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Dr Farhad Mirzayev spearheads expansion of a technology-driven ticket company

20 February 2020

The article at a glance

Executive MBA (EMBA) alumnus Dr Farhad Mirzayev wants to add value to ticket sales and marketing in the UK through virtual reality. …

Executive MBA (EMBA) alumnus Dr Farhad Mirzayev wants to add value to ticket sales and marketing in the UK through virtual reality.

Dr Farhad Mirzayev.

Dr Farhad Mirzayev (EMBA 2017), has joined a technology-driven ticket sales and marketing company to spearhead its expansion into the United Kingdom.

Established in 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan, iTicket focuses on value addition through IT solutions in the competitive ticket sales and marketing industry. Having supplied ticket sales systems and solutions for venues including the Baku Olympic Stadium and the Formula 1 City Circuit, the company has since won a valuable contract with the Dubai Tourism Centre and expanded in Uzbekistan and Russia. It now has its sights set on Europe, and it’s bringing new technology with it.

“iTicket has invested in technology that offers customers a unique experience at multiple steps throughout the purchase process. We work with venues to create 3D seating plans, allowing customers to get a real-life view from their seats before purchasing tickets. Moreover, our innovative approach is in introducing of a ‘virtual reality’ (VR) possibilities to venue organisers” says Dr Mirzayev, a London-based legal professional.

“We offer venues a proposition that follows the full life cycle of ticket sales, from acquisition to conversion and delivery. I’m excited to show venues around the UK how iTicket’s technology can improve conversion through an innovative customer experience.”

A (virtual) ticket to ride

Screenshot of iTicket interface.
iTicket’s 3D seating plan allows customers to to get a real-life view from each seat in a venue before purchasing tickets.

Initially established by Ziya Mammadov, an IT professional and close associate of Dr Mirzayev’s, the company has ambitions to use its investment in live entertainment VR experiences to diversify into another, more globally focused market: online streaming.

“We believe there’s a big opportunity to open entertainment experiences, like concerts and sporting events, to the home viewing audience. Venues can allocate seats for 3D cameras, allowing people unable to attend premier shows in person to enjoy it from the comfort of their homes. It opens up live experiences to people who, for whatever reason, may not be able to attend – there’s huge potential here.”

“We believe that iTicket UK contributes into best customer rights protection, since our unique 3D mapping technology would allow customers to have a clear understanding what they are paying for. Moreover, our experience with many operators is they see a real uplift in ticket sales and profit from the iTicket systems.”

Hoping to tap into consumer appetite for streaming experiences, the company hopes to engage customers in remote locations, allowing them to ‘attend’ events, in some cases for the first time. This has clear benefits for the company’s clients too.

“The Virtual Reality Broadcasting (VRB) system generates additional revenues for venues by offering an endless number of virtual seats to customers. The only requirement is for viewers to possess a VR headset or mobile device.”

The importance of experience with UK markets

Dr Mirzayev has worked and studied in the UK for many years. Completing a Master of Laws at the University of Nottingham and a PhD in Law at the University of Leicester between 2004 and 2013, he joined the Executive MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School in 2017.

An international lawyer by training, with more than 20 years’ international experience, Dr Mirzayev has represented major international clients and private individuals in various complex investment projects globally.

“My experience here in the UK was key for choosing me as a local shareholder and to my appointment as a company’s Director of the UK affiliate of iTicket,” says Dr Mirzayev. “Despite initial apprehension to step into an industry that’s quite new to me after a long career in legal practice, I feel confident – due in part to my experience and network from the Executive MBA at Cambridge.”

In 2019, Dr Mirzayev co-founded an investment management organisation, Zenith Investment Management, pooling knowledge with fellow EMBA participant Igor Erker.

“Exposure to the different professional experiences, bases of knowledge and opportunities for collaboration with peers on EMBA programme at Cambridge has given me a broad understanding of business functions to complement the technical skills in law I’ve built over my career.”

Of the core courses, Dr Mirzayev praises Strategic Management and Marketing Management most strongly, espousing their importance in the ideation for propositions.