CEO Series

You Malas To Line Up For Football Tickets, This M'sian Startup Will Help You Score

  • Stubapp is an e-ticketing platform founded in 2015, with a focus on local Malaysian football matches, as well as some music events.
  • Stubapp was established to take away the need to line up and buy tickets for events/matches at physical counters, it works based on a QR Code system.

Football fans in Malaysia all face the same problem when they want to watch a football match: getting tickets.

Usually tickets to domestic football matches are only sold over the counter on the very same day the match will be played. Thus, fans would camp overnight just to get their hands on tickets.

For those unlucky ones, they would have to buy from ticket touts who charge more than the original price, sometimes double the price.

As a football fan himself, Faisal Karim wanted to combat this problem and came up with the idea of Stubapp at the end of 2014.

“I wanted to watch a local match at the stadium but wasn’t able to buy any ticket,” Faisal said. “At that time, the only way to buy local football tickets was through ticketing counters at the stadium, on match day only.”

“Because the match was a semifinal match (Kedah FA vs Pahang FA, Malaysia Cup), people were queuing up since the night before the ticket counters open.”

“Even after the ticket counters finally opened in the morning, it took hours for people to buy tickets due to limited ticket counters and long queues,” he added. “In the end, many of my friends including myself were unable to secure any tickets. This was the trigger point that led me to start Stubapp”.

Image Credit: Stubapp

Selecting The Team

The team behind Stubapp consists of Ridwan Rahman (CTO), Shahriman Sahib (Investor) and Faisal Karim (CEO). In2015, Ridwan and Faisal quit their full time jobs to focus on Stubapp and Shahriman helped to fund the company.

“We started everything with our own money, from savings and funds from Shahriman,” Faisal explained. “Football clubs do not have enough funds to own and manage their own ticketing system infrastructure (physical or digital), resulting in a lack of access or channel for fans to acquire tickets.”

This issue had led to a lower average attendance at stadiums. Faisal notes that although there are many reasons that causes a lower attendance rate, a lack of ticket purchase channels is one of them.

Kick Off

The Stubapp platform works in 3 simple steps.

  1. Register their Stubapp account through your email or Facebook.
  2. Choose the desired football match that you want to watch, as well as the ticket type and quantity.
  3. Choose your payment option–pay at 7-Eleven, online banking or even credit/debit card.

To get into the stadium, fans just have to scan a QR code at the stadium’s gate.

Stubapp’s platform and worker scanning QR Code

“It is completely paperless so lesser cost to the football club with a better barrier for fraud and ticket touting,” Faisal said. “So far, we have sold 130,000 football match tickets.”

He also added that most stadiums are located far away from fans homes so Stubapp saves them time and money to acquire tickets. And also, possibly cut down on the problem of ticket scalping that has become increasingly rampant over the years.

In terms of monetisation, Stubapp earns their revenue through charging a commission of 10-20% to football clubs for every ticket purchased by fans on Stubapp.

So far, they currently service five domestic football clubs: Kedah FA, Perak FA, Kuala Lumpur FA, Terengganu FC and Kelantan FA.

Tackling The Market

“We are focusing on local football matches because personally I think it is the hardest thing to do, in terms of ticketing technology and customer segment,” said Faisal on Stubapp’s approach to market penetration.

“Per football club, 30,000 tickets—or numbered seats, depending on stadium—need to be sold for at least 15 matches per season,” he added. “Imagine the complexity of the UI, inventory. There are at least 10 gates at the stadium, without reliable network and internet connection.”

In terms of userbase, their customer demographic consists of the mid to low income or education group, which is one of the hardest to educate. This means that getting them to buy online is a challenge in itself.

“For the majority of the fans, the only time they buy something online is through WhatsApp or Facebook messenger, paying through cash deposit or cash-on-delivery,” he explained. “We need to do many educational marketing activities to get the fans to start purchasing through online platforms.”

“Cradle also helped us get through this by providing us with RM500,000 of commercialisation grant in 2016,” he added. “With the money, we were able to do more educational marketing and awareness campaigns at the stadium and also online, which helped us to break the barrier.”

Image Credit: Stubapp

Additionally, Faisal said that they have piloted their service to music events as well, focusing on local indie gig/music events where the customer persona is not far off from their existing football customer.

“We just have a handful of music events right now because we do not market our service in this industry,” he said.

But even so, they’ve had some big names such as Yuna who partnered with Stubapp to provide paperless ticketing at her first concert under her new record label, Yuna Room Records.

“Yuna wanted 100% paperless for tickets and localised provider so we were the right choice at that time because we serve similar fans segment with their target.”

Playing The Long Game

Through it all, Faisal has learned some important lessons from trying to grow his business.

“Personally for me, as an inexperienced founder, being honest is really important—not just to others, but to oneself,” he said. “I always scrutinise myself before I say something or table up an opinion or decision. By doing so, I allow myself to grow and make lesser mistakes along the way.”

And he hopes that it’s this mantra that will help him grow his company further.

Recently, Stubapp managed to secure a RM540,000 investment from their equity crowdfunding campaign through PitchIN, and they plan to use it to enhance their technology and product so that they can tap into various revenue streams such as merchandise, club memberships, and season tickets.

“For the next 12 months, our plans are to enhance our technology and product offerings,” he said. “All of this new products are closely related to events, or more specifically, football matches.”

“At the same time, we’re preparing to scale our technologies to other industries as well starting in 2019, but we’ll still focus on a similar segment of customers.”

  • To know more about Stubapp and what services they offer click here.

Feature Image Credit: Stubapp

 

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