[ Image created by Marc Burckhardt for the Inc. magazine article "Tony Hsieh's Excellent Las Vegas Adventure" by Max Chafkin. ]
If you thought the prize money available at this year's LAUNCH Festival was already too good to be true, well, we've raised the bar even higher.
San Francisco-based accelerator AngelPad is guaranteeing a slot to a LAUNCH company* -- worth $120k [ $20k from AngelPad and the option to accept $100k from two prominent VC firms ]. Plus VegasTechFund will invest at least $100k in one company that agrees to relocate to Las Vegas.
We love the fact that Tony Hsieh of Zappos fame will offer all competition winners a paid trip to downtown Vegas, where they'll get hang-out time with Tony and team, and the opportunity to get to know and share with the Vegas tech community. If they decide to join a number of companies who have already relocated, VegasTechFund will invest.
These are the fifth and sixth announced prizes for the LAUNCH Festival. The first four were:
1. TechStars accepting one of the 40 companies into its next semester (valued at $118k).
2. Venture51 providing a $51k investment into the winner of the 1.0 competition.
3. Charles River Ventures putting a $100k investment in one of the 10 award winners.
4. MailChimp investing $100k in one of the winners.
Thanks to AngelPad and VegasTech, the grand total is now a whopping $489k!
AngelPad has launched 37 companies since its own launch in August 2010. Those companies in turn have raised over $25M -- extremely impressive for such a young accelerator in a very competitive market.
That's why when AngelPad co-founder Thomas Korte asked if AngelPad could offer a slot to a company launching at the LAUNCH Festival March 7 & 8, we said yes! It's yet another win for startups at a time when getting into an awesome accelerator is harder than getting into Harvard.
Like the TechStars offer we announced previously, a LAUNCH company will skip AngelPad's application process and go straight into its 10-week program and receive the aforementioned $20K, tons of mentorship, practical help and a chance to wow top investors at Demo Day.*
Even better, Thomas has agreed to be on the LAUNCH Grand Jury, where he will watch all 40 demos over both days of the event.
Tony, meanwhile, will judge the companies that demo the afternoon of March 7.
Thanks so much to Thomas and AngelPad, and Tony and VegasTechFund for their generous offers!
Jason & the LAUNCH Team
* Acceptance is, of course, pending a mutual, post-event due diligence process.