Social Tables Takes The DC Tech Lead
When Dan Berger moved to DC in 2008, he had every intention of going back to his home, NYC. But then his idea for a business turned into one of the most successfully thriving tech companies in DC.
Mayor Muriel Bowser is using Dan’s Social Tables, a cloud-based hospitality software firm, as an example of how tech should grow throughout the city in the coming years. During a press event Thursday afternoon at Social Tables’ HQ at 1325 G St, Dan said the company had grown to 120 people, with 60% of them living in DC. The company also has 4,000 customers all over the world.
The press event was also an opportunity for the 5-year-old company to show off its relatively new 30k SF HQ. Even more interesting is that Dan and his team have pledged 10k SF to holding community events, even setting a goal of holding 100 of them in the next year. “This space isn’t just about us, the goal is to make this space the epicenter of DC tech,” Dan (pronounced Don) says. “We view events as a conduit for moving forward.”
Mayor Bowser, posing in Social Tables' very pink lobby with Dan and The Ezra Co's Ezra Weinblatt (who found Social Tables' space). The mayor says she’s hoping DC will be less known as just a government town and more known for its innovation. Between 2011 and 2015, DC’s private sector has grown over 11%, helping it weather the recession and sequestration better than its neighbors, she says.
“It used to be a joke that businesses would come here,” she adds. But the perception that DC wasn’t clean, that taxes and crime were high have changed. DC also made its tax structure more competitive with Maryland and Virginia. “Now there’s buzz in the region and nation that DC is a place for tech,” says the mayor.
Several Bowser Administration measures are also helping erase the government town perception: DC’s partnership with Howard University to create an innovation venture hub that’s now under construction; a partnership with startup campus 1776 to connect high school students to tech careers; the creation of coding camps for girls; a new innovation lab at MLK Library; and an open data initiative to make DC one of the most transparent cities. She also urged the tech sector to use its skills to help the DC government with some of its biggest challenges.
Washington DC Economic Development Partnership president Keith Sellers also announced that DC would have a big presence again this year at SXSW. The posse from DC, including the mayor, will take over a restaurant in Austin (one that happens to be a Social Tables customer) and spend three days showcasing DC’s tech, music and entertainment industries. The organization estimates there are roughly 1,000 tech companies based in DC.
USPTO chief of staff Vikrum Aiyer also spoke of the importance of intellectual property protection in helping US entrepreneurship thrive and grow.
It’s also helped with tech growth over the last few decades. From 1948 to 2012, half of the total increase in productivity came from innovation and technology. Over half of the new jobs created in the past five years are in IT, paying 50% more than other industries.
Several programs like online training and boot camps are launching throughout the country to make tech careers more accessible, Vikrum adds. The Small Business Administration has also committed $2B in federally guaranteed loans to underserved markets. He also urged tech people to do a “tour of duty” within the federal government as a way to make it more innovative.
Social Tables has this large open area for events. The space also includes several themed conference and private rooms, corner lounge areas, a game room and a cycle room.
Hear more about Social Tables' new space at Bisnow's Creative Office & The Growth of Tech on Feb. 23 in Crystal City. Sign up here.