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Meet Ian Chen of Discotech

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Chen.

Discotech was founded in 2013 by three friends from UC Berkeley’s class of 2008, Ian, Mark Wu, and Ian Bushong. None of the founders had any professional or work experience in the nightlife space but enjoyed going out to clubs as customers. However, they felt that it was way too difficult and inefficient to make plans and gain admission to clubs. As a result, they decided to create a mobile app that would make it more transparent and efficient for people do discover events, reserve tables, purchase tickets, and sign up for guest list at nightclubs – an “OpenTable for Nightlife”.

The team raised an initial round of funding of $400,000 and stayed super lean (The founders didn’t take a salary for 2.5 years) as they built out the product, launched, and started to grow. They made the first round of funding last over 3 years before raising over $1M in a second round back in early 2017. Today, they are partnered with over 200 nightlife venues across 15 cities and have a team of 11 full-time employees.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all! It has definitely been a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs. We have had important members of our team leave us through the first and second years of starting Discotech, which was a huge blow to morale and to productivity.

We had a round of funding collapse on us in late 2015 when our lead investor pulled out at the last minute (basically left us at the altar). This was a huge down point in our company history as we were very close to running out of funds and the Founders all questioned if we should continue or not. We decided to give it until March 2016 to see if our metrics would turn around after the slow Winter season, fortunately, they did.

Back in early 2015, we moved to Las Vegas in order to expand the company. We did whatever was necessary to grow and survive!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Discotech – what should we know?
Discotech is the OpenTable for Nightlife. Our free to download mobile app and website make it easier and more transparent for customers to discover events, reserve tables, purchase tickets, and sign up for VIP guest lists at nightlife venues across different cities. To date, we are partnered with over 200 different nightlife and pool party venues across 15 cities.

I am proud of our easy to use product, the great reviews that we have on the iOS and Android app stores, as well as our excellent customer reviews on Yelp. It means we have built a product + service that our customers love, and that was the goal all along – to make a product that people love.

I think what sets us apart from other products are:
1. Our breadth – we are partnered with much more venues across more cities
2. Our service – we have people on our team dedicated to customer success and fast responses
3. Our product – I don’t think any of our competitors have a product that is as easy to use + intuitive as ours

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
1. Hustle – doing whatever is necessary to win. (i.e, moving to different cities with the whole team to expand)
2. Grit – not giving up when things look like bleak. (i.e, team members leaving, running out of money)
3. Frugalness – making our limited funds last multiple years


  • Our app and website are totally free!

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. James

    April 19, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Nice! I love discotech 🙂

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