Des Moines Startup: Tikly Wants To Solve Ticket Shock, INTERVIEW

Des Moines Iowa startup Tikly wants to solve ticket shock. The startups 22 year old founder Emma Peterson experienced ticket shock first hand while touring for roughly a year with Iowa’s favorite American folk band, The Nadas. What she found while touring with them is that venues and artists feel ripped off and taken advantage of by the outrageous fees associated with the mainstream ticketing services (LiveNation/TicketMaster).  So rather than trying to design some new platform to game the TicketMaster system Peterson set out to create a whole new ticketing system.

Tikly is that system. Peterson tells us in the interview below, that her fee structure is centered around easy to understand, low-cost, flat rate fees. This is obviously something that artists, venues and fans will love.

We’ve seen a lot of ticketing apps proposed, like one being accelerated at the Brandery in Cincinnati. That team is hoping to provide a platform for small group ticket sales to sporting events. Another ticketing platform, was presented last week in Chattanooga at the GigTank demo day. They hope to take on Ticketmaster as well.

With a mission that rivals Eddie Veder’s campaign against TicketMaster in the 1990’s, Peterson is hoping that independent artists, and smaller venues will embrace Tikly and help her build scale for her ticketing startup. We think that by going to artists and small venues directly, rather than trying to rock the sports industry or game the concert market, Peterson has a more realistic plan for success.

Check out our interview with this young, innovative female entrepreneur from middle America below.

What is Tikly?

Tikly is a ticketing service that empowers artists, venues, & event organizers to provide a quality ticketing experience at no cost or contractual obligation. Tikly offers lower service fees*, allows for dynamic branding of sales pages, & places tickets back in the hands of the people who really put on the show.


*Fee structure is as follows:


– Tickets less than $10 add a flat $1


– Tickets more than $75 add a flat $7.50


– Everything in-between add 10%


– For tickets priced at less than $100, Tikly covers payment processing fees.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

22 year old founder & CEO. Graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Communication in May 2010. I graduated in just three years so I spent what should have been my senior year of college working in marketing for a video game company (Phantom EFX) & toured extensively with The Nadas, Iowa’s favorite Americana folk rock band. During that year I was exposed to the problems the ticketing industry creates for artist, venue, & event organizer – it’s more than excessive ticketing fees.

Brian Hemesath (CTO) is a serial entrepreneur with with a focus on technology. He built a local boutique development firm to 100+ clients before selling the business in 2010. Was a co-founder of a mobile marketing startup that helped small and large businesses send timely SMS messages, which was sold in 2012. He is currently growing two startups, VolunteerLocal and Tikly. He has a degree in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University.

Where are you based?

Tikly is based in Des Moines, Iowa on what has been deemed “Silicon Sixth Avenue”. Our offices are located in StartupCity Des Moines.

What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?

The startup culture is pretty incredible in the Silicon Prairie. You get the feeling that everyone truly believes we’re all in this together. On just 6th Avenue in downtown Des Moines, there are 25+ startups thriving.

How did you come up with the idea for Tikly?

I came up with the idea for Tikly after touring extensively with The Nadas for one year. Across the board, venue owners, bands, festival organizers, & fans were upset that the pre-Tikly ticketing options were so greedy, applying excessive fees to the ticket price.

Those 12 months proved to me that there was no good solution available. So, we built it.

What problem does Tikly solve?

I view artists, venue owners, & event organizers as entrepreneurs & their fans/patrons are their clients. Instead of acting as an overbearing third-party ticketing agency, it is our goal to do well by our clients & challenge the industry standards. Tikly is a tool to help improve the relationship between these entrepreneurs & their clients, the artist & the fan, etc.

We empower our clients and in turn, they have happier fans while making more money.

What’s your secret sauce?

A great attitude and a sincere desire to help people. Live events are important, we want to make them more fun for everyone.

What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?

Knowing when you don’t know. Luckily, with Tikly housed out of StartupCity & my fantastic network of connections to the industry—if I don’t know something, I probably know someone that does.

What’s the first thing you would do for Tikly with a one million dollar investment?

Plenty of thoughts on this one but the very first thing I would do is provide salaries to my incredible team members who work tirelessly on improving the ticketing industry.

What’s next for Tikly?

Grow. We have a fantastic roster of clients at this point. We’ve accomplished many goals & achieved some amount of success—so the next step is to make it even bigger.


Check out Tikly here at their website

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