The Startup Success series features interviews with regional entrepreneurs who received funding from the Dingman Center Angels investor network. Click HERE to see all of the companies that presented and received funding from the Dingman Center Angels this past year.
Social Tables created a web-based event planning platform for large, seated events. About a month after closing their seed round, which was oversubscribed by $250K, Social Tables launched a new version of the platform that is a total rewrite of the previous one. Founder and CEO of one of the most elegant event management software platforms on the market, Dan Berger sat down with the Dingman Center to discuss his entrepreneurial experience with Social Tables. Keep reading for Q&A with Dan Berger.
How did you get the idea for your business?
I was going to a destination wedding and thought to myself “wouldn’t it be amazing if I could see the seating chart before I got there?” Since then, the idea has evolved to include a suite of event planning products, but the root of the idea is still always on my mind.
Why a startup?
I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I love building teams, beautiful products, and winning.
As a startup, what are some of the greatest challenges you face?
Letting someone go is probably the hardest thing I have to do but it’s part of building great teams.
What piece of advice/information have you received that has added the most value to your business?
“What you don’t know, you don’t know.” In other words, don’t be all-knowing because there are some things you haven’t experience.
What was the Dingman Center Angels review process like?
It was exhilirating and seamless. The Dingman Center staff, especially Elana Fine, played a critical role in moving us through the process. She gave me pointed and actionable feedback that helped us tremendously.
Have you had to pivot with your current business plan?
We’re constantly pivoting to build features people want (not just what we think they want). Our biggest pivot, however, was moving away from a guest platform to a planning platform.
What do you think about the current state of the entrepreneurial community in Washington DC and Baltimore?
I think it’s really exciting to be a part of. I see it as a second coming of sorts for the tech scene in the DC metro area. It’s so invigorating. I hope more startups continue to emerge and that new angels emerge as a result.
What advice would you give student entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
Just do it! Quit your job, energize people, and do it. That said, never lose sight of good customer development. Don’t just build something because you want it. Talk to as many potential customers as possible!