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Wednesday
May072014

New Speakers - LAUNCH Beacon!

 

We hope you're already planning to join us in New York next month for LAUNCH Beacon on June 16, where @Jason will take the stage to talk with leaders in retail, e-commerce, payment, and location.  At lunchtime, sit in at one of our Power Lunches  – moderated converations on topics like payment strategies, clienteling, and more – then join us for dinner and drinks around the corner!

It will be THE place to see what's new, and to join in the conversation.  

Tickets are limited! To reserve yours, visit http://launchbeacon.co

Joining us at LAUNCH Beacon:

Ali Asaria
(CEO, Tulip Retail | @TulipRetail)
Cameron Chell (Co-Founder, Slyce | @SlyceIt)
Andrew Cove (Co-Founder, Cover | @coverpay)
Ryan Craver (SVP, Corporate Strategy, Lord & Taylor | @lordandtaylor)
Ken Denman (President, CEO, Emotient | @emotientinc)
Nanxi Liu (Founder, CEO, Enplug | @enplug)
David Munczinski (Founder, CEO, Brickwork | @DavidMunczinski)
Hilmi Ozguc (Founder, CEO, Swirl | @swirl)
Nathan Pettyjohn (Founder, CEO, Aisle411 | @Aisle411)
Jared Schiffman (Co-Founder, CEO, Perch | @PerchNYC)

...and more!

Is there someone you think we should absolutely include at LAUNCH Beacon? Suggest a speaker here.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May052014

We're hiring!

 

Are you passionate about the tech space? Do you love startups? We're currently looking for awesome candidates to join our hard-working, energetic team at our office in mid-Market San Francisco:

  1. LAUNCH Ticker Analyst

 More information about LAUNCH events, This Week in Startups, and LAUNCH Ticker: http://launch.co/about

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr232014

Why I (we?) invested $378,000 in Calm.com 

 

Over the past year, we’ve all read about the promise of AngelList’s Syndicate program. I’ve been shouting from the mountain tops that I think this is a revolution (https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130928204536-24171-the-end-of-venture-capital-sort-of) because an angel investor like myself could “jump the fence” and fully fund a founder.

Typically an angel gives $10k to $50k to a founder, which serves to kick off their fundraising process and maybe build out or improve their MVP (minimum viable product).

Founders take a high-profile angel’s name and sell it to VCs and other investors as their “social proof” that they are a serious concern. After this first Silicon Valley blessing, things tend to go well for startups. Every week, a couple of startups ping me to tell me, “We got [insert Kevin Rose/Cyan Banister/Gary Vaynerchuk/Joanne Wilson/Tim Ferriss] to commit! Can we share our plans with you?”

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr162014

Announcing LAUNCH Beacon: Retail, Location & Payments (June 16, NYC)


 

 

Every couple of years, folks like me say retail is dead, and the stats on malls seem to be proving that out -- with 15% estimated to close in the next 10 years. The stunning pictures of malls in transition, including this strip mall parking lot converted to an urban farm (http://goo.gl/mcKbLJ), are the stuff of science fiction. Dystopian rebirth –– the street finding its own use for the past.

Yet we’re all still shopping like crazy. People still like to go out of their houses, despite the hype around the Oculus Rift that Zuck just bought for 1.3% of their stock.

As much as I love to set up “subscribe and save” on Amazon Prime, never having to think about coffee beans, soap and razors, I still like to get out of the house and take my four-year-old daughter somewhere on the weekends.

Folks are being pulled from their homes by the lure of 4D movie theaters in Los Angeles (http://goo.gl/lO3iV3), open spaces like Tony Hsieh’s container park in downtown Vegas (http://goo.gl/6zExR5), and digital storefronts in shopping malls (http://goo.gl/hoKCK1).

Retail, local and payments are all in massive transition.

When I sense something like this, I do two things:

1. Start writing checks as an angel investor
2. Hold a conference: www.launchbeacon.co

With regard to number one, I’ve invested in seven local-ish plays to date (about 10% of my investments): Gowalla.com (sold to Facebook), Signpost.com (software for local businesses), MyTime.com (book any appointment), Thumbtack.com (find a service provider, like I just did for tennis), Uber.com (urban logistics, not just cabs now that they launched Uber Rush in NYC), Red Tricycle (what to do with your kids: redtri.com)  and StyleSeat.com (software/services for salons and such). Links to each of these founders on This Week in Startups at the bottom of this announcement.

With regard to the conference, on June 16, I will host a one-day event in New York City (I’m coming home!) at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W. 18th Street (where I used to host Silicon Alley 99, 2000, etc).

Simple agenda: I will do demos with 10 startups that we hand select for awesomeness (not my investments FYI), two keynote/fireside chats and four partner presentations (keeping the lights on baby!). Then we will have an intimate dinner for 150.

This is a tiny event, but we hope it has great density of people who care about these issues.

How to be involved:
a) If you want to attend you can buy a ticket here: http://goo.gl/8g5h4S
b) If you work at a retailer in transition please ping us for an invite & feedback at contact@launch.co
c) If you want to speak at the event you can apply here: http://goo.gl/0s5aQI
d) If you are broke and a founder/technologist with passion, we have 15 scholarships available for pre-funding
startups: http://goo.gl/3Zsa3v
e) If you want to help keep the lights on and be one of the four presenting partners email partners@launch.co
f) If you are working press -- on assignment covering the event -- apply here: http://goo.gl/ePjsDn
g) We will not be live streaming the event, but some content will be released as This Week in Startups episodes: www.thisweekinstartups.com

Thanks to my friends at Pivotal Labs for partnering with me on this awesome event.

best @Jason Calacanis & the LAUNCH team
 

Related founders on the show:
Gowalla 12/3/2010: http://youtu.be/SGVp7XoYRaU
Dwolla 9/17/2013: http://youtu.be/BFeSgN1cQhg 
Uber (1) 8/16/2011: http://youtu.be/550X5OZVk7Y
Uber (2) 3/4/2014: http://youtu.be/u_Baur8sT_8
StyleSeat: not yet, but we’re booking Melody soon!

 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb272014

LAUNCH Festival 2014: And the winners are...


It’s been a whirlwind three days. Over 9,000 people registered for the 2014 LAUNCH Festival, dozens of companies pitched their products in the Demo Pit, speakers went deep on their strategies at the Startup Stage. We saw 3D printed heart tissue on stage. LAUNCH Founder Jason Calacanis danced to Gangnam Style for a product demo. A pocket drone buzzed the audience (no one was harmed, thankfully). And 40 companies launched on stage. 

We’re so proud of everyone who participated in our competition and Hackathon, and thankful to our keynote speakers: Travis Kalanick of Uber, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, Yves Béhar of fuseproject, and Mark Cuban.

Everything you need to know to catch up on LAUNCH Festival 2014 is here.

 Something we need to add? Email team@launch.co

LAUNCH Festival 2014 Winners

Hackathon Winners ($33k prize, each):

Best Overall ($200k investment prize)
Connect | @connectsanfran

Additional winners ($25k investment prize, each)

  • Best 2.0 - Credible | @crediblelabs

  • Best Alpha - The Pocket Drone | @airdroids

  • Best Design - Dattch | @dattchapp

  • Best Consumer Hardware - Drop | @AdapticsHQ

  • Best Enterprise Hardware - Density | @roundedco

  • Technical Achievement - CSTM | @cstmglobal

  • Best Benefit Corporation - HandUp | @handup

  • Best Enterprise - Knox | @knoxpayments

Ice House #DreamApp contest winners ($50k investment prize)

Barracuda Hackathon Investment Grand Prize ($25k)

  • Blush | @blushmessenger

Did we miss you on this list? Email team@launch.co.

** All investment prizes are still pending due diligence.