We had the good fortune of connecting with Ian Chen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ian, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The idea for Discotech came to us from the customer’s perspective – we were creating a solution to a problem that we were dealing with. Back in my mid-twenties, I was frequenting nightlife venues and traveling around the country in search of parties and music festivals – probably having a little too much fun for my own good. Despite the fact that I was a customer trying to spend money at these establishments, I found it very challenging to do so. Back then, it was necessary to track down a human promoter, call/text them, and negotiate on pricing. This process was very inefficient and non-transparent. I believed that there had to be an easier way for customers to get information on nightlife events, and to make direct reservations and purchases. Other industries have already seen human middle-men disrupted by technology, including OpenTable for restaurants, and booking engines such as Expendia, Booking.com, Kayak disrupting the travel reservation space. My team and I believed that we could copy this model and disrupt the nightlife industry in a similar fashion.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Founded in 2013, Discotech is the OpenTable for Nightlife. Our free mobile app (available on iOS and Android) and website make it easier for customers to discover events, follow artists, buy tickets, reserve VIP tickets, and sign up for free guest lists at nightlife venues in different cities. To date, we are live in over 60 cities, and are partnered with 1400+ of the biggest clubs, pool parties, concert venues, and music festivals around the world. Our app has been downloaded over 1M times, and we have a 4.9/5 star review on both iOS and Android platforms. What sets us apart from our competition is the breadth of venues we are partnered with, as well as the amount of inventory on our platform. We also have a great product, which looks good and is easy for customers to use. I believe that the combination of having an intuitive UI/UX with great customer service is what got us the 4.9/5 star review across ~10K reviews. It was absolutely NOT easy getting to where we are today. The Co-founders started the company in a boot-strapped manner, not drawing any salary for over 2 years. We made a lot of mistakes along the way but gutted it out because we believed in the vision. Today, we are facing another unprecedented challenge with the Covid Pandemic, which has devastated our revenue and forced us to furlough a good portion of our team. However, we believe that nightlife will return in the future, and we are staying focused on improving our product and service. We are a SCRAPPY team, very efficient with the funding we have raised, and we work really hard. A lot of our competitors have fallen out of the race, and we believe that we will come out of this pandemic in a very strong fashion.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well assuming Covid wasn’t happening, we would of course have to check out the nightlife scene given what we do here at Discotech! Must see nightlife spots: – Omnia San Diego
– Sunburn pool party during the day When we aren’t out living the Disco lifestyle, we would definitely take some time to check out the beach and maybe take a surfing lesson. As for food, would definitely need to get some fish tacos and fresh seafood!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people to give shoutouts to:
– First and foremost, to my Co-Founders and the Discotech Team.
– All of our investors who believed in us and took a chance on vision and team.
– All of our venue partners for trusting us to help them sell their inventory
– Our customers! Thanks for giving us a shot and allowing us to help you make memorable nights out!