Ian Chen

Ian Chen

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.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreyianchen
Los Angeles, California, United States
Member since July 13, 2016
  • About
Investor interests
Locations of interest
Credentials None
2008 University of California Berkeley , BS , Business and IEOR

I am a(n):


Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Companies I work or worked for:
Bain & Company, The Gores Group
Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

Winner of LA TechWeek Pycon pitch contest in 2014

If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, 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/innovators 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

You mention Priceline/OpenTable - what have you learned from their playbook, if anything about how to grow your listings?

We were actually able to get ahold of the Stanford GSB case study on OpenTable. One of the most important things we learned from their "growing pains" is to avoid spreading your operations too thin. One of their critical mistakes in the beginning was expanding to too many cities in a short amount of time. Their operations failed and they ended up retreating back to only two cities (SF and NYC). After they became more focused, they were able to set up a more solid foundation upon which to expand naturally from.

We also learned that its good to "start from the top" when it comes to our venue partners. In other words, to get strong names on the platform first, and then to roll up followers later.

You mention strong SEO -give us examples of what you’re doing.

My Co-Founder Mark is an SEO guru, and he has gotten us deep linked through many content websites, blogs, and through other channels such as Yelp and Quora. If you search for bottle service at any major club in Vegas for example (XS, Marquee, Tao, Encore Beach Club, Hakkasan, or Omnia et al), you will find Discotech in one of the first searches.

Are active users those who “purchased” an event or ticket?

We count any user who has opened the app and engaged in the app as an active user. A lot of times, users will open the app to view our events page and browse nightlife options in their city. (Our events calendar is our most widely used feature / page)

For each nightlife venue, what’s the average number of events to sell per month?

A typical nightlife venue will be open between 3-4 nights a week. So roughly 12-16 events a month.

You mention, VIP Bottle Services - what is that exactly? Are customers actually purchasing alcohol?

VIP bottle service is a food and beverage minimum spend that customers agree to when reserving a table at a nightlife venue. Customers usually spend the majority of their minimum spend on the purchase of alcohol at a venue - though they are not required to purchase any alcohol if they do not want to.

So the end user buys a ticket and pays a fee to process it via Discotech and that’s what you keep? What’s the processing fee and how does that compare to alternative ways for a consumer to purchase a ticket?

That is correct. Our service fee is comparable or less than other alternatives.

When a guest RSVPs for an event and then checks in (and pays), you get up to $5. Are you doing more to promote this RSVP list? How is this different from someone just buying a ticket?

We definitely promote this feature very aggressively to our userbase. In fact, the guest list admission has been the primary source of our organic growth and positive customer feedback. We also partner with venues in different cities to offer Discotech exclusive guest lists to our users as a way to get more downloads.

The difference between a RSVP vs a ticket, is that to get in on the RSVP, you must arrive by a certain time during the night. (Usually before 10:30 or 11 PM, which is technically "earlier" during the night). Ticket holders are guaranteed admission at any time in the night, and can arrive later if they choose to.

What are “customers” purchasing?

Customers when they purchase tickets, are purchasing an admission ticket to get into the club.

Customers when they reserve bottle service, are purchasing:

1. VIP admission (each table comes with a certain number of VIP tickets which allow them to skip the line)
2. Table Rental - they are given a table to sit at for the duration of the event
3. Food and beverage - the minimum goes towards the purchase of food or drinks off the menu at the venue

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.