Launchpad LA was founded as a mentorship organization in 2009 by Mark Suster (GRP Partners, bothsidesofthetable.com) with the goal of helping talented local entrepreneurs build relationships, get funded, and grow while remaining in Southern California. The idea came from our frustration with seeing LA companies receive funding from Northern California VCs and then choose to relocate their teams. Indeed, Launchpad LA began as a true collaboration among the area’s top VCs with a shared interest in seeing a robust tech community continue to grow and thrive in Los Angeles.
From 2009 to 2011, Launchpad LA accepted 23 companies into the mentorship program. The program at that time did not take equity or have an official office space, but featured regular events and dinners to support the participating companies. Of those 23 companies, 19 received outside funding, and 9 have been acquired to date. In total, the 19 companies raised around $80 million and their exits have exceeded $60 million.
Inspired by the growing market opportunity in LA and the success of Classes 1 and 2, the Launchpad LA team decided to raise a fund, open an office, and grow into a full-blown accelerator in the model of TechStars or Y-Combinator. Sam Teller, an LA native and local entrepreneur/angel investor, joined as Managing Director, and several firms participated in the investment including Rincon Ventures, Idealab, Baroda Ventures, GRP Partners, David Cohen (founder of TechStars), David Tisch (founder of TechStars NY), DLA Piper, and Stubbs Alderton.
After a year of investing $50,000 per company, we now offer each accepted company a $100,000 investment, free office space in the heart of Santa Monica (one block from the beach) for four months, and, most important of all, access to a massive network of mentors, advisors, and investors. If a company has raised meaningful capital prior to entering the program, we may adjust the terms of our deal as appropriate.[button colour="lightblue" type="squarearrow" size="large" link="http://launchpad.la/apply" target="_blank]Apply[/button]
Questions? Please send an email to hello at launchpad dot la. For media inquiries, please contact Dena Cook at dena at brewpr dot com. If you’d like to get in touch with Managing Director Sam Teller, his email is steller at launchpad dot la.