If you’ve ever had to think about whether Uncle Phil (the one with the ear hair) should be sitting next to Aunt Clara (the one with the walker) or with the other guys at Frank’s table (“Drunk” Frank), SocialTables has you covered. The site, recently relaunched with an entirely new UI and design, allows party planners to create mockups of their space, plop guests at different tables, and then organize the whole party via an iPad in real time. Never again will you have to cut out little circles and put little scraps of paper on the dining room table with each guest’s name: this thing can do it for you.
The platform is built in HTML5, which makes it easy to use in the browser, and the system pulls social data from each guest in the guest list, allowing party planners to seat like-minded people together or, barring that, create a little frisson by sticking cat lovers with stoat fans. It’s completely collaborative and non-linear so multiple users can work on the same floorplan.
Founded by Dan Berger at Fortify Ventures in DC, the app is live now and received $500,000 in seed funding. They’ve already served up 3,500 events to over 100,000 guests, which suggests they have a heck of a lot of traction.
“A few years ago I was going to a wedding and thought ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if I saw the seating chart so I could know where the cute girls were?’ said Berger. “I added this idea to my list of ideas (like every startup dude has) and didn’t do anything about it. I started working on it early last year.”
What struck me when I first saw it in DC was the smooth interface and sexy graphics. It looks like something you could put in front of a stressed out bride and groom and they could spend a few short minutes dragging folks around the dance floor so Paul “Pervo” Carson doesn’t sit next to the bride’s religious roommate from college.
“This wasn’t about making just another app,” said Lead Designer Brian Pensinger. “Events are beautiful and unique. The software used to plan them should be beautiful as well.”
One of the company’s advisers is the inimitable Gary Vaynerchuk, the dude who looks at wine on the Internet.
The service is available now and is free to try. Enterprise versions are available based on customer requirements but start at $500 per event.
If I were getting married or hosting a huge gathering of the North American Buffalo Society again, I’d totally rock out with this service. It’s an interesting way to disrupt the events space and quite attractive to boot.