The Silicon Review
“We re-imagine the most convenient way for users to plan a night out at the movies, including
pre-ordering your favorite concessions.”
Ever since the first television set, the movie theater industry has had to compete with in-home entertainment. Although the industry is adapting to the latest technology, serving alcohol and
even encouraging phone use to keep young consumers in their theater seats year after year, it’s
still struggling for growth.
In light of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present Atom Tickets.
The company develops and markets an Android and iOS application that allows users to find and buy movie tickets and concessions across the country. Its application also helps movie audiences to order food in advance, as well as coordinate ticket payments and screenings for groups that want to see films together.
Atom Tickets was incorporated in 2014 and is headquartered Santa Monica, California.
Matthew Bakal & Drew Tennenbaum, Atom Tickets Chairman/Head of Engineering Respectively, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Taking Flight: Getting Off on the Right Foot
Matthew Bakal: Atom Tickets was born out of a simple idea: more people would go to the movies more often if we made it easier to buy movie tickets with friends and family. We looked to bring the ease of Amazon, Lyft, and Open Table and designed a socially-driven movie-going experience with convenience at heart. We made it possible to invite friends, to pay for your group or pay separately, to scan a digital ticket at the theater and to pre-order concessions at participating theaters. These features weren’t available through other movie ticketing sites or apps at the time. It took a couple of years to build into reality but we launched Atom Tickets nationally in September 2016 as the first to offer these features.
Challenges: Taking the Bull by the Horn
Drew Tennenbaum: One of our challenges in getting started was learning to work with exhibitor partners (the theater owners and their various locations). Theaters have different infrastructures and their networks were not opened to Atom. As a result, we required Wi-Fi to make our scanners work. Getting strong Wi-Fi was a problem in certain rural locations. After working diligently with theaters and spending many hours in-person giving hands-on support, we earned their trust to connect to their networks, which made for a better guest experience at the theaters. We learned that though it’s important to start with reliable and secure technology, it’s just as important to invest in relationships.
First Project Roll Out: ‘An Amazing Feat’
Matthew Bakal: It was a flawless launch that we worked incredibly hard to produce. As I mentioned, we launched the Atom Tickets app in fall of 2016, but prior to that, we worked to gain the partnership of two of the largest exhibitors – AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas. We spent months on the road installing Atom hardware in various theater locations. Our product team was working around the clock to make the app and website fully functional. And then we flipped a switch, so to speak, and saw our very first orders come in from cities across the country. Everything was working – the platform, the team, our partners. It was amazing.
An Overview: Of Products/Services
Drew Tennenbaum: Atom Tickets re-imagines the most convenient way for users to plan a night out at the movies, including pre-ordering your favorite concessions. The free app and website provide relevant reviews, trailers and synopses to help moviegoers make the best decision on what to see. App users simply purchase their own tickets and then share ticket info with friends who can join them with a few easy taps.
At the theater, users skip the box office lines and go directly to the ticket attendants and Atom express concession lanes where they simply scan a QR code on Atom-branded tablets to redeem their order. Atom’s innovative platform keeps all plans, messages, payment, tickets and rewards in one convenient place—your phone.
Moreover, Atom teamed up with recognized brands like T-Mobile and Chase Pay to provide unparalleled user experiences through special ticketing offers for top studio movie releases, making purchasing tickets faster, easier and more social than ever. Atom also partnered with top studios to connect them with audiences that buy movie tickets using proprietary data and targeting capabilities on Atom and across the web.
Factors: ‘That Make Our Company Stand Out From the Competition’
Drew Tennenbaum: There are a few factors that make Atom one of the best tech companies. One is the strength of the team. When it comes to hiring the right person, we set the bar high. Simply put, we hire smart people that stretch beyond their role. We believe intelligence and mindset outweighs a skill set. Additionally, we offer access to learning tools and sites along with a budget for attending educational conferences. We encourage people to grow professionally while they are here. I was an Education major before I switched to computer science, creating an environment that fosters growth as it’s important to me and the rest of our leadership team. Another reason Atom is a leading tech company: our team is always evaluating new technology to see if it could help our existing platform in terms of creating more efficiency or driving scale.
Moreover, as a startup, we feel it’s our responsibility to stand out and give users a compelling reason to try us as opposed to another known brand. Atom was born out of the very idea that digital movie ticketing was in need of a powerful new experience. We’ve been in the market now for over two years and we’re always looking to create innovative new experiences. It is what that led us to partner with Amazon on advance screenings for Amazon Prime Members, power movie ticketing on IMDb and Amazon Echo, and integrate Atom movie ticketing in Google Search, Facebook and Instagram. We also recently announced a partnership with the Honda Innovation team to develop movie ticketing for their Dream Drive project.
Future Arrangements: Sky’s the Limit
Matthew Bakal: In a couple of years, Atom will become the place you turn to plan a night out – from getting a ride to dinner, tickets to a movie and someplace to enjoy a cocktail or late night bite.
Leadership | Atom Tickets
Matthew Bakal: Matthew Bakal, Co-founder, is the Chairman of Atom Tickets. He has a unique background that includes extensive experience in both the creative and financial sides of the entertainment business. Mr. Bakal has worked for Warner Bros., Mandate Pictures, Good Universe, and IBM entertainment consulting. Previously at Lionsgate Entertainment, he oversaw day-to-day business development opportunities and strategic initiatives. Mr. Bakal holds an AB in English and American Literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Drew Tennenbaum, Head of Engineering: Drew Tennenbaum found his passion for technology at the early age of 12 programming on his Commodore computer. Since then, he has led teams building products that range from massively multiplayer online video games to consumer apps running on mobile devices. Before joining Atom, Drew managed multiple teams at Amazon’s Appstore in Southern California. The desire to transform the industry is what attracted him to Atom. He joined as the Head of Engineering in January of 2015 and played a critical role in the launch of the Atom app. Drew holds a BS in Computer Science and Math from The University of Arizona.