Stephen Wolford: StubHub

StubHub is an American event/entertainment ticket exchange and resale company. It provides services for buyers and sellers of tickets for sports, concerts, theater and other live entertainment events. It has grown from the largest secondary-market ticket marketplace in the U.S. into the world's largest ticket marketplace.

The Challenge

StubHub’s rapid domestic and international growth brought on transaction complexities within their supply and delivery chains. IT system readiness was holding back growth as new markets and customer segments with unique buying and selling requirements were developing, overwhelming existing systems and resources. My challenge as a member of the leadership team was to identify and guide a rapidly transforming marketplace as well as develop the transaction management system that would anticipate and flawlessly handle active growth.

My Role

Head of Transaction Processing Technology

My role focused on collaborating with StubHub’s marketplace development team to create end-to-end solutions that supported StubHub’s fulfillment of commitments to both buyers and sellers, which are a core value and market differentiator of StubHub. I played a major role in developing the strategic plan and owned execution of the GAAP-compliant Transaction Management System design and buildout. This required building highly effective relationships with leadership in multiple departments within StubHub and maintaining enthusiasm and momentum throughout an 18-month project.

The Work
  • Define the strategic plan and roadmap for the creation of technology solutions that would manage the dynamic transactional environment of a global entertainment event marketplace.
  • Coordinate the buildout of the transaction management system and integrations to the worldwide marketplace to deliver real-time status, reporting and access to over five million transactional data points per month.
  • Develop and launch the global transaction management and reporting solution that enabled growth for StubHub through the creation and opening of new markets.
The Outcome

StubHub modernized the event ticket reselling marketplace, enabling B2B, B2C, and P2P to resell event tickets easily and legally. The birth of this new industry inspired competition from newcomers and existing B2C platforms which meant that market share would be determined by those who could build the most elegant marketplace and assure transactions were executed timely and flawlessly. StubHub positioned itself  to do both, and with the development and successful launch of their first transaction processing platform, StubHub grew annual revenue from $300 million to more than $2 billion, increasing accounting and financial operational and planning efficiency by 300 percent and accomplished this at 20 percent of alternative cost options.

StubHub was executing thousands of transactions a day with substantial month over month growth, but new markets were evolving and Stubhub had made commitments to lead this evolution. We were very aware the new functionality we were building was game-changing and would have immediate and dramatic impacts on revenue growth–and it couldn’t be launched fast enough. It was that classic metaphor of rebuilding the car while going 100 mph. 

—Stephen Wolford, Head of Transaction Processing Technology‍