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Showtime: Cincinnati music-minded startup adds three key hires

A Cincinnati-based startup that wants to connect music fans to the shows they want to see is building out its leadership team with a handful of new hires with backgrounds in startups, music and technology.

Tixxy, an entertainment startup powered by an SMS chatbot that makes predictive concert recommendations based on your listening history, has added Cincinnati marketing executive Steve Peele II as its head of growth. He’s one of three employees the company announced this week, founder and CEO Eron Bucciarelli said.

Peele has spent more than 12 years in the local startup scene, including a seven-year stint with Dotloop, where he facilitated the company’s growth and visibility. Dotloop, a real estate tech firm, sold to Zillow Group for $108 million in 2015.

Peele also served in growth and marketing roles at Over-the-Rhine-based Astronomer and online auctioneer Everything but the House as well as Inman News and API Nation. More recently, Peele has served as a marketing director at U.S.-based software development firm Nexient, which was recently acquired by NTT Data.

He is also a lifelong musician, the company said.

“Joining the Tixxy team was an absolute no-brainer,” Peele said in a release. “Outside of the fact that I’m a diehard musician and music fan, Eron’s vision, industry knowledge and track record speaks for itself.”

Also joining Peele on the Tixxy team are Cody Grup, head of promoter and venue partnerships, and Randy Nichols, an adviser. All three hires have slowly phased into their roles over the last several weeks.

Grup, who is based in Detroit, has worked as a booking agent and talent buyer for a number of agencies throughout the country. He will help Tixxy work with local venues.

Nichols, meanwhile, is the founder and managing director of New York-based Force Media Management, a management and music-based tech consultancy. Tixxy said his artist management expertise will aid the company as it continues to grow.

Tixxy, an entertainment startup, uses an SMS chatbot to recommend concerts coming to town — but only the ones you care about. It links Spotify or Apple Music accounts to a database of concert dates, using your zip code and basic travel preferences to predictively text you show information.

The startup is the second act for Bucciarelli, who helped exit Soundstr, which developed a technology to help businesses pay music license fees, in 2018. Both ideas came from Bucciarelli’s own experience as a touring musician; fans would constantly miss out on shows, he said, because they didn’t find out about them on time — or at all. Bucciarelli was the original drummer for the early-2000s platinum-selling emo-punk band Hawthorne Heights.

The chatbot is free, and Tixxy’s business model means there’s no incentive to sell data to a third party. The startup partners with Ticketmaster, 10th Street Entertainment and AXS to sell the concerts and events it links fans to; the company takes a small percentage of the ticket sales completed through its system.

Tixxy initially launched in early 2020 but largely sat in hibernation mode given the Covid-19 pandemic. Buciarelli relaunched the company in April.