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Welcome  t o the first monthly Thayer Ventures portfolio company spotlight. Each month we will put the spotlight on one of our companies and give you, our strategic advisors, Limited Partners and industry friends, a closer look at what's going on and how Thayer Funds are building value.  Our goal is to not only give you an inside look into our companies' progress but to also highlight segments of the hospitality and travel space through the lens of our CEO's.  We hope you enjoy the series and look forward to your continued engagement. 

 In This Issue:  Spotlight on Social Tables 
Social Table's Dan Berger

Dan Berger isn't just disrupting the global meeting and events space - a $565 billion market based on research by Frost & Sullivan - he is actually redefining the way it works.
Born in Tel Aviv, Dan (pronounced "Don") moved to New York at age 9, attended Hunter College where he designed websites and learned to code, and finally settled in DC after earning his MBA from Georgetown. 
After a stint on Capitol Hill, where Dan worked for a congressman running his meetings and events, he set out on his own and founded Social Tables. To say Dan is on a roll is putting it mildly: Social Tables has raised $9.5 million from Bessemer, Thayer Ventures and other venture capital firms, is on track to post revenue growth of 130% for the 2015 calendar year, has tripled headcount in the past 12 months, was voted one of the top three places to work in the DC area, and expects to raise a $20 million Series B in the first quarter of next year at a valuation nearly 4 times above its August 2014 Series A. 
In Dan's view, the presumably collaborative meetings and events industry is anything but collaborative. In fact, it is strictly transactional, smothered by floods of RFPs and dogged by operational inefficiency. Worst than that, however, the industry lacks tools that actually facilitate the evolution of the very product it is meant to serve; meetings and events. Said another way, meetings are no better today than they were twenty years ago because planners and venues fail to collaborate.
This is not a trivial problem given the fact that companies spend more than 1% of their annual gross revenues on meetings and events. This means that collaboration is more and more a competitive imperative than a luxury. Dan's insight, and the vision that powers Social Tables to this day, is that designing and deploying software that enables collaboration between venues and planners could truly transform the effectiveness of human interaction.
In other words the industry needs tools that not only enable transactions between venues and planners, but that also enable better meetings as a whole. To use Dan's words, "Social Tables is a meetings and events company that happens to create and sell software - software that is working to better the meeting process as a whole." 
In the Beginning 

The idea wasn't always so bold. In fact, Dan started the company in 2011 as a tool that enabled wedding planners to seat and connect attendees. Much like OpenTable's seating and table planning interfaces, Dan wanted to give wedding planners and venues simple, digital tools that would enable collaboration from setup to seating. Dan's thesis was simple; brides would like the control, and venues would enjoy execution efficiency and the mitigation of last-minute 'Bridezilla' surprises.
From those humble beginnings, Dan and the team have assembled a network of over 3,500 venues and planners, including the Hyatt Hotel Corporation, Goldman Sachs, the Las Vegas Convention Center, Wolfgang Puck, and Four Seasons Hotels.
2015 and Beyond

Social Tables products have also evolved, and now include a host of tools and platforms that are driving annual recurring revenue per customer and overall gross margin. Yet it is the growth of the network itself, and the marketplace product implications that most excite Dan and his investors. Two soon-to-be released products illustrate the point:

Later this year, Social Tables will release SiteInspector, a mobile app that enables planners to collect detailed data during site inspections including photographs, key public space dimensions, accommodations details, neighborhood details, and more. The free app will generate reports for planners, and will feed into Social Tables' paid planning and collaboration tools. Dan likes to call it the Evernote of site inspections.
Social Tables will debut this free app at IMEX America 2015 in October.
One-third of Social Tables' 3,500 customers are planners - including some of the largest corporate players in the world like Twitter, Genentech, and Goldman Sachs - and two-thirds are venues, with properties represented throughout over 150 countries. Over the past two years, these partners have generated terabytes of layout data, site inspection data, and key meeting feature sets.
Social Tables continues to explore additional avenues for facilitating increased collaboration. They are currently piloting an online community aimed at removing barriers to site discovery for planners and properties - a product that could prove explosive for the company, and the industry as a whole, as it will increase collaboration and transparency for all stakeholders.  
Dan likes the placement of his pieces on the chessboard. He sees a company and a product roadmap that promises triple digit growth for years to come. He also sees the beginning of a network where the incremental value of each new participant is exponential, not linear. 
In short, he sees early indicators of the Internet's holy grail; true network effect.  The challenge for Dan is to keep the momentum flowing, and to build an organization that scales to the opportunity.
Social Tables' vision is to build a business with hundreds of millions in annual recurring revenue that becomes an indispensable foundation for the next generation of meetings and events. To achieve that goal, Dan has to see around a few corners, and imagine the implications of technologies like robotics, VR and machine learning to the world of meetings and events.
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