Made effective on July 18th 2021, StageHQ is discontinuing all its services.
From 2009 to 2021, this service helped small and big events organizers under a simple value proposition: Stage help you to sell tickets online without hassle.
Creating and selling a SaaS in 2009 -especially for a company located in Southern EU- was a very different game to play to what anyone can expect nowadays, harder in most senses but a less saturated space than it is today. We, Linking Paths, came to the market with features on par with big players like Amiando or Eventbrite, companies with millions in funding, while being just a small team of 3.
On retrospective, it seems clear now that we made three big mistakes: pricing, funding model and mission. Any of them was enough to kill us but all together put us in a extremely difficult place to win.
As for the pricing we modelled it with fairness in mind to help organizers to create sustainable events:1 ticket = 1€ fee. We wanted people that were just selflessly helping and building communities to don't have to worry about money so if that was your case the fee was zero, nil. In hindsight, we think our intention was right and noble but this model forced us to play an unsustainable game of scale, a game we were ill-suited to win.
The funding model was a much bigger problem. If creating, providing and scaling a ticketing service was not difficult enough in itself, we decided from the very beginning to fund it most difficultly: bootstrapping it. So we will do projects for others: everything from social networks -do you remember those days?- to marketing websites to iPhone apps to well... anything. Again we think our heart was in the right place -we wanted to control our product- but this distracted us from focusing on improving the product itself since there was always a fire to extinguish on client or a new project to start.
But finally, the thing that killed Stage, in the long run, was the mission itself: we weren't passionate about event organizing. Sure we had run multiple conferences in the past -that was one of the reasons to create Stage in the beginning- but as time went by we felt we were not hardcore users of the service and were not even interested that much in ticketing.
So that's what went south.
We LOVED every minute of the experience. We provided a valuable service to universities, large tech confs -hi RubyConf!-, bootcamps, small entrepreneurs, family businesses, rescue teams(!), freelancers... you name it.
We sold millions of dollars in tickets. At large events, we will book hundreds of tickets per minute. We learned about the complex problem of providing reliable service in a space that creates massive traffic and demand in a matter of minutes.
Through tech support we came in contact with amazing people that were gracious enough to understand our problems and issues and learned the importance of having skin in the game and being in the front line when something didn't work.
We were able to play with the exciting new technical stuff -cloud hosting and S3 were fairly new then, can you imagine that?- and demonstrate we were able to deliver reliably a solution from conception to production.
In short, as Dickens said, it was the best of times; it was -occasionally-the worst of times, but we will do it all again without even blinking.
StageHQ story ends here. Thank you to every customer that bought a ticket, to every organizer that trusted us with their most precious thing, to every person that helped us travel this journey. You all made this worth it.