Nikil Viswanathan

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Nikil Viswanathan
Picture of Nikil Viswanathan
Viswanathan in Forbes, Jan 2017
Born (1987-10-06) October 6, 1987 (age 35)[1]
EducationStanford University[2]
(M.S. Computer Science, 2012)
Stanford University
(B.S. Computer Science, 2010)
Lubbock High School
AwardsForbes 30 Under 30

Nikil Viswanathan is an American entrepreneur and public figure. He is the cofounder and CEO of Alchemy, the blockchain company backed by Stanford University, the Google Chairman, Charles Schwab, Reid Hoffman, and other billionaire founders and executives.[3][4][5] Previously, Viswanathan cofounded Down To Lunch, the social hangout iPhone app which hit No. 1 in the App Store social rankings.[2] He also created Check In To My Flight, a website which let travelers automatically check in to their Southwest Airlines flight.[6][7] In January 2017, he was honored by Forbes with their 30 Under 30 award.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Viswanathan grew up in Lubbock, Texas and attended Lubbock High School. At Lubbock High, he was valedictorian and had the highest GPA in the history of the school.[8] While growing up, he participated in the Boy Scouts of America and was awarded the Eagle Scout honor.[9]

He attended Stanford University where he did his undergraduate and master's degrees in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning.[2] While at Stanford he did product management internships at Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.[2] During a winter break he built Fountainhop, a campus events platform that was used widely at Stanford, and with friends expanded it to colleges around the country.[10]

Down To Lunch[edit]

Down To Lunch is a social iPhone application created by Viswanathan and his cofounder Joseph Lau. After moving to San Francisco, they said they missed their friends because they were working all the time.[11][12] After finding it difficult to discover which of their friends was available when they wanted to hangout, they conceived the idea of being able to press a button to send a hangout request to all of their friends. One a Sunday afternoon in a "One Direction" fueled coding session, they created the app. Within 48 hours, people around the world were using the app, even though it was only available as a link from Viswanathan's Facebook.[11] Down To Lunch rapidly started being used by students at colleges around the country, sometimes growing to be used by more than 15% of a college campus within 24 hours without any marketing.[13][14][15][16][17][18] The app rose to be the #1 app in the App Store social category and #2 overall.[2][12] Down To Lunch was featured in The New York Times,[2] the front page of Yahoo,[19] Forbes,[1] Business Insider,[13] TechCrunch,[11] and other international media publications.[16][15][14] The New York Times featured a front page cover story about Down To Lunch in their business section on April 20, 2016.[2]


Dubbed the "Microsoft of Blockchain" by the press,[3] Alchemy was started by Viswanathan and his cofounder Joseph Lau to provide the platform that enables developers to create great blockchain applications.[4] Alchemy powers 4 million users in 200 countries per week[3] and has been covered by over 50 press features including Wired,[4] Bloomberg,[5] TechCrunch,[3] Yahoo Finance,[20] and many others. The company announced $15 million in funding from Stanford University, Samsung, Pantera Capital, Coinbase, the Google Chairman, Charles Schwab, Jay Z, Reid Hoffman, Jerry Yang, Duncan Niederauer, Tom Glocer, Will Smith, and other billionaire technology executives, Stanford computer science professors, and professional sports teams owners.[3][4][5]

Check In To My Flight[edit]

While visiting his sister at Wharton, Viswanathan had an hour before he went out to a party so he built a website that would automatically check him into his Southwest Airlines flight.[6][21][22] He posted it on Facebook, and said over 10,000 people were on the site in just a couple weeks.[23][7][24][25] He was forced to shut it down after Southwest Airlines sent him a Cease and Desist letter.[6][26][27]

Personal life[edit]

In January 2018, Viswanathan was named as one of the "100 Most Eligible Singles in America" and top 3 most eligible bachelors in San Francisco according to Hinge and Business Insider.[28] He resides in San Francisco.[28]


  1. ^ a b c Olenski, Steve. "Joseph Lau, 27, and Nikil Viswanathan, 29 – pg.18". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Goel, Vindu (20 April 2016). "Down to Lunch Founders Pursue Less-Traveled Path to App Success". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Alchemy is secretly fixing blockchain's node nightmare". TechCrunch. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  4. ^ a b c d "The Startup That Aims to Decrypt Blockchain for Business". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  5. ^ a b c "Stanford Grads Get School's Backing for Blockchain Startup". Bloomberg.
  6. ^ a b c "Lawsuit Won't Slow Down Stanford Grad". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  7. ^ a b "Airline Forces Stanford Grad To Shut Down His Website Because It Saved People Money". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  8. ^ "Nikil's Life". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  9. ^ "Nikil". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  10. ^ Gupta, Shubham. "For Students, By Students & Of Students". Tech Guru. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  11. ^ a b c Kulkarni, Nitish (26 August 2015). "This One-Afternoon Project Could Change How You Meet Friends". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  12. ^ a b DTL, Team. "The Down To Lunch Story". Down To Lunch. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  13. ^ a b "College kids are going crazy for an app that helps them spontaneously 'lunch, 'blaze,' or 'chill' with friends, and it just shot up above Facebook in the App Store". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  14. ^ a b "#DTL -- Your New Favorite App". Odyssey. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  15. ^ a b "Students across campus are Down to Lunch". The Daily Universe. 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  16. ^ a b "'Down to Lunch' on the rise // The Observer". The Observer. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  17. ^ @vanderhueves, Alex Vanden Heuvel. "Down To Lunch app spreads across UGA's campus". The Red and Black. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  18. ^ "Down for pretty much anything – Campus Times". 19 February 2016. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  19. ^ "Down to Lunch app gets friends together as developers shun money". Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  20. ^ "Blockchain dev toolmaker Alchemy raises $15M in Series A to fuel global push". Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  21. ^ "Southwest Early Check In". Million Mile Secrets. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  22. ^ "Southwest Giveaway Winners + Free Southwest Check-in Tool + Delta Snack/Drink Giveaway". TravelByPoints. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  23. ^ Dremann, Sue. "Stanford grad's site nets Southwest 'cease and desist'". Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  24. ^ "Check In To My Flight". Check In To My Flight. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  25. ^ "Blog: Check into my flight.. A cool site gets takedown at Hostjury". Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  26. ^ "Cassidy: Southwest Airlines crushes Nikal Viswanathan's easy-check-in website – The Mercury News". 6 November 2012. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  27. ^ Phillips, Alice (24 October 2012). "Stanford grad site receives cease-and-desist order". Stanford Daily. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  28. ^ a b "The 100 most eligible singles of 2018 across America, according to the dating app Hinge". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-04-08.

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