms the Aventus Protocol works by enabling the creation of unique secure tickets on the blockchain where the business rules associated with the tickets, for example, transfer and resale rights, can be controlled throughout the life of each ticket. The aspiration of the Aventus Protocol Foundation is to provide a standard that any event organiser, venue, club, or ticketing company can adapt to significantly reduce and in many cases, totally eradicate fraudulent tickets.
How did you go about development?
Annika We started to research the media and entertainment industry and explore how we could utilize blockchain technology to solve its challenges. It became obvious that there was a clear need in the ticketing industry to improve trust, security, and efficiency for fans. After meeting at Imperial College London where we were both studying, we would sit in a basement room for 16 hours a day, researching, designing, learning, talking to people, being shot down and the outcome of that was Aventus Protocol.
How did you end up where you are today?
Alan We raised 60,000 ETH (the equivalent of £26million) from our Initial Coin Offering with 1,300 people investing in just seven minutes. We then started building the business, to our current 25 employees, based on Fleet Street in London. An Alpha version of the Protocol was released in July 2017 for community review and comment, and the full version was made available to the public in May 2018.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Alan We haven’t done this before, so some people think we have no idea because we’re young, or try to take us for a ride. We’ve publicly raised a lot of money, so certain people look at us like a piggy bank. We’ve tried to address this by hiring a senior and experienced management team with a background in the entertainment industry, who can bring that gravitas to the table.
Annika It’s hard to hire the right people. There are two types of people we look for: really driven, vibrant, hungry, perhaps less experienced but want to make a difference and to learn. Then the heavy-hitting industry experts, who will bring that expertise and perform at a high level, bringing real ROI.
What advice would you give to other start-ups that have just started their journey
Annika Open yourself up, make partnerships, look for joint ventures and try to democratise what you’re doing. As with any industry, work hard, stay motivated, be willing to succeed and learn from your mistakes.