Sunday, 29 November 2015

Will Richard lead way for our dot coms?

Who will be Cumbria’s first dot com millionaire? Well, it might be a long shot, but it might be worth putting your money on Richard Dyer, one of the men behind the hugely successful listings site.

af dyer
Internet: Richard Dyer

Who will be Cumbria’s fist dot com millionaire?

Well, it might be a long shot, but it might be worth putting your money on Richard Dyer, one of the men behind the hugely successful listings site.

In the last few years he’s taken the site from a student project at Carlisle’s art college to a business that with a £1.5 million annual turnover.

In eight years Skiddle has grown from a site run from a bedroom computer to one of the UK’s top ents listings websites with seven million views and 600,000 visitors a month and over 72,000 registered members.

Not surprisingly, the web analysts Hitwise have listed Skiddle as the fourth busiest entertainment site in the UK for the last 18 months.

The site operates is essentially an events and tickets listing for clubs, gigs and other venues with numerous lucrative add-ons such as hotel bookings and the ability to reserve a restaurant table online. Around 90 per cent of its revenue comes from tickets sales and it is now also one of the main driving forces behind the Wickerman festival.

I met Rich, 25, last week to get an insight into the Skiddle success. “We are a household name for tickets for a lot of people, particularly the younger crowd in Manchester,” he tells me in-between mouthfuls of chicken korma, adding: “Venues can add their information to the what’s on guide so all the content comes from the promoters.

“London is doing unbelievable for us at the moment because Westminster council has crackdown on how people can promote events so people come to us – one club said they got 70 per cent of people coming to him because of Skiddle, so something is working.”

And now Skiddle could be on the verge of moving on to bigger things as it moves into mobile explained Rich: “A lot of my friends when they go out don’t know how the evening’s going to pan out so we’re making it easy for them to see a flyer or poster and they book a ticket via their mobile.

“We can book tickets via mobile up to 15 minutes before the doors open.”

The next stage for the expanding Skiddle empire is to replicate the success abroad. Skiddle has been approached with an offer to use the model in another European country. It’s still a bit “hush-hush”, but apparently the numbers involved are “amazing”.

It’s all a long way from the humble beginnings of Skiddle which spawned from a previous project (StudentWeekly) which Rich built whilst studying at Cumbria Institute of the Arts where he went after studying at Caldew School. After meeting his partner Ben Sebborn, who studied Computer Sciences at UCLAN, was born. “Ben has looked after the entire development of the site from the start, which has taken us to the success level that we are at today”

After leaving college Rich ran Café Aubergine and had a variety of other jobs, before realising the potential of Skiddle. “I thought I was going to be rock climber instructor for the rest of my life, but I just love promoting events and to me there is nothing more exciting to me than setting up a festival.”

But while he is grateful for the launching pad he gained in Carlisle he is scathing of the nightlife offerings in the city now.

“Nobody seems ready to take a risk and everybody just plays safe. Botchergate could have been done so differently, but instead they’ve gone for the safe route and now it just caters for binge drinking.”

Clearly we need more young entrepreneurs to emerge from the University and follow the model to making money from music and mayhem.

Have your say

Last set of filed accounts £150k profit.
Looking good for an old Carlisle boy

Posted by Chou Ling Fun on 31 July 2010 at 18:44

Skiddle is a great website, I use it all time when buying tickets for Sankeys in Manchester. I didn't realise it was Carlisle based

Posted by Bob Fet on 8 December 2008 at 10:24

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