LaunchBox Digital

Frequently Asked Questions

How can LaunchBox Digital help me?

We'll help make it easier for you to launch your company, and we'll increase its chances of success.

Specifically:

In general we expect LaunchBox08 companies to be seeking additional funding at the close of the initial program. LaunchBox Digital will organize that process and will guide you through it. Some companies may seek substantial funding; others may want a small amount of funding to get to profitability. It's also possible that a company may self-fund. We'll help you identify, understand, and think through your options.

How is LaunchBox Digital different from a venture capital firm or an angel investor?

We're focused on entrepreneurs at their earliest stage—when they have a great idea and are looking to get going. Venture capital firms typically look for companies further along in their development. Some angels will invest at early stages, but often angel investors are individuals without the kind of structured program and support that LaunchBox Digital offers to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into successful companies. We have made angel investments and we have worked extensively with venture and other investment firms focused on companies at later stages of development—in many cases they offer exactly what companies need at the time they need it. Our conviction behind LaunchBox Digital stems in large part from seeing that there are real unmet needs of entrepreneurs, particularly at early stages.

What type of businesses are you looking at?

We are open to a wide range of ideas. This is a fantastic time to be starting web-based companies, and we expect a significant number of LaunchBox Digital investment and LaunchBox08 participants to be Internet companies, "Web 2.0" or otherwise. We're also very interested in mobile ideas. We're still in the early innings of the web revolution, but we're even earlier in the mobile revolution; and development costs are coming down in the latter in a similar way to the former. There are great opportunities for startups focused on what many are now referring to as Web 3.0—the mobile Internet—and on digital set-top boxes as well. In general, we're interested in digital ideas and the broad digital opportunity.

How do I apply for LaunchBox08?

The application form for LaunchBox08 is available here.

What do I need to apply to LaunchBox08?

You need to complete the application, and have your core team identified. Demo code and wireframes are helpful if you have them. We're not looking for long business plans at this stage, but a core idea, ideally with some technological thinking already behind it. We expect most of our successful applicants will be two- or three-person teams, but we're open to individuals as well as larger teams.

Do I need to have prior start-up experience?

No, we are looking for passionate people with great ideas.

Are there any restrictions on who can apply?

No. As long as you can be on-site in the United States during the three months of the LaunchBox08 in 2008, you are eligible to participate.

When does LaunchBox08 start, and how long does it run for?

LaunchBox08 is expected to start in May 2008, and run for approximately 12 weeks.

Do I need to be in the Washington, D.C. area during the program?

Yes. You and your team need to be in D.C. during the 12 weeks of the program. It's the best way for us to help you during this critical period.

How much do you invest in each company, and what equity interest do you receive in exchange?

Our model is to invest $15,000 to $30,000 per company, depending on team size, business capital requirements, and other similar considerations. For our investment and other contributions, LaunchBox Digital will receive a 4-8% equity stake in each company. The exact amount will vary depending on the specific opportunity and the amount we invest.

What's expected of me?

This is your company—your dream. We expect you to work hard throughout LaunchBox08, and we hope you'll take full advantage of the resources and opportunities we provide. We want you to succeed—and the immediate goal will be for you to have a compelling pitch for investors, partners and/or customers at the end of the program. Often that'll mean having both a demo and business plan; occasionally it'll mean having one but not the other. The test is whether it's compelling enough to justify a further investment of capital or a key strategic partnership.

What can I expect from LaunchBox Digital?

Beyond helping you with funding and the legal work to set up your company, we will help you refine your vision, give you feedback on your product, and help you as you develop the business plan for your business. You'll hit roadblocks; we'll aim to help you through them quickly. We've assembled a world-class group of advisors who've been where you are and succeeded. And we'll connect you with angels, venture firms, strategic partners, bloggers, and the press, at presentation days on both the east and west coasts.

Where do I live during LaunchBox08?

That's up to you. You are responsible for housing in Washington, D.C. during the program. We encourage teams to live together during this intense period of development.

What happens at the end of LaunchBox08—am I on my own?

At the end of LaunchBox08, we'll organize opportunities for you to present to potential investors and strategic partners. We expect to have two pitch days, one on the east coast and one on the west coast. At each event, you will get access to a great group of venture capital firms, angel inventors, potential partners, as well as bloggers and other press. Our goal is to help you secure further funding or other relevant partnerships to take your business to the next level. Some companies may choose to self-fund. We'll help you identify and think through all of your options.

LaunchBox Digital's help doesn't stop at the end of the initial program. We'll continue to help as you move forward. There's a lot that has to come together to turn a great idea into a great company—resources, talent, marketing, sales, partnerships, etc. We'll be there to help as you take those important next steps. Remember, we succeed only if you succeed.

What if I'm not interested in LaunchBox08, but am looking for seed or angel funding?

LaunchBox Digital is now accepting proposals from early stage business for seed or angel investment, on a selective basis. Click here to submit an executive summary.


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