“It’s not being smart, it’s not being diligent, and it’s certainly not being a visionary.”
– Jason Calacanis
It’s time to accelerate your startup to become a business. This is where LAUNCH Hackathon and Jason Calacanis’ $250,000 comes in handy. So how do you show Jason and the LAUNCH Hackathon jury that your startup is an opportunity worthy of investment in both time and money?
The following pie chart shows us that 42% of Jason’s early investments were made in a companies that attended the LAUNCH Hackathon:
This means that even if your team doesn’t win the grand prize, there is still a good chance (if you impress Jason) to win a valuable investment.
We’ve gathered some data from both angel.co and crunchbase on Jason’s early round investments (seed, angel and convertible notes). Disclaimer: This data is not exact, but merely a summary of the startups that captured Jason’s attention and investment dollars (please let us know if we got anything wrong or missed something valuable).
Here is a summary of the total investments Jason made organized by category, and by product/services in the most common categories:
We can see that Jason has spread his investments across many different categories but most often in SaaS. Maybe Jason has an interest because of the scalability and flexibility that comes with that category.
1. SaaS products
2. Target Enterprise/B2B customers (easier to get a paying customer fast)
3. Niche and repeatable products or services
There is also some LAUNCH data that you should take in account. Below are the companies and categories that have been in the LAUNCH Incubator. Take a look at when they launched and the successes they have had:
Read more – Launchincubator.com
The following is a list of Jason’s 10 exits and the companies’ respective categories (Considering these were highly profitable exits, I think it’s safe to assume Jason likes these kinds of companies).
One takeaway is clear from looking at Jason’s list of prior successful investments: it’s not always about the “sexiest” idea. If you want your pitch to be taken seriously, you should be solving a real problem with a product that will work, and ideally be able to product some recurring revenue, hence the focus on SaaS.
Still not sure what to build? Here’s some inspiration. Last year PreHire.io won with their HMS (Hiring Management System) for companies to be able to easy and systematic do job simulations on applicants, 2014 VUE built an CFM (Customer Feedback Management) system to help developers easily engage it’s users to gain feedback. In 2013 WizzyWig won with their CMS (Content Management System) solving the problem for companies updating their webpages all the time and therefore having a time consuming process waiting on developers to deploy that content.
A lot of the angels are entrepreneurs themselves who have hustled and put in hard work to create thriving businesses and win. Their experiences with failure and success means they are well aware of what to look for in a startup.
Here’s what Jason had to say about passing on Twitter and Zynga, but not making the same mistake with Uber and Thumbtack.
“I knew Evan (Twitter) and Mark (Zynga) were winners. but I didn’t think their ideas — for “updates” and “social poker” — were winners. I was wrong about their ideas, but I was right about them. — When Travis (Uber) and Marco (Thumbtack) came along with their ideas, I didn’t even try to judge if “on-demand drivers” and “a better craigslist” were winners, because I knew the individuals were winners.”
This led to “Jason’s Law of Angel Investing”, where he states “You don’t need to know if the idea will succeed — just the person.”
The competition is steep and the people you are most interested in pitching are the ones with the least time to spare. You need to be as prepared as possible before the hackathon. You, your team, and your world-class product should have the ability to showcase high-level tech and a viable growth strategy. After putting in 48 hours of hacking, you should have a working MVP and a couple of first test users prior to your pitch.
Show the jury your product, don’t just scroll through powerpoints. Talk and demonstrate face-to-face. First concerns for investors will be how much value the product offers and whether your team has a vision for said product. Tell a story. Describe a problem or inefficiency that is prevalent today and then your what if scenario is how your product solves that problem. The Jury wants to know and understand your version of the future.
We hope you’ll attend the LAUNCH Hackathon in San Francisco, February 26-28 and take this major opportunity to show Jason Calacanis why your team is worth a $250,000 investment!
We will be attending the F8 Facebook Developer Conference from May 1st – 2nd in California, USA. This 2-day event is where developers and businesses explore what’s next in technology and learn about the new products and innovations Facebook is… read more