- All Community
Lately, a few have asked why we chose Chicago to be our initial launch city. Aside from the fact that Chicago is a fantastic place, there are quite a few questions we considered before making our decision.
Of course, we were secretly rooting for Chicago, but we still needed to address these questions:
1. Population and Density: Are there enough people who could fall in love with SeatSync?
We didn't need Wikipedia to tell us that Chicago is a large market. But we did use Wikipedia to narrow down to the top cities in terms of population AND population density (it's important). Both are important for us because SeatSync is a peer-to-peer marketplace: more people nearby = more possible buyers and sellers of tickets.
In other words, we need critical mass. An example of a major city where building a strong, concentrated user base might not work as well (at least for a launch city) is Houston. While it has a large population, it is rather spread out -- with less than 1/3 the density as Chicago -- which would make our task more difficult during the launch phase.
Other cities similar to Chicago in size and density are New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Boston (you could also include Washington DC, Seattle, and Miami for more mid-sized markets). Philadelphia was then immediately eliminated because we just don't like their fans.
2. Which cities have a large sports following?
Chicago has an extremely strong fan base in all major sports -- with a soccer team to boot (pun absolutely intended). Of course, it doesn't hurt that we are huge fans of Chicago sports, but let's consider the remaining cities as well:
- San Francisco doesn't have an NHL or MLS team. No, the Sharks do not count.
- Los Angeles has a great NBA and (now) NHL following, with some Dodger fans... but no NFL team (yet).
- Boston tests well here.
- New York has more sports teams than any market, though there's been some buzz lately about the decline in attendance for both New York baseball teams and also a lot of negative chatter about the secondary ticket marketplace in general.
- DC has a team for all four majors (if you count the Wizards), and an MLS team.
- Seattle lacks an NHL and NBA team (too soon?)
- Miami -- same principle as Philly, although with Miami we just don't like LeBron James.
3. Is there a lively music / theatre / festival scene?
If you read TravelAndLeisure.com (who doesn't?), Chicago is #6 in America's best music cities! While I'm not quite sure Chicago belongs behind Las Vegas, we'll give them credit for this amazing artist and settle for 6th. New York has a fantastic music scene, but with sports being a key piece of our app - and with 60% of all ticket sales in the secondary market falling under the 'sports' category - New York is probably still tied with Chicago.
4. Would we be able to generate support from the local startup community?
This is one area where Chicago has an edge. With half of the SeatSync co-founders currently living in Chicago, we want to be sure we can work with and learn from others who have been in our shoes. In addition to tapping into our own virtual rolodex of contacts, we need to have the opportunity to network with others. After many many questions, and then finding out about Built in Chicago from a close friend, we quickly realized the potential of the Chicago startup community.
And so a decision was made.
So now that we're putting it all on the line with Chicago, we would love some feedback from the community! And if you live in Chicago and enjoy any combination of beer, coffee or biking...we'd love to meet in person to enjoy any of the three together.
Oh, and sign up for our launch at our new SeatSync homepage.