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UI alumni brothers start online ticketing service with collegiate focus

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Posted: Monday, November 14, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 1:34 pm, Thu Oct 18, 2012.

Not even two years out of college and already the founders of a successful website; Ashton and Ryan Clark have jump started their career with an idea that began during their time here at the University. Ryan and Ashton, twin brothers who graduated in 2010 with degrees in accounting, saw a problem with the way students buy tickets for events on college campuses and decided to use this problem to their advantage.

“There was a fundamental problem across the campus,” Ashton said. “There was no online ticketing service that was college-oriented.”

For most events on campus, tickets are sold in person, on the Quad or at the Illini Union.

“We thought the problem was that this was a lot of work,” Ashton said. “What if you had a test during that time? We thought this didn’t make any sense.”

Ryan also recognized this problem, seeing that students might not buy tickets sometimes due to a difficulty of getting to a booth and paying for them.

“What if it starts raining or snowing?” he said. “Are people going to be inclined to meet up on the Quad to buy a ticket during a snowstorm? We didn’t think so.”

The brothers first thought of the idea for the site during their junior year.

“We have almost 40,000 students at the University of Illinois purchasing tickets to all kinds of events, it was a manual process,” Ashton said. “We thought, why don’t we turn it into an online process? Instead of having to meet somebody at the Illini Union or on the Quad somewhere, why not have a website, a simple website, that lists all of the details that are relevant to your specific event.”

Their solution: "Uticketit.com":www.Uticketit.com, an online ticketing website geared toward college campuses. The website is used for both buying and selling tickets. Students can log on to create their event, include all of the event details, set the ticket price and select any other features like ticket price bundling, discounts or presale deals.

The Clark brothers first launched Uticketit.com right after graduation, and today, it is being used by groups across the University campus, including the Indian Student Association. Karan Talati, external vice president of the club and junior in Engineering, first used Uticketit.com while planning the association’s annual spring Indian Night event. He realized how useful an online ticketing system was after selling 149 tickets online.

Talati felt the website made the whole event planning process run smoother.

“It was really cool how we could bundle things up on the website,” he said. “It was convenient that we could time certain ticket sales, like pre-ticket sales and day-of ticket sales. It automatically changes the prices on the day which was also really convenient.”

Not only did the website work well, but having Ryan and Ashton working alongside the group also proved to be useful.

“Actually working with them was cool because any problems we ran into, we called them up and it was fixed immediately,” he said.

Using Uticketit.com made accepting payments easy for Talati, something that Ryan and Ashton had in mind when creating their company.

“Post payment was really easy, I just gave him our account number and they just wired it right over,” said Talati. “There are some other online ticket sales things out there but they add on that extra charge. These guys were nice to us, nice about the fee and overall we saw a good amount of ticket sales online.”

While Talati also used in-person ticket sales in addition to Uticketit.com, he knows that the online sales helped boost the event’s participation numbers.

“It brought the number up — especially on the day of (the event) because people coming from out of town bought it quickly online,” he said. “Even if it means 20 or 30 more people came because they had that online option, that adds up.”

With their website established on the University campus, Ryan and Ashton are now looking to market it across the country to more college campuses and hope to create an even better website.

“Startup companies take a lot of work, and we’re not programmers,” said Ryan. “That was the void we were missing. We’ve been able to create a system, but now we’re looking for somebody to join our team and take it to the next level.”

While they have a lot of work ahead of them, the Clark brothers are up to the challenge.

“We’re going as far as we can,” said Ryan. “Entrepreneurship is all about execution.”

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