US success for Adelaide tech firm powering stadium hospitality
Adelaide-made point-of-sale systems for stadiums have taken the US by storm, including at last year’s Super Bowl. The company’s founder told InDaily that he’s only just getting started.
MyVenue supporting an event at University of Florida football stadium. Photo: MyVenue.
Founded just four years ago, MyVenue has rapidly outgrown its roots at the Adelaide Oval and has taken a bite out of the North American market with its point-of-sale (POS) offering proving tantalising for stadiums and centres in the United States.
The company now claims to have grown its exports to $7.3 million to just the US market, which it will continue building upon to ensure MyVenue is the POS of choice for venue operators in the region.
Last year, the company struck deals with venues including State Farm Stadium – home of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL and the 2023 Super Bowl venue. It’s also used by the world’s most exciting new entertainment centre: the MSG Sphere. Based in Las Vegas, the $2.3 billion venue has fast become an iconic feat of technology and architecture thanks to its dome structure covered in screens, and a stage inside surrounded by even more screens.
Other major venues now using MyVenue in the US include Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Speaking to InDaily via Zoom from Atlanta, Georgia where he is now based, founder and CEO Tim Stollznow said two years ago MyVenue only had one American customer.
“We found the right customers for us and we worked hard to make sure that we were successful,” he said.
Key to the company’s ability to crack the market was having boots on the ground according to Stollznow, who secured MyVenue’s first US customer from Adelaide while COVID restrictions made travelling overseas a pain in 2021.
MyVenue founder Tim Stollznow. Photo: MyVenue.
“There’s a few key things to know if you’re going to do business in the States,” the founder told InDaily.
“One of the reasons I’m spending so much time over here is you do have to be present in the States if you’re serious about doing business here and growing quickly. You can do it in other ways but it certainly takes a lot longer; being here expedites growth.
“There’s also some basic rules like having some Americans on your team – and even if you don’t have Americans at least have some that come with you to your first customer meeting or your first trade shows so you can present yourself as American-friendly.”
This approach appears to be paying off for Stollznow, who said his American clients were impressed with MyVenue’s POS technology. It’s led to high-octane moments for the founder, who reminisced about watching thousands of sales pop up minute-by-minute at the Miami Grand Prix.
“When you go to the Miami Grand Prix and you see 100,000 Americans buying hot dogs and beer and it’s all happening through your point-of-sale system – you’ve got a dashboard up in front of you and it’s all online and the sales are coming in – it’s awesome,” he said.
“But it can be very nerve-wracking. Venues have maybe an hour to do probably 80 or 90 per cent of their revenue – the 40 minutes before the game and the 20 minutes of halftime is when you get smashed.
“Your IT systems better be ready for it.”
The company’s technology is now being used by 80 venues in North America, but with about 1000 other similar-sized venues in the US still not clients of MyVenue the founder said there was a long road to walk.
“There’s minor league ballparks that seat 10,000 people, convention centres that have 150 points of sale – which in Australia would be phenomenal – but there’s dozens of them in the States,” he said.
“It’s a big market. There’s also Canada up the road and we’re doing venues in Canada now. That market is much bigger than Australia.
“We’ve got plenty of growing to do over the next three or four years.”
Though his focus is on North America, Stollznow said that the rest of the world was following the American model of sports entertainment which would mean more giant venues in more countries.
“Americans are very good at commercialising sport, and that trend is happening around the world faster than what most people would realise,” he said.
“That’s very good for us because it means we can follow the American sports and entertainment industry as they progressively move into other markets.”
The MyVenue POS terminal. Photo: MyVenue.
Stollznow admits MyVenue’s footprint is not massive in Adelaide, and that the company was essentially “leapfrogging” the Australian market in general.
“But we’ll go back and have a look at the Australian market,” he said.
“We do some pubs in Adelaide, we do some cafes in Adelaide, we do some sports clubs but we don’t have a big focus on the Australian market at the moment.”
The founder thanked the Department of Trade and Investment, which over the past year has been helping MyVenue with securing investment, customers and access to events in North America.
“The Lot Fourteen precinct and overseas trade officer support offered by the state government has helped MyVenue grow our export markets,” he said.