Mellie Price
 

Location

Austin

Hometown

Austin
#00329

Mellie Price, Source Spring

Bio

  • Mellie Price has 20 years experience as a successful entrepreneur and executive. Most recently she founded Source Spring where she serves as Managing Partner. Source Spring has invested in over 20 early-stage organizations and is actively involved in the Austin business and non-profit communities.
  • Prior to Source Spring, Mellie founded Front Gate Solutions and Front Gate Tickets in 2003. She bootstrapped the company from her living room and in 2011 the system powered over $70M in ticket sales in 800+ cities across North America. Front Gate Tickets was acquired in September 2012.
  • Ms. Price’s experience also includes several senior executive roles: Senior Vice President at Human Code (1997), a leading software and application developer that was funded by Austin Ventures and sold to Sapient Corporation (NASDAQ: SAPE) in 2000. At Sapient, a top-tier business and technology consultancy, Mellie was a Vice President in the Media, Entertainment, and Communications divisions.
  • Price began her career as a designer, programmer, and system administrator when she launched Monsterbit (1993), one of the nation's first commercial web development and web hosting companies (acquired by Human Code in 1997). She was also a co-founder of Symbiot Security (2001), leaders in risk metrics for adaptive network security.
  • Mellie is also a founding investor and lead mentor for Captial Factory, a seed-stage mentoring program and co-working facility in Austin, TX. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at Austin and serves on the Board of Directors for Animal Trustees of Austin.
  • [Photo by René Lego Photography]
  • TRANSCRIPT
  • WHAT IS AUSTIN TO YOU PERSONALLY?
  • I have been in Austin 23 years, and I have stayed here because it's a phenomenal place to live and to work and to be an entrepreneur. I started my first company just a few years after I moved here. At this point, I have an extraordinary group of friends, chosen family, colleagues, people that really support me in the endeavor of being an entrepreneur, and I can't imagine doing this anyplace else.
  • ANY ADVICE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS?
  • One person told me early on that the truth is always right there, you just have to listen to it. When it comes to being an entrepreneur and you're starting something, I really encourage people to look for the truth and listen to it. Listen to your customers. They're giving you very real feedback. Be willing to hear it. If they're giving you the feedback that what you have doesn't matter to them, then don't be afraid to stop. Your employees, your partners are giving you real feedback. Listen to it, take action on it, and be selfless in your willingness to hear what's right before you.
  • WHAT ARE YOU ENTREPRENEURIAL STRENGTHS?
  • I'm really authentic in my relationships with people, try to be at least, and consequently, I love building teams. I take a lot of pride in assembling a team that's the right capability, personality for whatever the project that we're working on is.
  • TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR STARTUPS...
  • I started my first company in 1993, called Monsterbit. Monsterbit was one of the first web development companies in Austin and in the nation. And we built websites for people that needed a voice. We felt like the Internet was a great voice.
  • And so we focused on arts and entertainment organizations, musicians, etc., and consequently kind of became the go-to developer for web development in the entertainment space.
  • So Monsterbit, from 1993 to 1997, did some really fun things. We built a lot of the first websites, the first South by Southwest website, the first Capitol Records website. We did a lot of the first Internet broadcasts. We just really explored what the Internet could do for the entertainment space.
  • Front Gate Tickets is one of the largest privately held ticketing companies in the nation. We focus on primary-market ticketing, which means we sell tickets directly for the venues, the festivals, and the promoters that are our clients, as opposed to secondary market ticketing, which is the StubHub type of environment.
  • I had a client, a web development client, who came and said that they were having problems with their ticketing vendor and that they needed to find a new system. They hired me as a consultant to go look at the alternatives out there. When I realized they were all antiquated and very expensive, I went back and I said, "Hey, if you'll give me six months and be my first client, I'll give you a piece of the company and we'll start a new ticketing competitor to Ticketmaster."
  • So that was October of 2002. Jessie Jack, my business partner and I, went into hiding in my living room, spent 5 months building the first system, and in February 2003, we sold our first ticket.
  • It was later that year that we landed our largest client, who became a strategic partnership, with C3 Presents, and we started selling tickets for the Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza.
  • People were really friendly towards us in the beginning. They understood that we loved music. We came from a music culture. So by virtue of the competition in the market, we had a sandbox to start in that we might not have had in other communities.
  • WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN AUSTIN?
  • Community to me, Austin as a community I think benefits from a healthy entrepreneurial base. It's a great place to come together, and you share war stories and lessons learned. You share access to people, places, ideas, and resources to help get things done.
  • In the last 10 years, I feel like it's matured its processes for dealing with the growth that we've dealt with, and I think it's matured its economy. And you know, I'm a proponent of growth. I think you have to grow to get to the next place.
  • I don't want to keep Austin the same, necessarily, but I do hope that it can find that sweet spot where the growth still reflects the core of its character, which is that it's a pretty wonderful, funky place.