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Launch House Year in Review: Living Up to Its ‘Most Innovative’ Rep

Back in March, Launch House was voted into Fast Company’s rankings of 2022’s Top 10 Most Innovative Social Media Companies. That may be an odd list to land on since, technically speaking, the membership community has little to do with so-called “traditional” forms of social media. But, since founders Brett Goldstein, Michael Houck, and Jacob Peters’ community redefines every category it touches, the award isn’t actually as surprising as it might seem at first glance. In fact, Launch House’s 2022 milestones show just how apt the nod truly is.

From Hacker Home to Redefining Global Community

The company’s social media win came for creating what was described as the “hacker home 2.0.” Indeed, at the time of its 2020 rollout, Launch House’s co-living space in Mexico looked a lot like other Silicon Valley hacker homes — promising entrepreneurs were invited to live together under one roof, forming authentic, synergistic relationships that could boost each resident’s individual ingenuity.

Now, in the midst of the pandemic, co-living in the traditional model made perfect sense. And there’s still great value to this model, as Launch House has proved with its ongoing rollouts of four-week residency programs. Yet, as these residency programs grew Launch House’s community of builders, founders, and creators, the founders moved to expand their offerings into URL spaces — aka the metaverse — thereby redefining the idea of community, cohorts, and so much more. Enter hacker house 2.0.

The New Social Network

By the start of 2021, as pandemic-era restrictions started to recede, Launch House had evolved beyond the simple accelerator model. In the physical realm, in-person offerings had now expanded to New York and Los Angeles. But in the metaverse, members could now join the digital community hosted on Gather, a 2D virtual workspace backed by Sequoia Capital. There, Launch House members from anywhere in the world could form organic connections in the “hallways” of a virtual university while also enjoying educational offerings valuable enough to make many founders rethink the need for investing in an inexpensive four-year degree that offered a low return on investment.

With this pivot, Launch House truly was able to build a vast social network accessible around the world, thanks to its reach across physical and digital spaces. That reach is impressive, and it’s helped fuel member success stories like the launch of Showtime, a non-fungible token social network that was the brainchild of Launch House member Alex Masmej. But it’s also increased the community’s accessibility, as Launch House has reduced the barrier for entry to its paid membership model by waiving any right to equity in members’ startups and by funding a grant program that reduces costs for founders from underrepresented communities.

Backed by the Bigs

With all this innovation, it’s perhaps not surprising that 2022 has also proved to be a lucrative year for the Launch House team. After securing $3 million in seed money earlier on, Launch House closed a $12 million Series A round this year and announced its venture arm, House Capital, backed by a multi-million dollar fund.

Also in the works for Launch House this year? The Launch House team rolled out a new, entrepreneur-focused digital newsletter, Homescreen, that in a few short months has already accrued an audience of 18,000-plus subscribers. All of this raises the question: Will 2023 be the year that Launch House redefines the media company category?