Vox published a piece yesterday about a time period in our company’s history in which we should have been better, a time in which we did not live up to our values and the expectations of our members. For that I am sorry. Early in our history, we did not yet have the right staff or practices and procedures implemented to provide the safe experience that we are committed to delivering.
Still there are many mischaracterizations and allegations in the story that are untrue - we provided Vox a 19-page document containing counter-evidence and a range of employee, investor, and member on-the-record eyewitnesses that they did not include in the story - and it largely pertains to a period over a year ago when we were a very different company.
Since taking over as CEO late last year, it’s been a top priority of mine to ensure the psychological and physical safety of every Launch House member and ensure that women and other underestimated people play a central role as our community grows - we’ve made great progress:
We contracted a seasoned HR leader and top DEI consulting firm to audit and update our Zero Tolerance policy and other policies and practices for safety, security, D&I, and incident response.
We’ve grown our team to over 20 - women account for almost 50% and are in several leadership positions including operations and member experience (which oversees safety and all incident responses)
We added live-in team members to all houses and hired a 3rd-party security firm to ensure the safety of our physical properties
We’ve continued to offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to underestimated people to join our community (while our acceptance rate has dropped to 7%) and have run new women-led Female Founder Residency programs.
The impact of these changes on our community has been clear. Our safety and security as well as overall satisfaction ratings continue to be consistently high in anonymous feedback surveys after running hundreds of events and dozens of cohorts. And within the Launch House community, 27% of venture dollars are raised by women, which is 13x better than the industry average (2%).
Of course, this is not enough. We believe that diversity, equity, inclusion and safety aren’t one-off projects, but a life-long commitment that we will continue to uphold and improve upon.
Looking ahead, just a few initiatives we have planned through the end of the year include moving into new houses outfitted with more state-of-the-art security systems, implementing more formal background checks and rolling out official scholarships and channel partnerships to increase diversity of our membership.
I am lucky to work with an incredible team that cares deeply about the needs of our members, who we talk to every single day about ideas to make Launch House better.
Even if you aren’t a member but have ideas or feedback, please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll share it with the team.
- Brett Goldstein, CEO of Launch House