Handango Acquires Level Up Ventures

On Monday, November 6, 2017, Handango finalized a deal to acquire Level Up Ventures, a Delaware limited liability company (LLC) from its co-founders Mike Greenberg and Alan Stanley.

Level Up Ventures is a content marketing company that curates, publishes, and distributes content to targeted audiences for its clients. Level Up Ventures works with small startups and Fortune 500 companies alike, working with more than 100 clients in 12 countries and posting revenues of $12M in the 2016 fiscal year.

The acquisition of Level Up Ventures is a large step forward for Handango to fulfill our goal of constant innovation and attempt to stay ahead of the curve by adopting technologies early. Level Up Ventures has partnerships and licensing agreements that Handango is currently working on transferring to the Handango parent company with an expected time of completion by the end of Q4 2017.

Handango board has voted to keep the current board and C-level executives, including Greenberg as CEO. Day to day operations will be unaffected and no employees will be let off as a result of the acquisition: Handango plans to bring Level Up Ventures under its wing and foster its growth by providing the current team ample resources to make their dream a reality and continue changing the world.

“We are glad Handango shares the same vision as our current team”, says Greenberg. “Continuous innovation is the backbone of our results-based content marketing campaigns and why some of the biggest companies in the world trust us to deliver.” Greenberg goes on to say “Our partnership with influencer marketing agency HireInfluence has allowed for a mutually beneficial relationship and we are excited to announce revenue and overall growth in our core KPIs at the end of the fiscal year at our shareholder conference.”

Handango is excited for what the future holds and sends a special thank you to all board members and employees of both Handango and Level Up Ventures for the approval of the acquisition, as well as other parties involved to make this acquisition possible.

Card Authorization Policy at the Handango App Marketplace

We get a lot of questions about corporate credit inquiries here at Handango, and because we’re one of the only firms in our industry employing these practices, we wanted to shed some light on the practice and why we as a company decided to put it into effect.

Handango has a wide range of products and services, but chances are you know us for our largest service: the Handango application market. This is where app developers meet potential buyers and can utilize an easy-to-use interface to purchase apps, or download free apps that may come with additional features through in-app-purchases.

When you sign up for an account on Handango, you are required to select a payment method. If you opt in to use your credit card as a payment method, rather than PayPal or Bitcoin, among the other cryptocurrencies we are planning on supporting in the future, we make a small inquiry to your bank requesting information about the cardholder to ensure that you are not a fraudulent user and that your credentials given when signing up are in line with what the bank has its records.

This is a simple process and one that is almost instantaneous: it happens behind the scenes and does not require any effort on your part. If our data matches with what the bank has on file, we approve your account and attach your card to your account as a default payment method. This payment method will be marked as verified, because it has gone through our verification process. Any additional cards that are added to your account after the initial user registration are not immediately verified with the issuing bank, but verification can be requested manually via a support ticket if you need to make purchases of more than $250 with the associated card, in which case verification is required.

There are credit inquiries that lenders make to your bank, but this is a different type of credit inquiry. It’s simply one that allows our developers the peace of mind to continue publishing apps on our store knowing that they are reaching a genuine audience and that the users paying for their apps and additional features that can be enabled through in app purchases are who they say they are.

The reason that this is done and we are one of the first to implement it is because as of late, there has been quite a lot of controversy and potential regulation upcoming regarding in app purchases, and we want to stay ahead of the curve so that in the event that any regulations do come into place, we do not have to pause services to enable this new requirement.

Selenium Ventures Joins Handango

Handango has been the leading provider of mobile applications since the company’s inception in 1999. Saying that a lot has changed in the 18 years that we have been in business would be an understatement. 12 days marks the anniversary of the release of the first iPhone, and in 2016 alone, sales of the iPhone topped 210 million units. The world we are living in is changing fast, and Handango has always been ahead of the curve. Handango was one of the first online software stores to sell mobile apps for personal digital assistants and smartphones. Handango offered and still offers worldwide distribution, support, and e-commerce services to its partners.

On June 16, 2017, Handango was pleased to announce a 66.7% stake in limited liability company Selenium Ventures. Selenium Ventures is an app development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah that employs 45 talented software engineers to create web properties, mobile applications, and other online properties to serve their users. Selenium is most known for their partnerships with large names in the mobile gaming industry, such as 10Bet, Bet365, BetFair, and William Hill. Selenium provides insight on applications such as the Bet365 app and provides users information on how to download the application and utilize it in such a way that maximizes revenue for the associated company — in this case, Bet365. As a result, for their efforts, Selenium Ventures is given a commission on every new user referred to the platform. Selenium owns more than 100 web properties and had net $1.2MM in the 2016 fiscal year, making it a leader in its space.

Handango has made the decision to acquire a majority stake in Selenium Ventures for a wide array of reasons, but the most prevalent one being the rationality of the decision. The mobile gaming industry is expected to more than double in the coming two years alone, and Selenium Ventures is currently one of the largest firms in its space. Due to the current oligopoly in the mobile gaming industry, Handango’s stake in Selenium Ventures allows Handango to focus on creating the applications in our pipeline and updating the ones that we have already released without diverting our focus. Entering a new space would require research and development and recruitment of talented software engineers among the other barriers to entry in the mobile gaming space. Handango believes that our stake in Selenium Ventures will allow for our investors and our company to have a vested interest in the fast-growing industry without diverting our focus from our current flagship products and services.

While able to acquire the company in its entirety, Handango has decided against doing so for the reasons listed above. Handango management is not disrupting company operations and is keeping the same CEO, board of directors, and other talented staff. Unlike other acquisitions, Handango does not view this one as a turnaround of a failing company, rather, interest in a fast-growing, dominant company. We thank the board of directors and investors in both Handango and Selenium Ventures for approving the purchase and look forward to future developments with the Selenium team.

Discontinuation of VenueGo

Handango has been the leading provider of mobile software for everything from Android to Symbian OS since 1999. In that time, we have amassed a large market share in the mobile application space and our applications have been downloaded by tens of millions of individual users. In a market report in 2014, more than 30% of mobile phones contained at least one (1) Handango Go application. Handango has been the largest provider of mobile applications, and in 2015 we were approached by a publicly traded software company to develop VenueGo, a venue management software.

When our team heard of the idea, our board and shareholders were ecstatic. Generally, mobile applications are one-off payments, and while the Handango app marketplace was generating several million dollars annually through this approach, a recurring revenue model, as well as market share in the rapidly growing SaaS industry, was of great interest. In May of 2015, the Handango developers put on their thinking caps and built the first prototype of VenueGo in only 4 months.

VenueGo entered beta testing in September of 2015 and remained in that stage for 12 months. In September of 2016, GoPlan had a private launch to a small portion of our customer base that expressed purchase intent in the beta. Around the same time, Handango had technical troubles, citing datacenter outages leading to service downtime and minor data loss, natural disasters in our Philippines support office, among other complications that led to a pause of development in our software and reduction of our workforce.

While our mobile app marketplace and other applications were able to survive due to their self-sufficient nature, VenueGo required continued maintenance, bug fixes, and development of new features. We regret to inform all customers that VenueGo will be discontinued as of April 30th, 2017 11:59 PM EST. All customers will be issued a prorated refund on the remaining time left on their subscription.

The current customer base has been notified and we are actively working with Gather to port all VenueGo data to their platform and provide previous VenueGo customers with 3 months of Gather, paid for by the Handango team. We recommend all current customers to use Gather as their new venue management software. While we regret to announce the discontinuation and termination of the VenueGo service, we end the service knowing that the team at Gather will tend to Handango’s VenueGo customers better than we could have ourselves.