Scaling early-stage company formation and funding.
LAUNCH is an early-stage investment firm led by Jason Calacanis. The firm incubates and invests in seed-stage startups at their inception and through their Series B rounds.
Our mission is to be the most active and successful early-stage investor in history.
We are raising our 4th fund, which will invest in over 400 early-stage startups with the goal of achieving 10%+ ownership in the top five percent.
We are targeting a $100m fund and are raising publicly under a 506(c) designation. After announcing the fund on our podcasts and Twitter, we have had over $60m in interest from the public.
We have signed over $25m from these individuals and are starting our formal raise from institutional investors, family offices, and sovereign wealth funds.
Due to SEC limitations, we can only accommodate 250 accredited investors, and those slots are currently filled. You can express your interest as an accredited investor here and join our waitlist.
We are still able to accommodate qualified purchasers.
About Jason Calacanis
Jason Calacanis is a serial entrepreneur, author, investor, and podcaster. His podcasts (All-In and This Week in Startups) reach tens of millions of executives annually. He was the first scout for investment firm Sequoia Capital, where he led investments in Uber, Robinhood, and DataStax. He had the first and largest angel syndicate on AngelList, where he invested in Calm.com at a $5m valuation.
The Power of Podcasting
This Week in Startups is the longest-running and most listened to startup podcast in history, with more than 1,700 episodes over 12 years of publishing. The show has featured guests including Roelof Botha, Travis Kalanick, Brian Chesky, Melanie Perkins, Daniel Ek, Kevin Systrom, and Reid Hoffman, and has had tens of millions of listeners.
The All-In Podcast is the number one business and the number one technology podcast in the world, and each week the most recent episode ranks in the top 20 podcasts worldwide. The show has also had tens of millions of listeners in the two years we’ve been publishing.
These two podcasts were created and hosted by Jason Calacanis, and they drive thousands of startups to apply for funding from the LAUNCH Fund. The podcasts are the top response we receive when asking founders how they found out about our firm.
Every year a dozen or so important startups are formed in the technology industry that become worth over a billion dollars. Every technology cycle, there are a half dozen or so outlier companies that achieve valuations over $10b.
Our specialty is to find and invest in these outlier companies before the wider venture community even knows they exist.
The Power of Getting In Early
Accelerators like Y Combinator and our LAUNCH Accelerator can acquire six to seven percent of startups at a ~$1.7m valuation. These programs are a heavy lift, requiring large teams to manage them and the hundreds of founders that graduate from them.
For these programs to succeed, founders must see massive value in attending them. Due to our unrivaled reach with the All-In and This Week in Startups podcasts, quality founders seek us out.
Founder University: From Idea to Incorporation
In 2022 we created an online course for founders to learn how to turn an idea, business plan, or prototype into a startup.
In the past 21 months, we’ve completed four cohorts, had thousands of applications, and 831 graduates (a 87.5% graduation rate).
During the program, we learned that many high-quality teams were looking for a “friends and family” style investment of $25,000 to start their companies.
We created a proprietary system for making their micro-investments.
We’ve made 26 of these investments, approximately 3% of the startups graduating the program. Six additional Founder University startups have completed the LAUNCH accelerator, and two have been invited to join us for a future cohort.
Our current deal structure is to make these investments at a one-million-dollar valuation, giving us 2.5% ownership in these startups.
As part of making this investment, we’ve also secured the right to invest $250,000 into these startups' next two funding rounds.
These next two investing rounds will likely occur on average at sub-five and sub-ten million dollar valuations, respectively. This agreement allows our firm to increase our position in breakout companies to our 10%+ goal.
We also negotiate board representation when we own over five percent, pro-rata, and information rights in each of these startups.
Our Accelerator program has hosted 28 cohorts of seven startups each. We are on track to host 15 cohorts funded by LAUNCH4 (~147 startups). On graduation from our accelerator program, we have the right to invest $500,000 or take 50% of their first round of funding in each startup.
When we take this option, we have the ability to quickly reach our 10%+ ownership position in our highest-performing startups.
Founder University has become a significant feeder to our accelerator program, with six graduates of Founder University continuing on to the LAUNCH Accelerator.
Y Combinator’s Unchallenged Dominance
Y Combinator does not have a viable competitor today. The firm reported it received 20,000 applications for their most recent class while accepting 1.41% of them.
98%+ of founders do not get into Y Combinator, and given our experience investing in the early-stage, there is little difference between anyone in the top 20% of applicants to the program.
LAUNCH ran an experiment where we asked folks who had been rejected by Y Combinator to email their application to email@example.com. Hundreds of founders contacted us, and many of them have now joined Founder University and LAUNCH Accelerator.
Scaling the Early-Stage
Our firm is contacted by over 15,000 founders a year and we take introductory calls with 3,000.
All of these founders and startups are tracked in our database. When we pass on investing in a startup, we tell them “not yet,” and give feedback on when we would like to meet with them again based on specific traction metrics.
We automatically contact these founders every three to six months asking them for an update on their traction. We’ve found the startups we’ve already met with, and told “not yet,” are more investable on average than new founder applications.