Can technology mitigate the variable nature of nightlife?
ADANAI asked CEO of Discotech Ian Chen. Chen’s mobile app (available on iOS and Android) allows users to discover upcoming nightlife events, sign up for guest lists, buy tickets and book tables at over 60 of the most popular venues in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Las Vegas.
The app provides valuable information about individual clubs, such as the type of music being played, which DJs are performing, cover charges, and what the club looks like on the inside.
For bottle service enthusiasts, the benefits of Discotech are indispensable; it allows you to compare the exact cost of different tables on different nights, access exclusive promotions, and earn loyalty points that can be used to redeem free bottles and other enticing rewards.
San Francisco, Discotech’s most recently acquired city, is still in the process of adding booking details, so users are encouraged to email, text, or call 415-735-6716 for assistance. Keep an eye out on the horizon for New York and Miami next.
ADANAI: Discotech has four main partners (Ian Chen, Mark Wu, Atul Bhatia and Arshdeep Mand). Do your lives resemble the TV show “Silicon Valley” at all?
Ian Chen: I actually have not had the chance to watch the show before, but I think in many ways, our lives do resemble that of the quintessential startup. Our team of founders lives together, and works together out of the same house currently based in West Hollywood; we call it the Discohaus. Our team is constantly working together out of our living room; brainstorming and throwing ideas at each other throughout the day. We go to sleep late (usually after 4 a.m.), and wake up late as well. For fun, we get out and play sports together, and we occasionally have an intense game of “Settlers of Catan” at night.
You came up with the idea for the app after having one too many “horrible promoter experiences.” Tell us about one (or a few).
One of these “nightmares” happened in Las Vegas a couple of years back. I had a large group of friends flying in from around the country for a reunion party there, so I wanted to make sure that we were totally buttoned up and set to have a great night of bottle service at one of the hottest clubs. After investing a ton of time finding different promoters, figuring out my options, and negotiating prices, I finally locked down a table.
After a solid pre-game with all of my friends, we arrived at the venue at the specified time, only to find out that our table had been given away and that the minimum for our group to enter would be thousands of dollars more than we had agreed upon. Despite our rage/frustration, our hands were tied – it was already late, we did not know where else to go, and I didn’t want to disappoint all of my friends – so we reluctantly agreed to pay the higher minimum. Never in my life did the vodka taste so bitter.
What do you think it takes to launch a successful app in 2014?
Ultimately, I think you need a great product, great marketing, and luck. To have a great product and great marketing, you need a great team.
You have already launched in Los Angeles and Las Vegas? What other cities are on the list?
Eventually, we want Discotech to be live in every city in America, and then in international cities. That being said, the cities that will most likely be on our list next will include Miami, New York and Chicago.
How have you seen nightlife change in the past few years? What are some trends you anticipate?
Over the last few years, I think that bottle service has become more mainstream. The concept of “popping bottles” has become more prevalent in popular music, and I definitely notice it appearing more often in my various social media outlets.
However, the biggest change in the last couple of years would be the growing shift towards clubs selling pre-sale tickets to their events. Las Vegas clubs started selling tickets a year or two ago, and we are starting to see Los Angeles clubs do the same. Pre-sale tickets are usually cheaper, and often times allow for faster entrance into the club compared to general admission, but a lot of customers are still unaware that they can buy them or don’t know how to. This is a major issue that Discotech is hoping to address in our next major release.
Do you think using the app will take away from certain clubs’ “exclusivity”?
Yes, in the sense that we make it more accessible for people to get into those exclusive clubs. Historically, people have always had the option of bottle service / paying for a premium, but they may not have had an easy means of doing so. (They may not have known how or what to ask, whom to contact, etc.) We just simplify the process and cut out the nonsense.
Discotech is free to download and, for a limited time, you can get a free bottle of champagne with your first table booking at any Los Angeles location. Use the promo code “DISCO.” Nothing’s stopping you from hopping on the bottle popping bandwagon.