The LAUNCH Festival prides itself on having a fair competition. Our founder, Jason Calacanis, who is the most active angel
investor in the world today, does not select the winners because, typically, he winds up investing in 15-25 of the startups
at the Festival each year! 50 startups compete from four pools: those that apply to the Festival (~14 startups) with a
new product (1.0 competition) or a significant new version of an existing product/company (2.0 competition), those from
the LAUNCH Incubator (14 startups that spend the 12 weeks before the event with us), the LAUNCH Hackathon projects
(seven startups), and the DEMO Pit selections (15 startups).  


We’ve been honored to have the same loyal judges join us year after year to create an amazingly fair and
supportive competition, which has been modeled after the Sundance Film Festival’s grand jury! Members include
Adeo Ressi, Brian Alvey, Cyan Bannister, Don Dodge, Gigi Brisson, and Mark Pesce.



+ LAUNCH 1.0

  • LAUNCH your company on stage for the first time ever.
  • No screenshots, no press, no social media, no AngelList profile, no nothing! You are hidden and people see your product for the first time on stage. You don’t pre-brief the press, you don’t do a demo day before the Festival. You’re on lockdown!
  • Companies accepted into 1.0 must have their websites behind a LaunchRock (or equivalent) with no product shots or videos on their site. You may have company name, logo, and a box to collect emails.
  • Any press or pre-briefs will disqualify you from the competition.
  • Not sure if you qualify? Check out the FAQ.

+ LAUNCH 2.0

  • Your company has already launched, and now you have a MASSIVELY compelling new feature or a brand-new product.
  • You will only be judged on totally new stuff the world has not seen.
  • The NEW product or feature MUST be significant. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Will press like GigaOm, New York Times, TechCrunch, etc., want to cover the new product or feature?
  • Will the audience pull out their iPhones, snap a picture and say, "WOW"?
  • Note if you qualify? Check out the FAQ.


  • Seven companies graduating from the very first class of our LAUNCH Incubator will be presenting on stage at the Festival.
  • These companies are NOT part of LAUNCH 1.0 or LAUNCH 2.0 competitions.
  • One of these seven companies will win an award for “Best Incubator Startup.”
  • Want to learn more? Check out the LAUNCH Incubator.


  • Each panel will be comprised of 4-6 judges, all high-level experts across diverse disciplines within technology and entrepreneurship.
  • Current LAUNCH Fund companies are NOT eligible to win the top prizes of the LAUNCH 1.0 or LAUNCH 2.0 competitions. (Note: The LAUNCH Fund often invests in the winning companies, after the event.)


  • Hacking will start the weekend before the Festival. Seven companies will be chosen to present their projects on the main stage. The winner will be eligible for a $250K optional investment from the LAUNCH Fund.