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Atom’s rival Fandango, which is owned by NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA), also has an app that sells movie tickets via telephone and Internet, but it doesn’t allow users to communicate directly with friends about which tickets they’re buying. “We believe that Atom Tickets has the potential to revolutionize the way audiences go to the movies, and we’re delighted to partner with blue chip studios like Disney and Fox in this cutting edge initiative for the theatrical business,” said Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns. “More than four billion seats go unsold in theaters each year, and Matthew, Ameesh and the Atom team have developed a state-of-the-art app that offers exciting new opportunities to pre-purchase tickets and concessions as well as paving the way for the successful introduction of dynamic ticket pricing.” Established in 2014, Atom Tickets’ Series A funding was led by Lionsgate. “We’ve simplified everything from finding the movie you want to see, to coordinating with friends, to buying concessions, all while making it easier to save. Atom is movie-going for the twenty-first century,” says the company. Anyone can use Atom to browse movie show times and plan with friends, making and sharing plans easily and instantly. “When you get to the theater, you’ve already paid. No need to pull out your wallet or mess with cash.” Atom was designed by a team of movie-lovers, tech geeks, and app gurus, based out of Santa Monica, California. The startup was co-founded by Ameesh Paleja, Matthew Bakal, and Geoff Shaevitz. “It basically takes all the hard work out of planning to go to the movies … It’s like, I want to go, other people want to go, just tell me what you want to do, and then this computer will figure out basically everything we need to worry about,” Paleja said, according to the University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon. “The app itself is beautifully and functionally designed, greeting users with an intuitive wheel display on the home screen that allows for fun and easy perusing of fresh movies, A-Z in theaters and coming soon sections. Trailers, reviews, ratings, show times, theatre information and general movie and cast information are all readily available for users to explore,” said the Beacon’s Assistant Arts & Culture Editor, Michael Lipps. “You want to learn about the movie, great. You want to watch a trailer for an upcoming movie, great. You want to invite your friends, great. You want to just buy your own ticket, great. It’s all in one place,” Bakal said. “Everything you do is helping us to understand what’s going on and what things you care about,” Paleja added. There are also two more distinctive features that allow users to order and pre-pay for their concessions and rally their friends to initiate the process of getting everyone together to head to the movies. Users can also take advantage of in-app communication to further streamline the entire process. The app has had initial success in its beta testing, which is something that Knoxville-based Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), the nation’s largest theater chain, has welcomed in its theatres. Before the Knoxville launch, the system was tried out in test markets in Cookeville, Tenn., and Lima, Ohio. These represented small communities where people would not be as likely to be smartphone or tablet users. If the app could do well in these markets, it surely could succeed in larger towns, Paleja told the Knoxville News Sentinel. Each Knoxville theater had to be equipped with tablets that would enable the staff to scan app users’ phones and receive ticket and concessions orders. Data from these tests showed that about half the smartphone users in those communities had downloaded the Atom Ticket app, Bakal said. Knoxville was picked for the actual launch of the app because it was Regal’s hometown and because it represented a larger market, Paleja said. “You have UT here, a lot of college students that are open to using the app, then you guys (Knoxville) have a very progressive town, a lot of smartphone users, technologically very progressive,” he said. “At Regal we are always looking to provide our guests new options that make the moviegoing experience more convenient. The app is being made available to anyone, including new and current guests, targeting individuals that prefer to order their tickets via their phone,” said Regal’s spokeswoman Sandra Heinig. [caption id="attachment_428962" align="alignleft" width="1024"]Atom_co-founders_MatthewBakal_AmeeshPaleja Atom co-founders Matthew Bakal and Ameesh Paleja, from left, pose for a portrait at their new app promotional launch outside the Regal Cinemas Riviera 8 theatre in downtown Knoxville on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Credit: Adam Lau/News Sentinel)[/caption] “Atom, which previously raised $10 million, has been incubated by Lions Gate. Its 20 employees work out of a former storage closet next to a screening room in the studio’s Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters,” said the Journal’s Ben Fritz. Atom’s design was born out of Paleja’s frustration with planning a night out at the movies with friends. Bakal wants more people to see more movies, and he thinks “there should be an easier way for the industry to match movie supply with consumer demand.” “Going to a movie is a social thing,” Bakal said. “You want to go with your friends.” Shaevitz’s desire to collaborate on Atom stems from his belief that “all people (young, old, and everything in between) want to go out to the movies with friends – they just haven’t had the right tools.” Ameesh Paleja, Atom’s CEO, is an accomplished engineer and technology executive. After starting his career at Microsoft, he moved to Amazon, where he focused on software development and Mobile Services, serving as general manager at its engineering division. He helped launch Amazon’s Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s Appstore — where he served as director of engineering — Cloud Drive, and the Kindle product line. He then became the founding employee of Amazon’s digital R&D facility in Southern California, where he oversaw 550+ employees. He has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of California, San Diego, and holds 16 patents. Matthew Bakal, Atom’s chairman, previously worked at Lions Gate Entertainment from 2013 to 2015, as executive assistant to the EVP of film production/development, where he oversaw day-to-day business development opportunities and strategic initiatives. according to his LinkedIn profile, prior to that he worked as a freelance writer/director/producer, and as a private tutor. According to Atom’s website, he has worked for Warner Bros., Mandate Pictures, Good Universe, and IBM entertainment consulting. According to Atom’s website, he holds an AB in English and American Literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. According to his LinkedIn profile, he holds a BA in Political Science from Yale Geoff Shaevitz, Atom;s co-founder, has spent the last 19 years in the film industry. He has been a development executive at Warner Bros., Summit Entertainment, and currently oversees the Summit label for Lionsgate Entertainment. He has worked on all sorts of movies, ranging from Batman Begins and Twilight to Red and Now You See Me. He holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.]]>