Landing in D.C. was a total accident for Social Tables.
Dan Berger, the founder and CEO, went to business school at Georgetown, landed at a consulting firm where he wasn’t doing what he loved or, really, much of anything — so he started a side project that would later turn into Social Tables.
And while landing in D.C. is accidental, that hasn’t stopped Berger from working to make the region a stronger startup hub. Social Tables opens its headquarters in downtown D.C. to the public for events and has recruited a fair share of its workforce to the District from other cities.
“The vision for the Social Tables office was to be the epicenter for the D.C. tech community and other communities on the periphery,” Berger said. “A third of our space is meeting space for the community.”
To date, they’ve hosted nearly 300 events with more than 15,000 participants since it moved into the office in December 2015.
In a more active way, Berger has founded a D.C. tech advocacy group. Called the Capital Tech Coalition, the group works to represent the interests of D.C. tech through a variety of actions. So far, those have focused on immigration and the Trump Administration, a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser demanding the same incentives offered to Amazon and a third one is a D.C. tech marching block with the March For Our Lives event on March 24 on gun violence.
“I don’t think the [local] government has been a partner to tech in the way that they could be, and a great example of that is what they offered to Amazon compared to what they’ve offered the native D.C. community,” Berger said in the latest episode of District Download, our podcast with General Assembly D.C.
Capital Tech Coalition started about a year ago now, and by Berger’s count, the group now represents over 2,000 employees in the D.C. tech community and has a seven-person steering committee.
“In today’s day and age, when people make decisions on where they want to work, they want to work at places that don’t only apply to their normal core values, but also their social values,” Berger said.
Berger spoke with District Download this week about how he built up Social Tables, the challenges facing the D.C. tech community, Amazon HQ2 potentially landing in the DMV — and, of course, Social Tables’ spinning room.
Listen to the full interview in the fifth episode of District Download.
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