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Episode 21: Elevating event ticketing and curating the fan experience


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Listen to this IBM Blockchain Pulse Podcast episode and others on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn and Stitcher.

Kicking off Season 4 with a look at the future

blockchain pulse

A lot has changed since Season 3 of IBM Blockchain Pulse. We are now in a time of tremendous uncertainty, moving into a future that will look vastly different than anything we’ve previously imagined. And in the midst of so much change, hope can sometimes feel scarce — which is why our host Matt Hooper is thrilled to present today’s conversation with Harold Hughes, founder and CEO of Bandwagon.

Harold’s journey as a founder is awe-inspiring (and not just because it led him to the blockchain industry)! It’s inspiring because he has built a thriving business built on real customer need, iterating and evolving over the past six years, joining an accelerator only when he thought it could help him scale — and he’s done nearly all of this from his hometown in Greenville, South Carolina! Harold has been thoughtful with each step of his journey and it is one you won’t want to miss out on hearing all about.

Learn how industries are revolutionizing business with IBM Blockchain

With our future being shaped in part by leaders like Harold, how can one not be hopeful about the future?

Key takeaways

[:00] An excerpt from today’s episode.
[:27] About today’s episode with Harold Hughes.
[2:27] Matt Hooper welcomes listeners to the first episode of Season 4!
[2:54] Matt welcomes Harold to the show.
[3:14] Harold shares about what his current day-in-the-life looks like as a CEO working at home during a pandemic.
[4:22] Harold shares his journey into the blockchain ecosystem and the origins of Bandwagon.
[7:31] The research Harold conducted prior to launching his business in identifying his customer and derisking the idea, the business model, and himself.
[9:15] Harold elaborates on how he began to build his team.
[10:53] How Harold and his team came together to build the product for their envisioned customer.
[12:37] As a first-time founder, where did Harold gain the confidence that he has in trusting in himself and in others that he brought aboard early on?
[17:27] What is a fan analytics company to Harold? And how did he know that he had to expand beyond a fan analytics company early on in forming his business?
[19:56] When they first started out, what data was available with regards to fan analytics and fan identities? How were they able to collect it?
[22:24] Harold about raising external capital in 2016, a few years into running his business after going fulltime.
[23:33] What was Harold’s introduction to blockchain? What swayed Harold and his team to integrate blockchain into their business model?
[26:07] Were they always trying to solve the issue of fraudulent ticket sales with Bandwagon? Or did they only become aware of it when they moved to blockchain?
[27:10] Last year, Bandwagon participated in an accelerator in NYC which brought them further into the IBM family. What was the purpose of that accelerator for a company at their stage? Would he recommend the accelerator experience to others? And how did it further cement them as a blockchain ticketing company/blockchain analytics company?
[31:11] How many people are on the Bandwagon team presently? What is it like to lead this team as the CEO and founder? How is it different from how it existed pre-COVID? And how does Harold think it may be different post-COVID?
[36:05] What is the future of the live fan experience? Harold shares his thoughts and predictions.
[38:43] Matt thanks Harold for joining the podcast!

Sources mentioned

The Columbia | IBM Blockchain LAUNCH Accelerator

Follow-up with our guest

Harold Hughes’ LinkedIn
Harold Hughes’ Twitter @OneBandwagonFan

Looking for More Episodes?

Visit IBM Blockchain — and for news and updates, follow @IBMBlockchain on Twitter!


“If you are getting revenue, investors will follow you.” — Harold Hughes

“When we looked at fan identity and fan analytics, those were things that were really important to us to help make a better experience.” — Harold Hughes

“I’m a huge fan of [accelerators]. I think that the way to be successful in accelerators is to be very specific in your ask.” — Harold Hughes

“The one thing that keeps me up at night is trying to make sure that I’m the best leader that I can be for my team.” — Harold Hughes

“One thing that Bandwagon has been from the very beginning — and I’ve always said — we’re a family, we’re not a team. You can’t fire your family.” — Harold Hughes

“You can improve transparency and also improve trust — and that is something that we really want to usher in. So, we’re looking at companies who want to have that type of mentality so that they can continue to bring solutions to their customers that emphasize trust.” — Harold Hughes

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