Today, applications are open for Launchpad LA’s Class 6. The class will run from mid-September to mid-January (exact dates subject to change).
Applications are due August 11th at 11:59pm. After this date, we will continue to accept applications, but we cannot guarantee review before the class kickoff in September. (Launchpad LA runs “elastic classes,” meaning that we accept companies early or late, rather than adhering to a rigid calendar for the accelerator. So, if we’re being totally honest, you can actually apply anytime; however, we make most of our investment decisions during the official application period, so we highly recommend submitting your company during this time. Does that make sense?)
Moving on…what do we look for in an application?
Several people have blogged about this topic before, and most of them are worth reading, but I want to highlight a few ways to make your application really stand out to us.
- Build something. We rarely invest in ideas. We want to see that you’ve built something. It helps us understand the way you think about product and design, and it shows that you’ve got the hustle to execute. Great design is definitely not required at this early stage, but it can certainly help you stand out. In any case, building something to show us is pretty much essential, and as Andrew Parker says, showing a demo is the best way to capture an investor’s imagination.
- Apply early; send updates. Assessing applications with a single snapshot is hard (read: impossible). We invest in lines, not dots. When you wait to apply until the end of the application cycle, we have less time to track your progress. Brendan Baker and Hiten Shah created a great presentation that explains how to communicate traction to investors.
- Be concise; use bullets. We’ve seen thousands of pitches and read thousands of applications. Explain why you’re awesome in as few words as possible. We will be grateful for it.
- Be referred by someone in our network. This doesn’t mean you should spam everyone in our network asking for a referral. If you know someone personally, or think what you’re working on will resonate with someone specific, ask them for a few minutes to learn about your business. If they like it and let us know about you, that is a big boost to your application. If you’re cold-emailing someone in our network asking for a referral, do it smartly – David Cohen and Thomas Korte have written great blog posts explaining the best ways to do this.
- Why is your team the right team? We want to work with entrepreneurs and teams who are working on a problem they are passionate about. Why does your team’s background and experience lend itself to solving this problem?
- Why now? What developments in technology, user behavior, or the broader economy make your business likely to succeed now more than ever before?
In general, if your application convincingly answers the questions laid out in the classic Sequoia business plan outline, you’re on the right track. Throw in a killer product demo and a couple referrals from people we know and you’ll definitely have our attention.
We look forward to learning about your exciting business in the months ahead. Don’t hesitate to reach out through email or social media with any questions.