MBA student Alex Burkhart was on a sports binge with his friends—two college football games and one professional football game in just two days—when an idea hit him like a blitzing linebacker.
“I work in loyalty marketing for Macy’s, so I have a good knowledge of how reward systems work,” he says. “I sort of combined my love for sports with my work at Macy’s and thought, What if there was a site that let ticket holders post their unused tickets for reward points that they can, in turn, use on other tickets?”
About 20 percent of purchased sports tickets go unused each year, Burkhart says. That means, out of about 200 million tickets sold last year, 32 million of them went unused. Ticket holders don’t have many options when they can’t make a game, he adds. They can sell the tickets at a discounted price, give them to a friend or let them go to waste.
So one week after hashing out the initial concept in his head, he enlisted the help of a few friends and entered his business idea, which he named Tixers, into the Startup Weekend Cincinnati contest, a business competition sponsored by Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
Out of the 75 submissions, Tixers won first place and secured Burkhart free legal advice, $1,000 worth of web-design, six months of free office space and the attention of potential investors and users alike.
“All of this happened within the first few weeks of the Tixers idea occurring to me, so I’ve been busy getting the right people on board,” says Burkhart, who is currently working on building the site. “But I’m up for the challenge of starting this business. I’m a firm believer in execution, but sometimes the idea is just as exciting.”