December 18, 2014 by Amanda Bradford,, NMSU News Center
A startup company launched at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Technology Incubator is taking its show on the road, bringing its text message-based concert ticketing and broadcast alert concept to one of the nation’s top music scenes – Austin, Texas.
The company, OneEighty, created by Jon Forrest and Timothy Swope, looks very different now than it did at its 2013 launch.
OneEighty got its start in the incubator as a no-charge membership club that gave NMSU students, staff and members of the Las Cruces community instant access to deeply discounted offers from local merchants through text messages.
With help from the industry experts they were introduced to in the incubator environment, Swope and Forrest were able to test their model and learn what works – and what doesn’t. The duo worked with Arrowhead to pivot the company’s focus, using the text-messaging distribution system they’d developed to sell event tickets in a more convenient way, with OneEighty’s Tickets2Text feature.
“Our experience at Arrowhead was really exemplary of what an incubator should do,” Forrest said. “We wouldn’t have gotten through that learning curve if we hadn’t been there.”
Swope said making their early mistakes in a larger market would have likely been a death sentence for the fledgling company.
“The fact that the incubator is in a city this size made it possible to make some freshman mistakes in a forgiving environment and then move on with a better plan to a major metroplex,” Swope said.
Arrowhead was able to help OneEighty prepare to scale up its structure to be completely ready for any size operation, Forrest said.
The founders chose Austin as their next venue because the city has an iconic footprint on the music scene and represents a broad mix of genres, Swope said.
“Austin is also well-contained,” Forrest added. “We can continue to add features and hone technology in a good size of place.”
Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator, said OneEighty’s incubator graduation is a testament to its maturity as a company. It now has a strong foundation, built on rigorous customer development in Las Cruces, she said, which will allow it to enter the market it was built for.
“They’re moving out, but we expect them to visit for Thanksgiving,” Sloan joked. “We’re really proud of what they’ve accomplished and wish them all the best in Austin.”
Forrest said OneEighty’s experience at Arrowhead has been invaluable.
“Joining the incubator was exactly the right move,” Forrest said. “We wouldn’t be where we are right now if we hadn’t.”
For more information about OneEighty, visit 180tix.com.
Arrowhead Center and the Arrowhead Technology Incubator are supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center for Regional Commercialization program. For more information, visit arrowhead.nmsu.edu.