What criteria do you use to select your companies?
In order to maximize your 12 weeks in the LAUNCH Incubator, you should have a complete product, with users (or customers) and a team capable of iterating on the product weekly. In the past we have accepted promising startups with incomplete teams and unfinished products and the results have been okay but not exceptional.
Only when the product is complete and you have a core team can you focus on the essential process of growing your customer base, landing world-class investors, and forming transformative partnerships.
We look for driven founders who execute at a high-level in a large market.
What is demo day like?
Our Spring class runs from December until the LAUNCH Festival in March. Demo Day for these companies occur on stage (see videos here). Our Summer class begins in April and finishes at our Angel Summit on July 14th (Bastille Day). The Festival is large and the Angel Summit more intimate. Both have their advantages.
Unlike Y Combinator, we advise and assist our founders in raising money during the Incubator. Our hope is that at least half of our founders have raised their capital before Demo Day.
What are the deal terms?
We invest $250,000 for approximately 7-10% of a startup. We do this in two phases. When you join the Incubator we invest $25,000 for five percent (preferred shares). When you graduate we invest another $25,000 at the “market rate” for your startup from the LAUNCH Fund and we syndicate your deal to AngelList for another $200,000 (or more). This result of this model is that we signal to the market that we are willing to invest at your “graduation valuation,” which is a very good signal!
Most incubators invest at a low valuation when you join and push angels to hit a much higher valuation 12 weeks later. We’ve found that our model keeps everyone in sync when it comes to valuations.
My team is not based in the Bay Area, can I participate remotely?
No. Onsite, in-person participation is mandatory. Many founders come to the Incubator for 12 weeks from around the world. Alumni include startups from Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Portland, New York, Atlanta, and London. Getting in front of the greatest investors and founders in the world is a huge component of the program.
We’ve already received funding, are we still qualified to apply?
Yes! Most of our startups have raised an angel round and have launched products. The LAUNCH Incubator only accepts seven startups per class. This allows us to be very selective in picking startups that are on solid footing and whose founders can leverage our program to get a solid Seed round -- or perhaps even a Series A.
I have a great idea, but I haven’t built an MVP. Can I still apply?
If you just have an idea, you’re really not that special. Everyone has ideas, don’t give yourself too much credit for yours! A prototype is worth a thousand powerpoint slides -- build one!
Do you have specific verticals that you focus on?
We are vertical agnostic. We look for great companies in any/all verticals.
Do you have office space we can use for the duration of the program?
We do not provide office space. (We may from time to time arrange meeting space but it’s not a guarantee.)
When do you have classes?
We currently host two classes a year, our Spring and Summer Programs. We are considering a fall program in 2016.