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Eventbrite just made some pricing changes as it moves toward an IPO

Reaching event organizers to help them sell tickets isn’t cheap. Eventbrite — the 12-year-old, San Francisco-based ticketing company that announced plans last week to go public and sell $200 million worth of shares on the NYSE — has been losing money since 2016, posting losses of $40.4 million in 2016, $38.5 million for 2017 and $15.6 million so far this year. Now the company is trying to make up for some of those losses by announcing a new pricing scheme. Today, it sent customers a note explaining that for those using its “Essentials” package (unlike its “Professional” package, whose bells and whistles include customer support, customer questions for attendees and more), reduced prices are coming for many. Specifically, payment processing fees are dropping from 3 percent to 2.5 percent. Fees for tickets are falling from .99 cents to .70 cents. The moves don’t really mean that Eventbrite is charging less. In fact, instead of charging one percent of every ticket price as a service fee, Eventbrite will now take a 2 percent cut, which should add up for organizers that use the service for bigger events. It’s also removing a service fee cap of $19.99 that it used to institute no matter how much an event organizer was charging. Asked about the pricing changes, a spokesperson sent us a fairly bland statement: “At Eventbrite we have always been committed to enabling event creators to deliver a diverse range of live experiences by offering a superior product at a fair price. The changes we announced today will mean lower ticket fees for the vast majority of our creators, and the millions of people that attend the events they plan, promote and produce each year. We succeed when our creators succeed and this change is indicative of a focus on ensuring we make the best decisions for the majority of our customers.” It isn’t surprising that Eventbrite is looking for ways to fight rising acquisition costs owing to the competition it faces from all corners. In addition to platforms for smaller get-togethers like Paperless Post and competition for bigger events like Ticketmaster…

A new unicorn is born: Root Insurance raises $100 million for a $1 billion valuation

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurance startup with a tech twist, said Wednesday it has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Tiger Global Management, pushing the company’s valuation to $1 billion.  Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Scale Venture Partners all participated as follow-on investors in this latest round. The car insurance company, founded in 2015, plans to use the funds to expand into existing markets and make inroads into new states, as well as hire more employees such as engineers, actuaries, claims and customer service to support increased scale.  Root provides car insurance to drivers. Not exactly a new concept. But it establishes the premium customers based on their driving along with other factors. Drivers download the app and take a test drive that typically lasts two or three weeks. Then Root provides a quote that rewards good driving behavior and allows customers to switch their insurance policy. Customers can purchase and manage their policy through the mobile phone Root app. Root says its approach allows good drivers to save more than 50 percent on their policies compared to traditional insurance carriers. The company uses AI algorithms to adjust risk and sometimes provide discounts. For example, a vehicle with an advanced driver assistance system that it deems improves safety might receive further discounts. “Root Insurance is leading digital innovation in U.S. auto insurance,” Lee Fixel, a partner at Tiger Global Management said in a statement. “This industry is ripe for change, and we are excited to invest in a team that has the expertise, vision, and momentum to deliver real results. We look forward to growing our partnership with Root and helping them expand their footprint across the United States.” The company has grown from its home market of Ohio into 20 other states in the past two years. The company plans to expand to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2019. Drive Capital and Silicon Valley Bank are also investors in the company.

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