Stephen Glicken is working to disrupt ticket sales as we know it with his company, Project Admission. It's a unique model that managed to survive the collapse of live events during COVID and continue to draw investor interest, gain market traction and land significant partnerships.

Project admission is a tech platform that sits on top of the existing live events business to help create a better commercial, brandable, more customizable experience across the life of the live event.

"We're helping address different issues at different points of time — from distributed commerce, where we can spin-up brandable storefronts and help leverage brands, fans, influencers to reach audiences, help generate demand; into season ticket management; all the way down to digital commemorative tickets, which for us act as a vehicle to connect with the fan and help create opportunities post-event that tie into downstream revenue opportunities," Glicken says.

In 2018, the business was launched. Soon after, COVID hit and made a big impact on the core of its model: live events.

"I'm a kind of a history nerd," he says. "If you have any eye to history, these things end. And I felt that what we were building was already where the world was going. And I instantly saw that what was happening was going to be even more valuable for us in the long run. I didn't know when it was going to end, obviously, but I saw an opportunity. And rather than pivot — there was a lot of pressure at that moment in time to fire everybody to become a live streaming platform, there's a lot of pressure around to do that. And we were fortunate in that we had enough money in the bank. We didn't fire anybody on the team. To me, it's who are you at the end of this thing if you don't have the team? We stuck our stake in the ground and we said, There's nothing good going on outside. We were, from our stage of the business, at a good time, too. We didn't need to unwind the world. We were just about to really press go. So rather than pressing go, we faced everybody inwards and we said, Don't look outside the vehicle. There is nothing good going on outside. Let's build the platform."

Glicken spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcasat about the business, its growth, fundraising, investors and what he hopes to be saying in the next five years about the company he launched.