Imagine this: You’re in Los Angeles, taking friends or clients out for a night on the town. You get to the club, saunter right past a line of hopeful LA clubbers, flash the doorman your phone and walk right inside to your table where they're setting up bottle service — no wait necessary.
Become one of the 30,000 Discotech users and that could easily be you by next weekend. Former Bain consultant Ian Chen was working long, hectic hours when he and his colleagues went out to blow off steam. Dealing with promoters to organize bottle service, however, was incredibly painful.
That’s why Chen and his two co-founders Mark Wu and Ian Bushong (pictured right) created Discotech — to bring transparency to the outdated and inefficient nightlife space.
In case you’re not an avid nightowl, here’s how the process for obtaining bottle service with a promoter is cumbersome — think constant calling and texting, inaccurate pricing and inevitable mistakes. Chen and his crew have disrupted this method by cutting out the middleman entirely.The free-to-download mobile app allows users to reserve bottle service, discover events, purchase pre-sale tickets, and sign up for VIP guest lists at nightlife venues in different cities. Discotech has done $600,000 in revenue since launching and partnering with 80 nightlife venues mainly in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with a growing number in Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Traction was almost immediate. Clubs bought in quickly, with the company working out the same deal as nightlife promoters: 20 percent commission on every bottle service booking, a service fee on ticket sales and a per-head fee for guest lists.
The three founders are all UC Berkeley grads living and working together out of a Hollywood apartment, and they took this same model to Las Vegas for seven months to conquer that market is well.
But what about exclusivity at hot clubs? Isn’t being chosen from a line outside a quintessential aspect of club-going? The truth is, assures Chen, this selectiveness isn’t really an issue anymore. Clubs want to get you in and get spending, and the mark-up on events and bottle service is a very attractive element of working with a company like Discotech.
As for current competition, Chen believes that 99 percent is still from traditional promoters, so there is plenty of market share left to grab, plus a few related apps around the country that serve as a middleman between users and promoters who still make the bookings.
Discotech is looking to perfect the model in Los Angeles and Las Vegas before rolling out to other US cities and eventually internationally.