This post is by Jason Calacanis from Calacanis.com
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We just graduated two sessions of the LAUNCH Incubator in March (two cohorts of seven), and they were our strongest class to date!
During the incubator, these 14 startups met with over 30 investors and have raised millions of dollars already — it’s been fantastic to watch.
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We are going to do another seven startups in the LAUNCH Incubator Spring class, which starts on April 20th (we’re 420 friendly, if you have a cannabis startup and are wondering), and ends on July 14th at our annual Bastille Day party — which is taking place on the last day of our new Angel Summit, a two-day retreat for the 50 greatest angel investors on the planet.
Startups we’re looking for have three things in common:
- Founders who are hardworking and driven.
- Products that are finished — or near completion — and that have been executed at a very high level (more on this below).
- Products that operate in very large markets, that could result in a billion-dollar outcome.
If you’ve got an amazing idea or business plan, but you haven’t built your MVP, you aren’t ready for our Incubator yet, and you should finish your world-changing product, while coming to LAUNCH Festival and SCALE as our guest, and watching This Week in Startups (taking copious notes).
If you have finished your product, have an MVP, and have traction (or even if you’ve started to scale), you should join the Incubator. We had over 1,000 people apply for the last class, and accepted two sets of seven. This time around, we plan on doing seven startups and we’ve already selected three.
Four slots are open.
If you want to come to the program I suggest NOT taking our word for it, but reaching out directly to the 27 alumni and reading their blog posts below.
We’re humbled by what our founders are saying, and that’s motivated us to focus even more on smaller groups of exceptional startups — as opposed to Y Combinator, which graduated 120 startups in their last class.
Now, one of the most frequent questions I get is, “Should I pick LAUNCH Incubator or Y Combinator?” To answer this, just ask yourself these questions:
- Would you rather be one of seven every week, or one of 120?
- Would you rather get $120k from YC or $250k from me?
- Would you rather sit passively in the audience each week, lost in a sea of hundreds of founders, or get up on stage every week and present your startup for four minutes — getting feedback directly from me and three other world-class investors?
- Would you rather launch to 500 people at YC Demo Day for two minutes, or debut at the LAUNCH Festival with 15,000 attendees and have 10 minutes on stage (with Q&A!)?
We’ve designed a program that is, by design, better than Y Combinator’s. They were the Gold Standard, so we studied everything that their own startups said was good and bad — as well as what VCs liked and hated — and made something that is actually a lot better.
It’s not a competition, but the VCs we’re speaking to tell us we’re winning.
If you really want to win, apply to the LAUNCH Incubator.
If you’re an angel investor and would like to spend two days eating fine foods, drinking exceptional wines, taking inspiring hikes, shooting clay piegons & playing poker to all hours of the morning, apply for the LAUNCH Angel Summit.
Applications for LAUNCH Incubator: April 3rd
Applications for LAUNCH Angel Summit: April 15th
LAUNCH INCUBATOR III feedback:
“We have more than tripled our network of mentors, advisers, and investors in the 12 weeks at LAUNCH.” Nishant Garg, Flow Labs: Quora
“If I could go back in time and make this decision again, I’d do it one more time in a heartbeat.” Julia Lera, TidyMarketer: Quora
“In a world of 10X designers and 10X engineers [Jason] is a 10X storyteller and one you most definitely want to help drive your story.” Simon Burns, Keza: Quora
“LAUNCH incubator turns wildly passionate and hard working founders into extremely fundable founders.” Elizabeth Russell, DataDog Health: Quora
“Throughout the program, I saw every company had huge improvement week by week” Eric Li, Ecomo: An Incubator Can Change My Startup Life
“An unimaginable network within Silicon Valley (ability to connect with any dream investor we can think of ).” Henry Hu, Cafe X: Quora
“If you are looking for a small class of companies and intimate setting with a lot of access to great investors I think LAUNCH is the place for you.” Robert Haydock, Zembula: Quora
“You will get weekly feedback from some of the best investors around. This feedback isn’t primarily on your company as an investment, but as a business. This is an important distinction as the real goal of the Incubator is to support founders in building real meaningful companies — not get them investment (which is a side effect of building a great company).” Adam Dill, DailyDrip: Quora
“This was a game changer for us. Between the pitching, feedback and the speaker sessions every week (plus the awesome Bento food) we saw a huge return on the work we put into the incubator. Yes – it’s hard to both run your company and prepare for the incubator every week – but it’s so, so worth it.” Craig Zingerline, Votion: What’s it Like Going Through the LAUNCH Incubator
“[LAUNCH] teaches you that everyone faces the same problems and that you are not alone, the osmosis effect is huge and the support network is crucial.” Steve Brumwell, Clect: Post LAUNCH Musings from a Founder
“Since I’m the only person who has gone through the LAUNCH Incubator twice, people ask me which class was better: the first or the third … Companies and products in the third class were much further along when they joined — and the team running the Incubator has so much more experience now. Everything about the third Incubator was better.” Brian Alvey, Clipisode: LAUNCH Incubator 3: The Legend Continues
“Top 3 things we took away from the experience … We could literally get an introduction to any investor we could dream up. … Getting up in front of prominent angels/VCs every week is a great way to refine your pitch and figure out what matters! … A network of amazing, passionate and supportive founders.” Rama Chanani, StayWanderful: Quora
LAUNCH Incubator II:
“Access to the Launch Ticker, This Week in Startups, the Launch festival, and the Scale Conference all come as an added benefit of graduating. We were the number one trending startup on AngelList, filled our $500k seed round in a matter of weeks (eventually bumped up to $1M), and have been introduced to some of the biggest names on Sand Hill Road.” James Heller, Wrapify: LAUNCH Incubator Wrap Up
“It was an incredible 3 months that gave us insider knowledge and resources that can’t be found anywhere else … Throughout the experience we were taught new skills that we were able to implement almost immediately into the company.” Juan Carlos Perez, Crux: Graduating from the LAUNCH Incubator
“Launch is taking a big risk by accepting so few companies (less chance of unicorns), and in doing so, they are going to invest so much more time and effort into making you successful. Each outcome matters that much more.” David Temple, Scout: LAUNCH Incubator: 5 Questions, 5 Answers.
“We pitched to different judges every week (VC, angel investors, successful founders) and got feedback … It forced us to iterate fast. Every week we improved the product or did more market research to improve our presentation … By week 12, our product and pitches were 10x better.” Mei Siauw, LeadIQ: Iterating faster than ever in 12 weeks of Launch Incubator
“It’s hands down the best incubator in the valley. The attention to detail, the jam sessions, the 1-1 time with key people were amazing. Every week we found someone that not only was helpful for our company, they also invested. I would recommend the Launch Incubator for any company size. We were their second class and Jason is just getting started, you can feel the energy and the dedication to success to grow this to a multi-billion dollar opportunity.” Vishal Gurbuxani, Captiv8: The LAUNCH Incubator
“The quality of the weekly speakers and the advice and feedback they provided was excellent. Particularly, with the size of the incubator (six companies), we felt like we were getting great one-on-one attention.” Jake Edens, REscour, The LAUNCH Incubator
LAUNCH Incubator I:
“Only apply to the LAUNCH Incubator if you want to get Jedi-level presentation training, get a ‘yes’ from every angel investor you talk to, attract a world-class team, build a world-class product” Brian Alvey, Recurrency: Should You Apply to the LAUNCH Incubator?
“[Jason] will push you for perfection. If you’re giving 99%, he’ll push you for that extra 1% … he has a keen understanding of human interaction and will be able to guide you through the (somewhat painful) process of explaining and pitching your company to anyone in our industry.” Jordan Stone, Huckle: What it’s like to be a LAUNCH Incubator company
“Requested changed by 50% and our design UI UX changed by 95%, all in less than 90 days. Anyone in a startup out there, the modifications that we did through this program will take you six to nine months.” Sonny Mayugba, Requested: The LAUNCH Incubator Changed Our Lives
“Why would a ‘successful’ company like Red Tricycle, with over a million users and a couple million dollars in revenue, need an incubator? … exactly what we needed to get back to our A game.” Jacqui Boland, Red Tricycle: Back to Basics: What A Sophomore Company Learned in An Incubator
“It’s an incredible life-changing and company-changing experience. You will come out of the incubator with a vastly improved product, a crystal clear pitch, feedback & advice from the top minds in Silicon Valley and an incredible group of peers.” Jason Demant, Bento: Bento: Founded, Incubated & Launched!
I loved my 12 weeks in the Launch Incubator, so much so that I did not want it to end … [Jason’s] feedback and advice is what sets this program apart. He gives you the truth, no egomaniac baloney, just straight talk on how to make your company better.” Jill Bourque, RushTix: 8 Things in 12 Weeks in the Incubator
“We’re incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to partake in the incubator and will definitely suggest it to any company interested. LAUNCH provides a great platform to get your company off the ground.” Ryan Sheffer, Momunt: Pitching is Scary (Important): Our Experiences in the LAUNCH Incubator
“[ Jason’s ] a bulldog. Once he’s in your corner, all of a sudden you’re Rocky Balboa. He has whatever connections you need, and those connections are open because they know his track record and that he’s usually onto something good.” Jon Shumate, Requested: Quora.