The Download: Social Tables raises $500K, plans to hire
By Steven Overly,
District-based Social Tables has closed on a seed-stage round of funding worth $500,000 — twice the amount it had originally sought — as the upstart looks to expand from a seating-chart application to a comprehensive event management platform.
Founder Dan Berger created the company last year after attending a friend’s destination wedding. The site allows event planners or do-it-yourself hosts to populate a list of attendees, drag and drop them into seats and pull information from their social networks.
“We listened to our customers and really heard the feedback of what people were saying,” Berger said. “We stopped building things because we wanted to build them, and we started building things because they wanted us to build them.”
Future versions could generate guest or seating recommendations, and allow attendees to communicate before and after the event.
“At the end of the day, event planners use very antiquated tools to get the job done, and we want to provide an alternative technology solution to that while at the same time providing a beautiful [design] experience,” he said.
The company’s financing comes from a slate of local angel investors, including BrazenCareerist chief executive Ed Barrientos, Driven Forward “Chief Entrepreneureator” Glen Hellman and Blu Venture Investors partner Jim Hunt.
The money will be used to add engineers and business developers to the six employees who already work in office space at The Fort, a District-based start-up accelerator, Berger said.
Berger added that he had to decline investment offers for the already oversubscribed round, which is notable considering many local entrepreneurs bemoan a dearth of seed-stage capital in the Washington region.
“We live and breathe a fast-paced start-up mentality so we can constantly tell the story of growth and traction,” Berger said. “I think a lot of people don’t know how to do that well and they let themselves get stuck.”
Six companies have been chosen to participate in the inaugural class of Acceleprise, a District-based accelerator program designed specifically to foster enterprise technology firms.
The companies will each receive $30,000 in start-up capital and mentorship from members of the region’s business and investor communities. (The Washington Post is an investor and chief executive Katharine Weymouth serves as a mentor.)
Acceleprise is the brainchild of managing partner Sean Glass, an investor at Novak Biddle Venture Partners and chief executive of EmployInsight, as well as partners Collin Gutman and Allen Gannett.
The participates include: event planning software Conference Edge, idea management platform Conjure, corporate education provider ExecOnline, fitness competition organizer FitFeud, broadband network provider Mercury Continuity and professional credential manager Sigkat.
Social Driver, a digital marketing, mobile app development and Web design firm, has expanded its footprint in the District, moving into a 3,000-square-foot office in Chinatown.
The firm’s seven full-time staffers and additional contract employees will share the space with workers from Portland, Ore.-based Context Partners. Digital strategy company Blue State Digital is subleasing the space and provides access to an additional 4,000 square feet of communal area.
Conway, N.H.-based Animetrics, a developer of 3D facial recognition and identification technology for military, intelligence and law enforcement clients, has opened an office in Columbia.
The office will house five employees who conduct research and development for the company and manage its federal business development.