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Where the vibes started 🗓️

May 19, 2024
5 min read

VibePay wasn’t always VibePay.

In fact, we weren’t even a payments business, starting as just a Twitter handle: @VibeTickets.

Like most businesses, Vibe was born out of a need to solve a problem - and that problem was the middleman artificially inflating ticket prices, deliberately positioning themselves between buyer and seller to justify a fee.

I discovered that people around me shared my frustration: they didn’t like paying a fee for the privilege of buying or selling gig tickets online and would proactively go out of their way to avoid doing so. A real vibe killer.

So, like anyone of my generation when facing a problem, I took to social media, and, as it turns out, many others felt the same way. People wanted an alternative to what already existed.

Having already sold some spare tickets I had for an Ed Sheeran gig on Twitter, I was able to avoid the middlemen first-hand, saving myself money in the process. I wanted to create a similar experience for as many others as I could.

(Who knew that directly engaging with a human being would be the best way to do business?!)

These positive experiences led me to build a #goodvibes community that also wanted to buy and sell tickets with no drama and no fees. We were connecting thousands of people everyday and Vibe became a symbol. 

It was a finger up to the middlemen who preyed on those in need. 

I never intended to create a brand as such, but when Richard Branson and other notable business figures came into the picture, it started to legitimise what we were doing. Here I was, a young lad from Lancashire in my early 20’s, giving it a good go! 

The Vibe community became more about selling tickets, though.

‍It was about connecting people directly to the experiences they loved and other people with more things in common. We started seeing friendships, even relationships, form both online and in person. 

It was Richard who told me, “Luke, Vibe is not in the ticketing business; you’re in the business of connecting people and making unique experiences and people trust you because you are always your authentic self.”

How We Upped The Vibes

Overall, things were going pretty well for VibeTickets. We quickly became the UK”s number one fan-led resale marketplace, from which others were born.

We had some good press coverage as a mission-led business that wasn’t afraid to do something new and, above all else, do the right thing.

We were pretty bolshy, too, calling out what good and bad looks like on our social channels - hence #goodvibes and #badvibes became our ‘thing.’

Oh, and the community vibe? Seriously #GoodVibes.

There was still one problem, though.

Online transactions were steeped in fraud, mistrust, high fees and crazy settlement times. People didn’t want to dole out their bank details - and who can afford to wait weeks for their money and pay for the privilege?

We incorporated PayPal into our fee-free marketplace. But despite trying to educate our community about the benefits PayPal, they weren’t here for it. 

They didn’t want to pay the middleman - and, to be fair, why should they? We’d shown them a way of avoiding them. 

This was my lightbulb moment. 

The community backlash to PayPal was the trigger point I needed: here was a gap in the market, and I knew how to solve it. I was going to leverage changes in legislation.

In 2018, PSD2 (Open Banking) passed and I took the leap, applied to the FCA for a licence to build my own payment network.

A proper ‘pinch me’ moment as I was always fascinated by the origin and growth stories of Ebay and Paypal in the early noughties.

Following that inspiration the plan was to integrate VibePay into our own successful marketplace VibeTickets. We had a clear route to over 250,000 regular users processing large volumes of peer to peer payments.

And then COVID struck. Just when everything was going so well for us, you couldn't write it!

Our go-to-market strategy was null and void overnight. Suddenly, no one was allowed to go to their local shop, never mind a gig with hundreds of people.

We needed to change tack.

We returned to the drawing board and asked ourselves the only question that really mattered in that moment: why did we start doing all of this in the first place? The answer has always been easy: connecting people, making a difference.

It became clear that VibePay, not as part of VibeTickets, but as a standalone solution, could continue the brand mission of removing the middlemen, this time for any type of transaction, was the answer!

We thought the idea had serious legs, the team was super pumped and we were ready to run. Working from home during lockdown. We started building integrations into all the major UK banks. We were on a mission to build a real time A2A payment app facilitating peer-to-peer transactions, but we quickly grew into a solution for business owners.

Online streamers, side hustlers, side-income creatives. We bloody love these kinda people. People like YOU - we want you to keep your hard earned profits.

Every. Last. Penny.

Cos that’s what you deserve!

#goodvibes Only. Forever.

The first VibePay consumer app was launched in March 2020, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We might have changed our business name, our product, and even extended our customer base, focusing primarily on sellers.

We’ve got some serious exciting developments ahead of us.

But one thing that has and will always remain the same is our promise:

We will never charge transaction fees.

And we’ll call out anyone - even the big corporates - that do.

Get Paid. The VibePay Way.

We are on a mission to scrap transaction fees for good.

We are rebelling against faceless corporate entities, money-grabbing middlemen, and bad industry vibes.

We connect people to experiences that matter to them and challenge the notion that transaction fees are the ‘norm’.

We empower our community of sellers and everyday people to manage their money safely, efficiently, and with zero strings (or fees) attached.

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