Eventbrite Australia Has A New MD, A Self-Described 'Customer Obsessive' Who Loves Melbourne's Coffee

A killer team, a customer obsession and innovative technology makes the backbone of Eventbrite, according its newly appointed Australian MD Rachael Neumann.

After launching on the Australian market in March, Eventbrite – a self-service ticketing platform developed in the US – has expanded rapidly in Australia’s live entertainment sector.

Generating $1.479 billion in revenue last year alone – that’s 17.93 million tickets – Australia’s booming live music industry has been at the heart of Eventbrite’s success in the local market.

“Australia has always represented 5% of total gross ticket sales and that was happening even before putting concerted effort in the region. So it’s exciting to see what happens when we actually get boots on the ground, build a team that is hyperlocal and dedicated, to serve Australia’s needs,” said Neumann.

The business has already represented over 115,000 events on its platform and has achieved over $100 million in gross ticket sales.

“Eventbrite can really help address a few pain points that traditional players haven’t yet tackled” in Australia, says Neumann, who was previously the head of customer experience strategy for Eventbrite US.

“Our products are super easy to use. It has tool sets that are robust enough for the most professional organiser to run an event but it is easy enough for my mum to use,” she told Business Insider.

“We have been very mindful in building a product so that a large organiser of 50,000 person events and small organisers of 10 persons can be successful on our platform,” which Neumann says “feeds the basic needs of all events anywhere in the world.”

With five in its Melbourne office already, and a sixth from the US on the way, Eventbrite isn’t building the biggest Aussie team but Neumann considers them to be the best.

“My number one priority is to build a killer team around me,” she said. “I think that as a leader when I bring the best people on to the team then it is my job to empower them to do what they do best, and make sure that I am there to support them, to help guide them and block a tackle where needed.”

It’s all about the customer

As a self-confessed customer-obsessive, Neumann says the key to Eventbrite’s success lies in its ability to be “customer focused and customer backed, and less focused on what the other people are doing. That’s when you are going to create a great product and a great experience.”

“We believe that incredible customer experience leads to loyalty, and loyalty unlocks loyalty economics. So customers stay longer, spend more and refer their friends.” Neumann says this means “you have the customers doing the marketing for you, and that’s exactly what’s been happening in Australia.”

Along with her experience in customer experience strategy, Neumann comes from an extended time working in Silicon Valley where she has been surrounded by the most creative and innovative tech startups in the world.

While she says Melbourne is still developing, it definitely has the foundations to become a world-leading hub for tech startups.

“There’s a real opportunity for Australia and for Melbourne to be able to build the tech scene, learning from more mature tech markets around the world to understand what it takes to be successful,” she said. Then comparing it to Silicon Valley, “I definitely see the entrepreneurial energy, the talent and the passion mirrored in Melbourne so I think it’s in a great position to build out this sector and I am very excited to be a part of it.”

This was one of the reasons Eventbrite chose Melbourne to host its Australian base.

Along with the fact that Victoria has some of the largest revenue and attendance numbers for live performance revenue in the country, compared to their share of Australia’s population, Neumann said the natural traction the business picked up in Melbourne made it an obvious choice.

“Melbourne just had a tremendous amount of live experiences and the people in Melbourne are very active in the types of experiences that we help to support. Whether that be food and wine festivals, courses and classes, ticketed tech conferences and meet ups. We stepped back and looked at our existing customers and there was a nice concentration in Melbourne.”

Neumann says Australians are increasingly using live experiences as a means of disconnecting from technology.

“Part of the reason why I think Australians, like so many people from around the world, like live events is because in many instances in our lives we are getting less and less connected,” she says.

“We communicate through technology, we are spending a lot of time with our smartphones and our computers, and so we believe that people crave live experiences because they miss these connections, human connections, where you come together through a shared passion and through something that is an ephemeral and live.”

Neumann is now just awaiting her visa application to cleared before she can join the team in Melbourne, which she hopes to be by the end of September.

Having lived and worked in Melbourne for five years, between 2009 and 2013, we asked Neumann what she was looking forward to most on her return Down Under.

Her answer: “Melbourne’s coffee.”

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