Vibe founder: Administration was the only route

Exclusive: By Ged Henderson

Vibe Tickets founder Luke Massie has spoken for the first time since the tech business was placed in administration and then bought back by him.

vibe restructure

He told Lancashire Business View that administration was “the only route forward” for the Preston-based ticket marketplace and he “wasn’t willing to give up on it”.

And he revealed that the new company had already secured £700,000 to take it forward, with talks now taking place with potential investors to seal another £2-3m.

Luke has formed a new holding company called Vibe Group Holdings (VGHL) and says there have been no redundancies as a result of the restructuring exercise.

Explaining what led to that move, he said, “there wasn’t agreement from shareholders” on the terms of further fundraising, despite Vibe having raised £1.7m in total through three earlier exercises.

He added: “Due to difficult circumstances administration was the only route forward for the business.”

Luke said: “I personally sold some assets and raised as much money as I could to buy the business out of administration because I wasn’t willing to give up on it and the management team that has worked so hard over the last four to five years.”

He said that his first offer to the administrators was rejected because another offer was on the table.

Luke said Vibe had now secured a £500,000 investment from Manchester-based tech entrepreneur Scott Fletcher, with AIM-listed Vela, which had a five per cent holding in the old company, looking to put in £200,000.

And he added: “I am looking for more capital moving forward. We are in talks to secure £2m-£3m to take the business forward.”

Vibe Tickets is a marketplace which connects fans, allowing them to cut out the middle man and save fees.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange Antony Laiker, executive director of Vela, which invested £400,000 in Vibe last October, said: “We have supported Luke Massie and Vibe Tickets since 2016.

“We saw the opportunity to support a business that was both highly disruptive and would enable ordinary fans of music and sport, who were being forced to pay excess fees on top of inflated prices, to benefit from a transparent social media platform to buy and sell tickets.

“Vibe has made strong headway reaching over 84,000 users and has generated over £7m of ticket volume, all with minimal marketing spend. Vibe Tickets is doing what it set out to do - disrupting the big players.

“Various financing routes for Vibe Tickets were explored. However, the corporate structure surrounding Vibe Tickets did not lend itself to securing further funding. “Based on previous discussions with the management of Vibe Tickets, we anticipate that the ‘restructured’ Vibe business will provide the platform for Vibe to engage with parties who have expressed interest in supporting and growing the business further.”