Watching Terps men’s basketball games from the nosebleed section, Derek Shewmon, MBA ’09, and Federico Campbell, MBA ’09, often wondered why great seats below them in the Comcast Center remained empty.
The classmates in Smith’s part-time MBA program in Washington turned that simple observation into a business that’s expanding this fall into the NBA.
The duo developed LetsMoveDown, a mobile app that lets teams and individuals sell leftover or unused tickets to fans after the game has started. The app also offers fans exclusive in-game promotions, including coupons for concessions and merchandise.
Shewmon and Campbell turned to the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship for help in refining the idea and business model and tackling other challenges. Managing Director Elana Fine and entrepreneurs-in-residence Harry Geller and John LaPides also connected Shewmon and Campbell to the right people in the university’s athletics department.
Shewmon and Campbell first pitched their idea to the Terps in 2010. Matt Monroe, assistant athletic director for ticketing services, liked the concept. But the idea was a little ahead of its time, primarily because mobile devices weren’t yet commonplace and Maryland had yet to launch an electronic ticketing platform.
“We licked our wounds and waited for the technology to catch up with the idea,” says Shewmon.
He and Campbell incorporated technology advances and feedback from Monroe and others to implement LetsMoveDown for Maryland’s 2012–13 men’s basketball games.
By the end of the season, LetsMoveDown was selling out its inventory of upgraded tickets. “The demand was definitely there from the fans, and we were able to refine our product and get some great fan feedback,” says Shewmon. He says LetsMoveDown plans to introduce some new features this year, expand in-game offerings to make the game more fun for Terps fans, and get more premium tickets into the marketplace by working with UMD to make it easier for season ticket holders to post unusable tickets at game time.
LetsMoveDown’s app will be in play at Terps football and basketball games this fall, and Shewmon and Campbell landed deals with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets for the 2012–13 season. LetsMoveDown is in talks with several teams in the major professional and collegiate sports and plans to expand into the entertainment space.
“Our pipeline is very strong, and our team is growing. Our product continues to evolve,” Shewmon says. “We’re one of those back-of-the-napkin-ideas-to-business stories, and we’re excited to see how it ends.”