Founder of Social Tables
Dan Berger is the Founder of Social Tables, a web-based event planning platform for large, seated events. We have a discussion about startups and the event planning industry.
Explain the concept of Social Tables.
Social Tables is an event planning platform. Our software is designed to make the event planning process easier and less stressful. Our line of products includes guest list management, floor plan design, seating chart creation, and even iPad check-in. We also have social layer that pulls in guest information to help planners make more informed decisions and guests have a better event experience.
What are you most passionate about as an innovator and entrepreneur?
I am passionate about building an amazing team. I love our team and what each of them brings to Social Tables. I am also passionate about just building beautiful software that people love to use.
How do you define innovation and why do you think it's important?
I define innovation as anything that isn’t status quo. Innovation is doing anything that’s different from the way it has been done in the past. As the world gets more complex, we need technology to keep up and that’s why innovation is important.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being involved in a startup? What has been the most rewarding?
Every day is a challenge when you’re in a startup. Every day is a grind. However, there are different levels of challenge. In the highest level, being a CEO is quite a challenge. Our company is constantly going up against industry giants and critics. Also, getting people behind a vision that’s going up against industry status quo can be quite difficult. On a more basic level, customer acquisition is challenging early on as well as recruitment.
Simply the most rewarding part of being involved in a startup is winning.
What made you want to get into the event planning industry?
I’ve indirectly been in the events industry for a while and have been a web developer since the late 90’s. I had the idea for Social Tables when I was at a wedding a few years ago when I thought to myself: “wouldn’t it be cool to see who was at my table before I got there?” Fast forward a few years and here we are – the original idea enhanced yet somewhat in tact.
Do you believe the government should do more to aid small businesses like Social Tables? If so, what should they do?
I do think there are certain things the government can do to aid small business. For example, here in DC, the City Council just turned down Mayor Vince Gray’s tax proposal to eliminate capital gains tax for entrepreneurs. It means that if I sell my company, I have to pay 9% taxes even if I have forgone salary from Day 1. Virginia, on the other hand, has no capital gains tax for entrepreneurs. So government can definitely do more.
DC does have some great programs for small businesses. One of them is related to on-the-job training where the city reimburses up to 90% of the first six months of an employee’s salary who was hired from unemployment and needs to be trained.