Welcome, Jump! A New Approach to Live Events That’s a Win-Win-Win for Fans, Teams, and Venues

Brian O'Malley, Partner

This week, we shared that we’re welcoming Jump to the Forerunner portfolio and leading their $20M recent fundraise. Jump’s mission is inherently energizing. They are reshaping the fan experience by creating a new category within the massive, widely-ridiculed ticketing industry to help fuel the magic of live events.

At Forerunner, we see live events as an increasingly important part of consumers’ social fabric, as people crave community and seek out passions-aligned experiences for connection. But unfortunately, the experience surrounding these events is plagued with complicated purchasing processes and inflated prices. Archaic systems are frequently gamed by brokers & bots, sidelining true fans leaving them left out and frustrated.

In 2015, I led the Seed round for Gametime in my prior investing role. The thesis was similar, but the approach was different. How can you leverage unsold and underutilized inventory to grant affordable, last minute access to people who want to be there in the middle of the action?  While Gametime’s execution has been nothing short of impressive, becoming a scalable, profitable business as one of the largest secondary marketplaces, the company was always constrained operating within the existing, underlying infrastructure. The idea of circumventing the legacy ticketing systems seemed impossible.

This unfortunate dynamic led me to want to write off the ticketing industry, despite its size (around $50B) and prevailing negative sentiment (the standard NPS hovers around negative 58). It wasn’t until we reconnected with a former Forerunner founder, Jordy Leiser, that I thought again about this market — and most of those thoughts were designed to try and talk him out of pursuing it!

But, Jordy ended up convincing me otherwise. The Live Events industry had changed. As seen with the Taylor Swift ticket debacle, people are starting to pay attention to the underlying consumer friction. There is also greater competition for fan attention, so ownership groups are starting to be more creative about driving attendance. With the right people around the table, it feels like we’re at a uniquely opportune time to finally impact in an industry that’s been severely overdue for change.

Jordy understood the importance of early case studies in order to validate his thesis. He teamed up with fellow Forerunner alum, Marc Lore, who had been a longtime friend & mentor to him.  Marc, and his business partner Alex Rodriguez, are not just historic leaders in their own industries — they are owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves. They represent a broader trend in ownership groups becoming both younger and more tech-savvy. Through his time building, Jet and now Wonder, Marc has reshaped categories through the flexibility of dynamic pricing, flexible inventory and creative bundling. These tools are available across all facets of online commerce, but have not been implemented in the sports business in a meaningful way.

Now, Jump is injecting fresh energy into the fan experience by introducing real-time dynamic ticketing, which includes novel approaches to pricing, packaging, and promoting tickets — something that’s been impossible to do with legacy systems. To start, the platform will enable consumers to buy access to seats that free up when people leave midway through a game, so they can snag an incredible last-quarter view and bring teams and fans closer together (literally and figuratively). Fans that are already at the game get alerts when better seats become available, and pricing moves based on the demand in a reverse auction format. With more flexible and unique approaches to the fan experience on the way, Jump is reducing friction between teams and their fans and delighting consumers at every turn.

Building in the live event and ticketing industry isn’t for the faint of heart. The path ahead for the Jump is highly ambitious, and it’s one that’s only fit for leaders as accomplished and bold as Jump’s Co-founders. Without them leading the charge, it would have been near-impossible to invest in this category, but we’re thrilled to partner with them on their clear mission: fueling the magic of the live event experience.

  • DATE

    Spring 2023

  • Perspective Type