5 ticketing companies that are changing how we attend and pay for events in Uganda

orange expo 2013

When I attended Kwivuga poetry event early this year at which one of my favorite guitarist Michael Ouma performed together with Michael Kitanda, the new sensational saxophonist you definitely want to check out, it was indication that the way we attend and pay for events hasn’t changed in Uganda. I still had to pay for the event ticket on location using liquid cash.

However, several attempts by different companies have been made to change the ticketing industry in Uganda. A specifically striking and successful one is the case of the “Gagamel cards”, the ATM-like electronic cards that East African reggae artiste Moses Ssali aliased Bebe Cool used for his corporate concert in July this year.

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There is a lot of fraud and risk taking involved in the ticketing industry in the region. Now several other companies are seizing the opportunity with their own implementations of  more effective, fraud-free event ticketing system using a mixture of kiosks, mobile and web/online platforms in Uganda.

Here are some that showed up on our radar.

#1. Easy Ticket

EasyTicket is an online ticketing solutions provider and also events promoter. The company is pitching their product to event promoters and organizers as a more safe and secure pre- sale ticketing system that they can use to centrally track their sales with upto date technology that help them verify and track venues and premises.

You can buy tickets with MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money which are mobile payment platforms  or you can use your Mastercard/VISA supported card. Onyait already wrote about the company here in more details.

#2. Pearl guide App

Initially started as an entirely informational tourism App intended to ease the stay and movement of tourists in Uganda, the Pearl guide app has morphed into a more local app that gets you to do stuff. When we criticized the app in our all well-rounded review of the previous version for breaking the loop in what it does or more accurately should do like helping visitors complete bookings, buy tickets, it seems the company rightly listened.

Now the popular app available on Android, Windows Phone and iOS, through its market network is working with Event Managers to provide gainful advance Ticket Discounts that users can utilize and make savings on their purchases. The App features MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money, VISA, Ezee Money and MasterCard as payment modes available to users.  Pearl guide already has some events up its sleeves that it is going to sell tickets using its platform including Blankets and Wine VII – 14th September 2014, among 3 others.

#3. Payway Uganda

When we spoke to Joshua Musasizi two years ago when Payway had just introduced its sleek ATM-like self-sufficient machines around strategic locations around Kampala, we had no idea the evolutionary trajectory these cool touch-screen based kiosks would turn out to be. In our review, users were only able to load Airtime/data from a number of Telecoms, pay for digital TV service, but now the payment service providers has added several utility services too, supports the Uganda National lottery, Tugende, donations (for Uganda Red Cross Society)  and more recently event tickets.

According to the provider’s website,  event organizers can now let their customers buy tickets through PayWay self-service kiosks or agents and can check them in using secure 2D QR Code scanning system. High profile events such as Don Moen’s God Will Make A Way Concert and Bebe Cool’s concert mentioned above have used the system.

#4. Etikiti

Etikiti bills itself as a provider of Electronic Ticketing and Access Control solutions to event owners, promoters and venues. The company supports two modes of payment; one through a traditional bank (Centenary bank) with which you make the ticket payment and the other online through their website. With the latter, the company enables event goers make payments using their credit or debit card VISA card.

Besides having a broken non-updated site with expired events, we find the companies ticketing methods less viable for the Ugandan market and is less likely to favorably compete with the competition.

#5. Eventbrite

Lastly, it’s quite impossible to mention events anyway in the world and not list Evenbrite. Even though not Ugandan, Eventbrite is a global online ticketing service that allows event organizers to plan, set up ticket sales and promote events and publish them across Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking tools directly from the site’s interface. With total funding of up to $140 million that has enabled the company develop a solid platform that serves a worldwide audience with great web and mobile apps, Eventbrite is a real threat to local ticketing companies. I personally have used it to organize some events and it’s absolutely great.

However, local companies listed above are offering localization such as marketing and local payment methods that Eventbrite is not offering to event organizers.

That’s it folks, if you know of any key player that slipped our radar, please add in the comments.

  • Emmanuel King

    You can check out demo.smartkts.com. This is a more efficient and
    realistic mobile ticketing platform (you can actually try it out and see
    for your self). You will receive the ticket on your phone unlike those
    mentioned above. the demo is still connected to a mobile money sandbox,
    but as soon as the mobile telecoms activate our business accounts in
    their mobile money systems, users will be able to buy tickets using
    mobile money. MTN users will be able to buy online as their mobile money
    network allows merchant initiated(PULL) mobile money transactions. What
    that means is, from our website you can buy a ticket by entering only
    you mobile number(MTN) and simply enter the mobile money pin on your
    phone with out going through the hustle of the mobile money ussd menu.
    Airtel will be offering this too, so Airtel customers will be having
    this facility on our website early January 2015. currently, Airtel
    customers will use the ussd interface of mobile money, enter our
    business number and paycode of the event to buy a ticket(PUSH). Lastly,
    you can buy a ticket using any supported mobile money network on our
    website, but you can have the ticket sent to another network, case in
    point, i can buy using my MTN mobile money and receive the ticket on my
    Airtel number.The live service will be at http://www.smartkts.com once the
    mobile money is activated.