Today's Entrepreneur


Today's Entrepreneur: Ian Chen

No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs: Not controlling their burn rate

Innovation series by Jam Narte
October 6, 2016
Short URL:

Today's Entrepreneur is Ian Chen, co-founder of Discotech. Discotech is the OpenTable for Nightlife.  Its  free to download mobile app allows users to discover events, reserve tables, purchase tickets, and get access to nightlife venues in different cities.  Its mission is to bring efficiency and transparency to the grossly outdated nightlife space.

Ian was born and raised in Potomac, Maryland. Ian graduated from Berkeley with degrees in IEOR and Business. He started his career as a management consultant at Bain and Co. After Bain, he worked as a Private Equity Associate at The Gores Group.

Here's a little bit about Ian:

I am a(n):


Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Companies I work or worked for:
Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

Winner of LA TechWeek Pycon pitch contest in 2014

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

I want to invent something cool.

My favorite startups:

Venmo, Uber

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Being in control of your own destiny and taking pride in what you have built/created is extremely rewarding. On the flip side, any shortcomings or failures are yours to own as well.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

Not controlling their burn rate

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. Nothing is more important than the team. 
2. Doing a start up is a roller coaster of emotions. 
3. Its a marathon, not a sprint

Full bio

Ian Chen was born and raised in the suburbs of Potomac, Maryland.  Growing up, Ian was always a bit of a geek.  He always had an affinity for the sciences, and was actively involved in his High School’s different science teams and math competitions.  He feels partially redeemed by the fact that he also played sports as a kid, and was able to start on his high school’s tennis team, which won the county title all 4 years he was on board.  After high school, Ian moved to California to attend UC Berkeley where he would earn degrees in Business and Industrial Engineering. 

Upon graduating in 2008, he started his professional career as a management consultant at Bain & Company’s San Francisco office.  While at Bain, Ian spent half his time working on corporate strategy cases for large Fortune 500 Tech companies, and the other half working in Bain’s Private Equity Group.  Upon finishing two years at Bain, Ian moved down to Los Angeles to join The Gores Group, a $4B AUM Private Equity Firm focused on leveraged buyouts and operational turnarounds.  While at Gores, Ian looked at over 100 different business opportunities across a wide sector of industries, and also beefed up his financial modeling skills.  After performing due diligence for a year and a half, Gores deployed him to work as an Operator at two of the Fund’s most struggling portfolio companies.  While at National Envelope and Scoville Fasteners, Ian would gain first hand operational experience working directly under each company’s CEO to turn around their business. 

It was during Ian’s stint working in Private Equity that he became exposed to the world of bottle service and nightlife.  While going out with his co-workers, Ian would ask himself why it was so difficult to make a reservation for bottle service at different clubs in LA.  Despite the fact that customers were trying to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, they still had to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort to get pricing information and to submit a reservation request.  When he realized that no one in the space was doing a good job of solving this problem, he decided to team up with two of his close friends from UC Berkeley to start Discotech.  He currently lives and works out of an apartment in Hollywood with his Co-Founders.  Together, they are disrupting the antiquated nightlife market and bringing transparency and efficiency to the space.  

Discotech is one of the presenters on stage pitching Mark Cuban (Maverick), Dana Settle (Greycroft), Brian Lee (Honest Company), Mike Jones (Science) and so many more at Splash LA 2016, 10/13 in Santa Monica. Register Here.


Editor's Note: Splash is Vator's startup conference, gathering top CEOs to share their lessons learned, and highlighting promising new ones. This year's winner and runner-up were Industry and Arbiclaims, respective.

Our annual Post Seed conference is around the corner on Dec. 1 at The Village in San Francisco. Speakers include Chamath Palihapitiya (Founder & CEO, Social Capital LP) and Jeff Lawson (Founder, CEO & Chairman,Twilio) and many more. Join us! REGISTER HERE.  Be eligible to get a complimentary ticket to Post Seed. Join the Vator Investment Club before Thanksgiving.  Join VIC.

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Description: Discotech is the OpenTable for Nightlife.  Our free to download mobile app allows users to discover events, reserve tables, purchase...
Bio: Born and raised in Potomac, Maryland. Ian graduated from Berkeley with degrees in IEOR and Business. He started his career as...

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