09/09/2013 01:52 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Launch Baby @Launch!

OK, I'll admit it, my first startup conference was back in 1999 at's "Bootcamp for Startups." I had just landed back in the states after almost 10 years of working and studying overseas and for me and 1,000 other attendees, it was our quick dive into Silicon Valley and the startup world. I was young and starting my first tech company. It was exciting. But in hindsight, the value that we gained from one way conferences like Bootcamp for Startups pale in comparison to the value provided by new immersive experiences like The Launch Conference.

The Launch Conference was founded by Jason Calacanis, a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and the host of "This Week in Startups." By engineering the right balance of aspiring founders, seasoned entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, hackers, and entertainment, Jason and the Launch team have mastered the art of creating a really fun and valuable startup ecosystem.

What makes Launch stand out from other startup conferences is the quality of the user experience. You can really tell that the Launch team is 100 percent focused on their product and that they get what we want and what we don't want from a conference. They practice what they preach. You can see this dedication to quality in everything they do from how much time and effort they spend with startups to improve their products and their pitches before they hit the stage, to producing incredible hackathons (the last one had over 500 hackers and designers) that attract the best talent from all over the world.

The Launch team knows that...

• We want to meet passionate entrepreneurs
• We want to see quality deal flow and see companies get funded
• We want to discover great talent that we can hire
• We want to see, touch and feel cutting edge technology
• We want interactivity and high audience participation
• We want great breakout sessions
• We want to meet industry leaders who can tell us where things are heading and who are willing to listen and give useful feedback
• We want to witness great products being built in a 48 hour hackathon and then see those beautiful functioning products demoed live on stage - where everyone says "whoa, no fucking way that was built in the last two days"... but it was!
• We want food trucks
• We want to party at night with folks from all over the world
• We want a meritocracy where only great companies get invited to participate (not a payola powered conference)

...and that is what Launch gives us. A high quality experience.

The primary reason that I love attending Launch Conferences is to discover new companies and to meet amazing entrepreneurs -- and I haven't been disappointed. The talent is spectacular. At one Launch conference, I was super interested in sensors and met two startups in the demo area. Both had exceptional technical founders who were going after different product directions, but they both needed similar help with strategy, distribution, funding, etc. I became friends with each of founders and it has been great to learn from them and to help them out whenever possible over the past two years. One company is now doing incredibly well with happy customers, global sales and a great product pipeline. Unfortunately, the other company had to shutdown earlier this year because the founder wasn't able to build a cohesive team or find a product market fit. That founder is now learning from that experience as he sets out on his next venture. #Startuplife

I am still very interested in sensors and the positive effect the data they generate can have on our health and society. That is why I was super excited to find out last week that Launch is hosting a new summit that is dedicated to Mobile & Wearables! They have recruited some really amazing companies to participate like Factual, Xtreme Labs, Social Capital Partners, RockHealth and many more. See a complete list of companies and speakers below and here.

The Launch Mobile & Wearables conference will be in San Francisco on September 30th and October 1st at the Metreon City View.

Hope to see you there!


List of some of the speakers...
• Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder, SCP
• Andrew Bocking, EVP, Blackberry
• Manish Jha, GM Mobile, NFL
• Pete Flint, CEO, Trulia
• Adam Cahan, SVP Mobile & Emerging Products, Yahoo
• Tom Conrad, CTO, Pandora
• Dave Morin, CEO, Path
• Aaron Levie, Cofounder & CEO, Box
• Sean Rad, Founder & CEO, Tinder
• Matt Galligan, CEO, Circa
• Phillip Easter, Director Mobile apps, American Airlines
• Sam Shank, CEO, Hotel Tonight
• Ben Milne, CEO, Dwolla
• Ram Ramkumar, Founder & CEO, Swell
• John Zimmer, Cofounder & CEO, Lyft
• Sean Bonner, Director, Safecast
• Eric Migicovsky, Founder & CEO, Pebble
• William Pence, EVP, CTO & COO, WebMD
• Martin Källström, CEO, Memoto
• Jason Jacobs, Founder & CEO, RunKeeper
• Stephen Stokols, CEO, Freedom Pop
• Hemi Weingarten, Founder & CEO, Fooducate
• Alisa Gould-Simon, Cofounder, Pose
• Jason Aramburu, CEO, Soil IQ
• Miles Ludwig, VP Digital Media, Sesame Workshop
• Jeff Fluhr, CEO, Spreecast
• Bora Celik, CEO, Jukely
• Jason Wang, Cofounder & CEO, Caviar
• Cooper, Cofounder,
• Jeremy Fisher, CEO, Days
• Sam Zebarjadi, Cofounder & CEO, Medicast
• Nanxi Liu, CEO, Enplug
• Ben Hurst, VP Mobile & Emerging Platforms, Viacom
• Jeremy Wacksman, VP Marketing & Mobile, Zillow
• Raj Aggarwal, CEO, Localytics
• Guy Story, CTO, Audible
• Matthew de Ganon, VP Mobile, Gannett Digital
• Paul Murphy, SVP of Product, Betaworks
• David Van Sickle, CEO, Asthmapolis
• Eric Singley, VP Mobile, Yelp
• Lasse Leppäkorpi, CEO, Beddit
• Oisin Hanrahan, CEO HandyBook
• P.J. Gunsagar, Cofounder & CEO, Kidaptive
• John Lin, Principal Product Manager, ZTE
• Jesse Pickard, Cofounder & CEO, MindSnacks
• Michael Cerda, SVP Product & Technology, VEVO
• Phil Gordon, CEO, Jawfish Games
• Mike Crowley, CEO, 94Fifty
• Ryan Block, VP of Product, AOL
• Andrew Morrison, VP, T-Mobile
• Elena Silenok, Founder, Clothia
• Alexander Ljung, CEO, SoundCloud
• Joe Ruffolo, SVP, ABC News Digital
• Robert Occhialini, NBA Digital
• Suhail Doshi, CEO, Mixpanel
• Perry Tam, CEO, Storm8
• Desney Tan, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
• Jocelyn Mangan, OpenTable
• Kevin McKenzie, Westfield Labs
• Adam Sager, Founder, CEO, Canary
• Blair Harrison, CEO, Frequency
• Bill Hodak, New Relic
• Gil Elbaz, CEO, Factual