Launch Pad Raises $1.3 million to Catalyze Startup Ecosystems in Momentum Markets
NEW ORLEANS – In 2018, Launch Pad, a New Orleans-based company, started their national expansion by opening three successful co-working spaces in Newark, NJ, Nashville, TN and Memphis, TN. Building on this growth, the company has closed on seed round funding that will fuel the next phase of growth as the company sets its sights on 25 locations by 2020. The announcement was made in a press release.
With the passage of the Opportunity Zones (OZs) legislation—a place-based policy that drives incentives for economic growth in underserved neighborhoods—Launch Pad’s mission of supporting and growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in momentum markets is more essential than ever. This important legislation needs companies like Launch Pad in order for it to have a lasting impact on communities and the economy. Launch Pad offers the network, community hub, education and funding to support entrepreneurs, working in partnership with local organizations to collaborate with each ecosystem.
“Launch Pad is a catalyst to activate entrepreneurial ecosystems in momentum markets and the OZ law recognizes the importance of investing in communities across the country and totally aligns with the Launch Pad mission of serving entrepreneurs in underserved markets,” says Launch Pad co-founder and CEO Chris Schultz. “Our four current locations are in Opportunity Zones, and these decisions predated this tax law. The OZ legislation has provided a compass for our expansion across the country and will allow us to open more Launch Pad locations and support direct investment into the operating businesses in these Opportunity Zones.”
Launch Pad has raised a $1.3MM in the seed round. The capital raise will be used to continue the expansion of the Launch Pad network of co-working spaces in Opportunity Zones across the U.S.—providing the space, resources, and eventually, funding, for the members of Launch Pad as well as the cities where Launch Pad opens its doors.
This integrated model—which combines community hubs, real estate place making and a future venture fund—makes Launch Pad attractive as a partner to developers and city leaders to help catalyze their ecosystems.
Over the first eight years of operating in New Orleans, Launch Pad members created over 5,000 jobs, raised $160 million in capital, and graduates have leased 600,000 sf of new office space. As Launch Pad grows into new markets, a primary objective is to create similar economic impact across the country.
“Launch Pad’s growth strategy is identifying cities where entrepreneurs and businesses are hungry for growth and collaboration, and where building a strong community is essential to success,” says Launch Pad President and COO Anne Driscoll. “With this first round of funding complete, we will continue to focus on creating and supporting hubs of entrepreneurship in mid-sized cities that recognize the importance of retaining talent and creating a diverse and equitable workforce.”