Launchpad LA is a startup accelerator. It was founded in 2009 by Mark Suster (GRP Partners) as a membership organization with the goal of helping talented local entrepreneurs build relationships, get funded, and grow while remaining in Southern California.
The idea came from its frustration with seeing Los Angeles companies receive funding from Northern California VCs and then choose to relocate their teams. Indeed, Launchpad LA began 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 it 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 TeachStars 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.