Playpass-Weezevent to ‘cash’ in on UK market



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PlayPass and Weezevent join forces Image: Weezevent

The two European leaders in cashless payment solutions – PlayPass and Weezevent – have merged to form one company, offering their combined expertise to the leisure and entertainment sector.

Founded in Belgium in 2012, PlayPass is specialized in event technology and has set the industry standard for the reliable and cost-effective delivery of cashless payments, access control, brand activation and crew management at festivals and live events across Europe and Asia, using near-field contact (NFC) and other technologies.

Weezevent is a French start-up created in April 2008. It launched the first French self-service ticketing platform through online software (Software As A Service) aimed at event organizers. Its simple, fast and professional solution is freely accessible and allows organizers to create their customized event, to offer tickets, registrations or invitations online, to promote their event, to follow its organization, and finally to handle reception and admission control on the day of the event. Since its inception, Weezevent has among its clients thousands of event organizers of all sizes, operating in all fields of event-planning, mostly in Europe, but increasingly in Canada as well.

A statement on the ‘weezevent’ website read, “The newly merged group will now be represented by six offices with more than 100 employees and over 1,200 cashless event clients around the world including major music festivals like Lollapalooza (in Paris [France], Berlin [Germany] and Santiago [Chile]), Rock Werchter, Main Square, Hellfest, Rock En Seine, Frequency, and Nova Rock, and prominent sports brands like Formula 1 (highest class of international auto racing), Red Bull Air Race (motorsport competition), Paris St. Germain F.C. (French professional football club), Lausanne FC (Swiss football club) and the William Hill World Darts Championship (world professional darts championships). The combined offering will represent an annual turnover of over £400 million”.

Cashless payments at events have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a revolutionary way for organizers to manage onsite sales and improve attendee experience. The use of NFC wristbands or cards has been widespread across Europe, spearheaded largely by Weezevent and PlayPass – and the two firms hope to replicate this success in the United Kingdom.

The merger will see Steve Jenner of PlayPass and Olly Goddard of Weezevent jointly spearhead the group’s UK division. The deal will also lead to the expansion of the group’s offices in Paris, Madrid (Spain), Antwerp (Belgium), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Montreal (Canada). The in-house development team will also be expanded with further investment to continue the development of its highly disruptive proprietary technology.

The ‘weezevent’ website added that Weezevent’s CEO Pierre-Henri Deballon had this to say about co-founders of Playpass, David De Wever and Dale Hofkens, “David, Dale and their teams share the same passion and vision as Weezevent for delivering a world class cashless experience, and after eight years of healthy competition, the time has come to form a new team that is stronger, more ambitious and more confident than ever.”

De Wever added, “Our two companies are highly complementary and the consolidation of our expertise and experience now makes it possible to form the leader in cashless event solutions. The return to a normal post-COVID situation will accelerate the adoption of cashless everywhere. This is about being ready for the market while continuing to innovate.”

The fact that this merger has taken place amid COVID-19 still hounding the world despite the vaccine rollout and the pandemic has affected the entire events sector for more than a year highlights the need for cooperation and collaboration in moving forward towards a return to normal. Pre-orders for click-and-collect drinks, social distancing measures and adapted access control protocols for mass gatherings, are all now catered-for in the group’s latest product set.

Observed Olly Goddard, “2020 promised a much wider adoption of cashless technology at events before our industry was put into lockdown. Though this natural progression was interrupted, we are looking forward to a productive 2021 and beyond, and our merger with PlayPass will put us in an even stronger position to deliver what consumers want and events need.”

Steve Jenner added, “As a competitor we have always held the utmost respect for Weezevent, in particular the strength of their technology, team and commitment to improving the visitor experience. To join forces with them at this time is a really exciting opportunity for us, our clients and the UK’s live events industry, placing us in a much stronger position to not only help the sector get back on its feet faster, but to emerge stronger than ever.”

UK festivals planning their return this summer using the group’s cashless technology include Standon Calling, 2000Trees, Black Deer, ArcTangent, Lakefest, Neverworld and the inaugural UnLocked Festival, with more to be announced over the coming weeks.

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