Startup founders looking to pour resources, both financial and otherwise, into their businesses often turn to accelerator programs to jump-start that process. But not all accelerators are created equal, giving rise to a vast array of options that promise connection and continuity but deliver little in tangible results.
Enter Launch House. The company made its debut on the market with a splash, combining participants’ ability to build meaningful connections with cohort members while providing opportunities for everything from business advice to investor exposure. The company invites members to bring their in-progress business ideas with them to a dedicated in-person or online space where the focus is placed on the development and growth of their product. The experience is rich with resources, mentorship programs, and mixers that bring together industry leaders and entrepreneurs, and Launch House co-founders Brett Goldstein, Michael Houck, and Jacob Peters have created a unique space for businesses and their founders to thrive.
“We’re taking everything that sucks about education and flipping it on its head,” said Goldstein.
Accelerators aren’t new to the industry. The market for companies that can provide resources to up-and-coming businesses is a large one, with thousands of investments fueling progress throughout the tech industry. The average global program graduates nearly 25 companies each year, running several cohorts annually to place a focus on individual progress and success. More accelerator programs, like Launch House, are presenting opportunities beyond Silicon Valley, with fewer than 20% of deals coming from there as of 2021. Instead, entrepreneurs are looking beyond the Valley for resources that include more than just a funding-for-equity exchange. A sought-after accelerator program is now one that helps address gaps in innovation, talent, and connection.
Launch House is designed to address these gaps, and then some, within the market. Bringing together entrepreneurs from all walks of life, with grant options for those in underrepresented populations, Launch House takes a decidedly different approach. Members are given access to welcoming, dedicated spaces where they can connect and brainstorm with like-minded peers without the pressure of presenting their progress at the end of a cohort. Instead, Launch House personnel and industry experts weigh in throughout the experience, giving entrepreneurs a chance to make an impression or critical connection while they develop their project.
Programs include sprints where business concepts are distilled into actionable items and then underscored with practical application to companies in the here and now. Attendees are highly engaged in micro courses that tackle key business concepts. Other sessions include mentorships with successful industry leaders and business owners who provide insights into fundraising, hiring, and corporate growth. Supplemented with digital events including Demo Days, office hours, and a dedicated Discord server, founders are encouraged to tackle their biggest challenges in an encouraging environment geared toward advancement and problem-solving.
Launch House’s coworking spaces, in-person and online, allow entrepreneurs to connect in meaningful ways. Goldstein explained, “Events are kind of spread out during the day, all focused on achievement and helping people get to the next stage, but also to bond and connect. In this new membership model, versus being program focused, the experience is that members join and instantly get access to our community platform.”
Fundraising remains one of the most coveted topics as in-progress business efforts make their way toward being viable opportunities for investors. Speakers and teachers for different courses represent top investors and venture funds. Connections happen organically at Launch House between cohort members and with industry investors, rather than occurring through forced transactional approaches. The result is often the backing of a Launch House company by venture capital firms or its own capital arm, House Capital.
Accelerators are known for packing in information, but Launch House founder Brett Goldstein shared that his group’s approach is different, prioritizing digestible knowledge that can be applied immediately to make a difference in a business. Sprints, in particular, are designed to deliver 80% of value and content in the first session, leaving the remainder of the experience for entrepreneurs to look for ways to apply the content to their operations. Everything from skill development to risk management is covered in Launch House programs while allowing members to opt in and out of the courses to find the ones that most resonate with their needs.