Founded in 2011 by Dan Berger (GRD ’10), the event-planning software startup Social Tables received $13 million in investments to aid its expansion.
The new round of funding will help launch a generation of products and expand employment. Social Tables currently has 135 employees serving 4,300 customers.
According to Berger, the funding for Social Tables has progressed in two rounds. The startup’s first round of funding came from four investors joining an incubator and investing $25,000 each for a total of $100,000.
The most recent round of funding raised $13 million, drawing investments from a Series B round led by Baltimore-based venture capital firm QuestMark Partners. The investment brought the company’s total funds to nearly $24 million.
However, Berger said the recent equipment manufacturers, including LG Corporation, ASUSTek Computer Inc. and HTC Corporation.
“The funding is not a lot of money if you think about the stage that we’re in and the kind of investing people do in this stage,” Berger said.
Berger explained that as Social Table is a growth company, $13 million in funding is used quickly.
“We’re a growth company. Growth companies raise a lot of money in order to continue growing,” Berger said. “It did come as a surprise. We had a process that took about four months and we chose the right partner that we were most excited about.”
The inspiration for Social Tables struck Berger after he attended a friend’s wedding and conceptualized that guests might be better served if each wedding table had a digital seating chart and Facebook profiles to spur further conversation. With this idea in mind, Berger started Social Tables as a side project while he obtained his master’s degree at Georgetown.
Social Tables brings locations and event planners together online to coordinate meetings of all sizes. Customers include hotels and various event venues, including the Georgetown University Law School and the McDonough School of Business. The Social Tables network has access to 1.5 billion square feet of event space and has facilitated more than 1 million events.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the company has received various awards such as the 2015 Innovator of the Year from Catersource and Event Solutions.
Berger emphasized the importance of the District in the formation of Social Tables and how the city is conducive to startups.
“Washington, D.C., is not seen by many as a startup destination, but we have an incredible ecosystem that we like to highlight,” Berger said. “We’re working on contributing to the community. We’ve hosted over 90 events in our office in the last six months just for the tech scene and entrepreneurship scene.”
Jeff Reid, adjunct professor of strategy at the MSB and the founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, or Startup Hoyas, worked with Berger during his time at Georgetown and commented on Social Tables’ success.
“The fact that ventures continue to put money into this company is a huge vote of confidence. Essentially, they’re proving their business works and this latest round of funding is meant specifically to help them grow fast,” Reid said. “Dan is a great leader. He believes that people coming together in meetings create a lot of good interactions and that’s a big-picture way of thinking. ”
Reid spoke highly of the dynamic problem-solving and leadership capabilities of the student entrepreneurial community at Georgetown and stated his interest in more students joining the startup culture.
“Like many other Georgetown students, [Berger] saw a problem and wanted to figure out how to solve it,” Reid said. “Georgetown has always attracted students who were amazing leaders and people who want to make a difference in the world. Entrepreneurship is a powerful way to make a difference. I would love to see more Georgetown students thinking about entrepreneurial careers.”
Kamar Mack (COL ’19), who is involved in Startup Hoyas, lived in the Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community during his freshman year at Georgetown and emphasized the potential of student entrepreneurs to achieve great success.
“Being at Georgetown is sort of like an incubator where you can test out your business ideas with your friends,” Mack said. “It’s a very entrepreneurial community that can lead you to bigger and better things as you grow and expand your ideas.”