Every time you list or buy a ticket to an event on Humanitix’s platform, you are helping educate a child. The social enterprise donates all its booking fees to children’s charities. It has given away over $2.5 million to its charity partners to date.
As the world emerges from COVID-19 and Humanitix scales up, so has its generosity. The company is now giving away at a rate of $3–$4 million a year. And donations are about to jump.
In January 2022, Humanitix opened for business in the United States with support from Austrade. The US – the world’s biggest ticketing market – has been quick to adopt the company’s easy-to-use, accessible platform. In just 12 months, Humanitix has gone from zero to 2,000 customers.
‘We are very interested in the potential of social enterprise and the power of business to pick up a larger responsibility for society,’ says Adam McCurdie, Humanitix’s co-founder. ‘Humanitix is a great opportunity to take a service that millions of people use and infuse it with social impact.’
Founded by school mates McCurdie and Joshua Ross, Humanitix is a ticketing platform. It allows individuals and organisations to design, list and collect bookings and payments for their event. The company sells up to 10 million tickets a year to concerts, festivals, fundraisers and more. Tech giants Atlassian, Canva and Google have supported the company’s evolution.
Humanitix works with the Atlassian Foundation to choose its charity partners. In Australia, they are Room to Read, who fund girls’ education in the developing world, and Yalari, who provide scholarships to Indigenous children. In New Zealand, it partners with the Manaiakalani Education Trust to support Māori, Pasifika and disadvantaged students.
‘The tech industry is by far the most profitable industry at the moment,’ says McCurdie. ‘There is a lot of potential for tech companies to make a social difference. Yet social enterprises are rare in our industry. We see Humanitix as an opportunity to take on the giants of Silicon Valley, change the ticketing game, and make a difference to the world.’
McCurdie believes Humanitix offers a compelling alternative to existing ticketing platforms.
‘Unlike other ticketing agencies, we don’t have sign-up fees or lock-in contracts,’ says McCurdie. ‘It’s free to trial our platform. Once people experience the difference, they often switch all their events to us. Our booking fees are typically 20–30% lower than other ticketing providers.’
Humanitix’s ticketing platform is also inclusive. While designing the system, the company discovered the top 2 issues facing people with a disability were social inclusion and community participation.
‘We designed our platform to make it accessible to people with a disability,’ says McCurdie. ‘For example, we partnered with Vision Australia to make sure it was compatible with screen readers. Events also include information about a venue’s accessibility features. These little things can make a huge difference to someone’s experience of the ticketing process and the event.’
With solid credentials in Australia, it was time to take its platform global. Humanitix launched in New Zealand in 2018 and Canada in 2021. Next up was the US, the world’s biggest ticketing market.
‘The similarities between Australia and the US meant our model and concept would work well in the US, with just minor tweaks,’ says McCurdie.
The US market has embraced Humanitix’s mix of functionality, ease of use, lower booking fees, and the opportunity to make a social impact. The company has gone from zero to 2,000 customers in the 12 months since it launched in January 2022. Its success will benefit its US charity partner Code.org, an education non-profit giving students opportunities to learn computer science.
Humanitix started exploring opportunities in the US in early 2020 with Austrade’s help.
‘Austrade is like a kind friend who really wants to help you,’ says McCurdie. ‘We received a lot of guidance from the team in our early planning stages. They introduced us to great contacts and valuable networking opportunities. We were in the US in the first weeks of the pandemic, so they ensured we had an office to work at in each new city we visited.’
McCurdie and Ross also took part in Austrade’s Landing Pads program in San Francisco in 2021. The program came highly recommended by other founders who had launched in the US market.
‘The program allowed us to network with other people in a similar situation to us,’ says McCurdie. ‘It showed us how to solve problems in a more efficient way when setting up in the US. We met people who shared resources and insights that helped us sharpen our US strategy. It made us feel less alone, knowing we could learn from other people who had solved the same challenges.’
Humanitix chose Denver, Colorado for its first US office. It has employed 10 staff since January 2022.
‘Our business is built on human touchpoints,’ says McCurdie. ‘We wanted a physical presence to connect with event hosts. Denver has enormous growth potential. The city’s officials and people have been wonderful. The Mayor and Governor of Colorado even tweeted welcomes for us!’
Humanitix’s export journey is just starting. The company will focus on growing its Canadian presence in 2023 and look to expand to the UK and Europe.
‘We see lots of growth as the world of events switches to Humanitix,’ says McCurdie. ‘Our platform will give more people with accessibility needs the opportunity to attend events. Best of all, we can redistribute millions of dollars from booking fees to children’s charities, which is phenomenal.’