Startup Directory


Richard Liang ’13BUS is founder and CEO of the nightlife app Preo.

Preo is an app that allows you to order and pay for drinks on your smartphone. When your order is ready, go to the Preo section of the bar, show your phone, and get your drink. Save your credit card for one-click orders, so no more tabs.

Richard’s inspiration for Preo occurred on campus during a lecture on innovation with Professor Bill Duggan, Columbia Business School.

“An epiphany suddenly hit me when Professor Duggan spoke about innovation and how Napoleon’s brilliance was nothing more than taking existing military technologies (e.g. a cannon) and applying them in different situations. Anyone can innovate, in any industry.”

“Shortly thereafter, I thought about two successful products—restaurant buzzers & mobile food ordering—and applied the idea to nightlife, specifically bars, to create Preo. Why nightlife? It’s a booming industry that’s exceptionally slow to innovate and labor-intensive. The last time that bars embraced change was when they introduced credit cards. I wanted to be the catalyst for that change.”

“Columbia has been critical to the success of my venture. I exampled out of many Core Curriculum classes during my first year and focused my coursework on marketing and entrepreneurship. In many ways, Columbia gave me the confidence and the resources to pursue my dream in a way that was enjoyable and not nearly as stressful as trying to launch a business from my apartment.  I am lucky to have a very strong support network, which includes fellow entrepreneurs, students, and administration.”

Richard Liang tied for second place in the 2013 Columbia Engineering Venture Competition for Preo.

Check out @Columbia_Biz alum Richard Liang ’13BUS on the flash of insight that lead to his #startup : Columbia MBA Program: A Flash of Insight