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Local Startup Friday feature: Tessera Tickets

Events are HUGE in Zambia, but for one to get in a basic necessity is an actual ticket right? Yes! So we asked new ticketing platform Tessera what they’re all about in an interview with Musuka Mateyo Makai, its Marketing Manager.

TTZ: What is Tessera exactly and how does it work? Why was it started for Zambia?

Makai: We are an end-to-end event ticketing platform that is geared towards user experience. We have 4 main arms in Tessera.  An online Event Guide where people can post their events even if Tessera is not selling their tickets through the site. Online Ticket Sales that give people the convenience of buying right then and there with all major credit and debit cards and MTN mobile money. Airtel money is on it’s way too. We also have the facilities to print “Hard” Tickets that are numbered and have a UV stamp on the back for extra protection. And finally we provide Access Control on the day of the event. We can even provide custom, full-color wristbands with a one day lead time – that’s multiple weeks faster than any other company.

In a nutshell, we get the tickets for the best events in Zambia into the hands of Zambians by the most convenient and easiest way possible. Our entire business model starts and ends with user experience. Before we commit to major business decisions we always ask ourselves “What’s best for the people of Zambia?

TTZ: Who are the founders/board?

Makai: Tessera is the brainchild of Jason MJ Kruger who noticed a definite need for a formal ticketing platform in Zambia in 2012, and it took him 5 years of meticulous research and development to pull together the current version of Tessera’s online platform. Jason is very passionate about event ticketing and providing a solid platform for Event Organizers. This to the detriment of his family’s sanity – they swear if they have to hear the word ‘Tessera‘ one more time!

TTZ: How does the platform compete against other ticketing platforms in the country?

 Makai: Without bashing the competition or giving away some of our secrets? Easy:

We care.

We are not only the first online ticketing platform in Zambia, but we are also heavily invested in seeing the event industry as a whole get better and better. We are doing whatever it takes to give unwavering support to Event Organizers. After all, if the Event Organizers have less stress with their ticketing they then have the ability put their energy fully into their events, no?

 TTZ: What does the checkout system look like?

 Makai: Our “user first” mentality definitely came into play with our decision when choosing our cart flow. What did we want from the whole shopping experience? How can we get our (watch out magic mumbojumbo from Silicon Valley here) conversion rates up and staying there? We constantly ask ourselves how would someone, who’s not familiar with online shopping, experience our flow? All of our users are also encouraged regularly to share their experiences with us so we can better tweak the cart process to suit their needs.

TTZ: Have there been challenges in e-Commercializing the website? If so, how did you work it out?

 Makai: This was undoubtedly the hardest part of getting Tessera up and running. Ecommerce in Zambia is in it’s infancy, especially website stores, and the entire Ecommerce industry definitely has many challenges. Finding the right payment gateway, hiring the right developers to design the integration to tie the systems together, and negotiating for a great price per sale from the payment gateway providers were the biggest issues. We are not nearly done with these issues as there’s a long walk ahead of us, but we’re certainly enjoying that walk so far. It’s definitely very exciting to be the first online ticketing company and part of the first Ecommerce wave that’s about to hit Zambia.

TTZ: What’s next for the company in the next year or 5?

Makai: We’re here to stay. This year we’re showing the Event Organizers and the public that there’s a better way. We are very proud that Stanbic Bank have chosen us as their online ticket sellers for an event as prestigious as the Stanbic Music Festival in September featuring the massive act, Boys II Men.

We want event organizers to realize that they don’t have to stick with the status quo, and that there are better ways of doing ticketing. And finally we want our site’s users to have better and better experiences. After all, this whole thing’s about them right?

Next 5 years? A MANNED JOURNEY TO MARS!!! Wait, wrong company. We have plans. Not Elon-Musk-dying-of-old-age-on-Mars plans, but things that are definitely very exciting for us.

You can check out the Tessera service here, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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