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How to Pivot into a Successful Startup

What does it mean to pivot? How do you know when you're on to something and when you should go in a different direction? What are the different kinds of pivots? Should you press on in your current path, or take a calculated course correction? Answers to these questions and more in our July meetup! 

RSVPs are open! 

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Twitter: #leandc

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6:30 pm - Networking + Pizza

7:00 pm - Program Begins

Many thanks to our June sponsor, SourcePad!

SourcePad - We build ideas.  Since 2008, we've helped 100 startups, small businesses, and venture backed companies turn their ideas into Web sites and mobile apps. Contact us today at[masked] or visit us at


Ram Parimi (@ramrparimi), Director of Sales at Social Tables (@SocialTables) will discuss: 

• Pivoting your sales strategy;  how Social Tables has changed it's approach to selling from being a generalist to focusing on verticals

• How their decision helped build focus for the team

• When and why you should pivot

After graduating from Colgate University, where he served as President of the Student Body - Ram pursued a career in sales at Fisher Investments, where he quickly joined the top tier and managed a team of Junior Associates. After Fisher Investments, Ram moved to DC where he worked for the Kennedy Center in Corporate and Foundation Fundraising for the National Symphony Orchestra. After the Kennedy Center, Ram led the sales effort for Eventbrite in the Mid-Atlantic.  

As Director of Sales at Social Tables, a fast-growing, DC-based, hospitality technology company, Ram has built and managed a growing sales team, bringing the number of net new accounts from 0 to 2000 in just under two years. Under his leadership, Account Executives have been beating monthly goals and generating double digit growth m/m.

Today, Social Tables is growing at a rate of 20 percent month-over-month. Its web-based, award-winning event management software is used by catering sales teams at Hyatt International, Caesars Entertainment and national nonprofits such as Boys and Girls Club of America and The Recording Academy, corporate event planning teams such as Genentech and Goldman Sachs, advancement teams at world-renowned academic institutions such as Harvard Business School and The Ohio State University and venues such as Navy Pier and the Ronald Reagan Building.

Sean Virgile, Founder of Diagnostic anSERS, will talk about:

• Can you plan your pivot in advance?

• When do you stop listening to your (potential) customers?

• Are we overusing the word pivot & what does it really mean to pivot?

Sean Virgile graduated from the University of Rochester in 2010 with a degree in biomedical engineering.  He is now a FIschell Fellow at the University of Maryland's Fischell Department of Bioengineering and a co-founder of Diagnostic anSERS, a UMD spinout company.  DA was founded 2012 by three graduate students in Dr. Ian White's Photonics Biosensing Lab in the pursuit of inexpensive chemical testing.  DA has received numerous grants and awards, including TEDCO's Maryland Innovation Innitiative, Maryland Industrial Partnerships, and was a UMD's Cupid's Cup finalist.

Frank Taylor (@frankvtaylor), Founder of Restin (@sponsorsavvy), will discuss: 

• Pivoting to find product / market fit: how Restin went from operating pay-per-use robotic massage chairs on college campuses to helping Lululemon engage attendees at The Wall Street Decathlon. 

• How our pivots resulted in 300% year over year growth. 

• What metrics are most important when deciding to pivot or persevere. 

Frank Taylor is the Founder and CEO of Restin, an event marketing firm helping clients design and deliver better sponsorship programs. He has helped brands like Bank of America, Hyundai, IBM, Lululemon, Sprint, Under Armour, and Wells Fargo to better engage attendees and achieve marketing goals at events like SXSW, The Wall Street Decathlon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards, and NFL Combine. Restin supports trade shows, conferences, and events across the United States from its headquarters in DC and locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Las Vegas.

To help support local businesses and start-ups, Frank helped build Fosterly, a community organization that has connected thousands of entrepreneurs through an online platform and dozens of events. He has also mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs through Lean Startup Machine workshops, teaching principles of customer development and rapid iteration. 

Kevin Borders (@Kevin_Borders), Co-Founder of, will talk about: 

• Why deciding to pivot is hard: our irrational fear of loss. 

• When not to pivot. What those decisions look like and how we decided not take those paths... 

• How to utilize the work you've already done to maximize chances of success. Hint: the greatest value isn't in the engineering or IP behind the product you've created, it's in what you've learned about why the market doesn't want your product in its current form.

Kevin Borders is a software engineer, designer, and entrepreneur. He co-founded, a fast-growing bootstrapped e-commerce company that sells drop-shipped custom photo products. His interests include user experience design, engineering, and product strategy. Prior to starting full-time at in 2013, Kevin was a computer security researcher at the National Security Agency, where he researched high-speed data analysis and malicious software detection. Kevin completed his Ph. D. in computer science at the University of Michigan in 2009.



Metered spots or Colonial Parking garage on 18th St just south of M St NW.


Dupont Circle (red line). Utilize the Connecticut/19th exit and travel south down 19th St (away from the circle) for 2.5 blocks. Turn left at M St NW and at 18th St NW turn left. [masked]th St NW is the 4 door entrance next to the Daily Grill.

Farragut West (orange line). Utilize the 18th/I St NW exit and travel north on 18th St for 4 blocks. [masked]th NW is the 4 door entrance next to the Daily Grill just north of M St NW.

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    One of the best meetup events in recent memories. Amazing presentations by Ram, Frank, Kevin and Sean!

    1 · July 17, 2014

  • Ram P.

    Thanks to everyone who attended and spoke! I enjoyed meeting new friends and seeing old friends. My slides are here -

    3 · July 17, 2014

  • Khuram Z.

    Great event, thanks for putting it together!

    1 · July 16, 2014

  • Frank V. T.

    Thanks to everyone who came out last night, hope you learned something and enjoyed the presentations. My slides are online here: Feel free to reach out with questions or comments. Happy to help any way I can.

    4 · July 16, 2014

  • Joe M.

    Really helped me wrap my brain around the concept of pivoting. Rebecca is an impressively good MC/moderator, and the speakers were genuine and informative. I intend to return.

    2 · July 16, 2014

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