Our Story

Our founders started the lean innovation movement;
our software continues to evolve at the speed of innovation.

In 2012, co-founders Steve Blank and Jim Hornthal discovered the need for software to power the National Science Foundation’s I-CORPS Program. Staying true to lean innovation, Launchpad delivered a minimum viable product to the NSF by the end of 2012. Since 2012, 13,500+ teams at the NSF I-CORPS, Universities in 200+ countries, government agencies and Fortune 500 corporations have utilized the software to accelerate the time to innovation truth.

In October 2016, we launched GLIDR, our next-generation software platform designed specifically for the needs of enterprise companies. GLIDR utilizes the insights of over 13,500 teams who have experienced the process and software to drive continuous innovation at scale.

Our People

Founded by technology visionaries, the Launchpad team is made up of startup veterans,
corporate innovation experts, hackers, and designers. Our roots in lean startup and
continuous innovation are the driving force behind everything we do.

"I enjoy working in a challenging and inspiring environment. Where ideas and innovations are highlight and promoted. I’m lucky to work with smart and passionate people. It’s always a great pleasure for me to see the realization of a team effort succeed."

Mélissa Issorat

Marketing Designer

"I’ve always enjoyed helping others launch companies and products, which led me to running entrepreneurship programs for startups and then eventually to Launchpad. For me, there’s nothing better than working alongside a motivated group of innovators on a platform dedicated to innovation."

Jake Disraeli

Senior Sales Associate

"As a new developer it’s amazing to work at Launchpad Central because not only do I get to apply my skills as a developer, I am also doing so in a company that not only practices lean startup methods, but also helps others to use them thru their collective knowledge base and decision-making platform."

David Ortiz

Junior Software Engineer

Join the Team

We like big thinkers with small egos who know how to get things done in a team.
Think you have what it takes to work on the forefront on innovation and technology?
Apply for an available position to join our team!

Our Investors
Jim Hornthal
Investor & Chairman of the Board
Hornthal Investment
Todd Klein
Investor & Board Member
SWaN & Legend
Tom Baruch
Investor & Board Member
Baruch Future Ventures (BFV)
Steve Blank
Cofounder & Investor

Jim Hornthal
Investor & Chairman of the Board

Entrepreneur, angel investor, and entrepreneurship educator, Jim is the co-founder and Chairman of Triporati/ Algorithm Engines, Zignal Labs, LaunchPad Central and M34 Capital, and he sits on several private company boards. His private investment fund, Hornthal Investment Partners, has made investments in over 50 early stage companies, including Lending Club, Lyft, Change.org, Hightower Advisors, Krave Jerky, KIND Snacks and Hipmunk, and he invests in several venture capital funds, including several managed by CMEA Capital, TPG, and Kleiner Perkins.

As an entrepreneur, Jim is best known as the Founder of Preview Travel, one of the first online travel agencies. Jim took Preview Travel public in 1997, and later initiated its merger in 2000 with a division of Sabre Holdings to create Travelocity.com, where Jim served as Vice Chairman.

Jim has been a Lester Center Fellow for Entrepreneurship at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley since 2002, where he now teaches The Lean Launchpad course to MBA and graduate engineering students. Jim has also taught the course at Princeton and Stanford, and has been part of the National Science Foundation’s iCorps Teaching Team at UCSF and Stanford.

Philanthropically, Jim focuses on mentoring social entrepreneurs who are working to make the world a smaller place by bridging gaps between conflicting regions and nations.

As prior Chairman of the YPO/WPO Peace Action Network (PAN), he gets to work with business leaders who want to play an active role in affecting change and entrepreneurship in their own regions. PAN members share the belief that business leaders have a responsibility to engage and help create jobs, a vital part of improving the prospects for a sustainable peace. PAN has fostered the creation of an India-Pakistan Forum, an Israeli-Arab forum, and the Arab American Action Forum (A3F) that Mr. Hornthal co-founded and currently serves as co-Chair.

Jim serves as a Trustee for The One Voice Movement, a grass roots organization made up of over 600,000 Palestinian and Israeli youth who work to amplify the voice of the mainstream while marginalizing extreme positions on both sides. He is an advisor to Just Vision, an active member of The Council on Foreign Relations and the Skoll World Forum, was a founding participant in the Clinton Global Initiative and a delegate to President Obama’s Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship.

Mr. Hornthal lives in San Francisco with his wife of 34 years, Bethany, and two rather independent-minded golden doodles named Snicker and Cleo.

His recent TED Book is “A Haystack Full of Needles”, and he freely shares his views and perspectives on innovation and entrepreneurship with anyone foolish enough to care on Twitter: @hornthal.

Todd Klein
Investor & Board Member

As Managing Director and Cheif Investment Officer for SWaN & Legend, Todd brings a successful approach to private equity investing and a focus on identifying and helping to build transformative companies that not only succeed, but transform their industries, their markets and the world around them. During his 20+ year career, he has been involved in financing more than 130 venture and growth stage companies.

In 2005, Todd founded and served as Managing Partner of Legend Ventures, a private investment firm targeting New Media and Information Technology opportunities, which merged with SWaN Investors in 2012, becoming SWaN & Legend Venture Partners. He serves on the boards of Anonymous Content, La Lumiere, China Senior Care, and MyOwnMed. He is also a board observer on CustomInk, Optoro, Social Radar, Quad Learning and Think Food Group.

Todd has written two books on Transformative Companies: East of Wall Street, a work of business fiction, and Built for Change: Essential Traits of Transformative Companies (Praeger Publishing). He is a frequent speaker on capital formation and entrepreneurship, has appeared on the Lou Dobbs Show and CNN, and has been a keynote speaker at Fortune Magazine’s Growth Summit. He serves in leadership roles for the Young Presidents Organization and serves on numerous boards.

He earned his BBA from the University of Texas-Austin and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

SWaN & Legend Venture Partners focuses primarily on companies that are building engaging brands, central to consumers’ lives, across a number of industries, as well as the B2B companies that support them. Within these categories, we are partial to transformative organizations that hold the same level of regard for employees, consumers, vendors and communities as we do. We like to be active and influential in the companies we invest in, providing guidance, support, resources and confidence to the team. We take pride in utilizing our experience, energy and deep network of friends and partners to continue to build high-growth businesses across the United States. Throughout these processes, we endeavor to be smart, experienced, curious, loyal, competitive, engaged, connected and ethical. With these attributes in mind, we strive to consistently deliver our mission, fun and profits, to our partners, companies, communities and ourselves. www.swanandlegend.com

Tom Baruch
Investor & Board Member

Tom began his career at Exxon Mobil. When he left in 1982, he was serving as President of the Exxon Materials Division. He then founded Microwave Technology, Inc., a manufacturer and seller of gallium arsenide (GaAs) integrated circuits for defense applications. He was CEO for 6 years prior to founding CMEA Capital in 1988 with New Enterprise Associates (NEA). At CMEA he managed a total of $1.2 billion across seven funds from inception to July of 2010, and led major IPOs and significant liquidity events for Aclara Biosciences, Codexis, Inc., Entropic Communications, Flextronics, Inc., Intermolecular, Silicon Spice and Symyx Technologies. He is now Partner Emeritus of CMEA. Tom cofounded the technology investment firm Formation 8 and is now a Partner Emeritus / Strategic Advisor.

Currently, Tom serves as Chairman of the Board of Codexis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDXS) and Intermolecular, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMI). Tom also currently serves on the boards of CNano Technologies, Exela Pharm Sci, Foro Energy and Wildcat Discovery Technologies.

Tom is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), where he advises the U.S. Department of Commerce and the White House, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Council of Competitiveness and a member of both the Steering Committee of its ESIS (Energy, Security, Innovation

and Sustainability) Initiative and the U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative. He’s also a member of the “Brain Trust” of the ARPA-E program within the U.S. Department of Energy. He recently served as a member of the IPO Task Force advising the U.S. Department of the Treasury in stimulating startup activity in the U.S.

Tom is a member of the board of directors of the Society of Kauffman Fellows, a member of the Climate Recovery Cabinet of the Sierra Club, and a trustee of the “That Man May See” program within the University of California San Francisco. He is an advisor to Hasso Plattner Ventures, a leading German venture capital fund.

He is also a Trustee of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was Co-Chairman of its recent $1.1 billion Capital Campaign. He and his wife, Johanna, are Founders of the Baruch Center for Solar Biochemical Energy Research at the Institute’s School of Science, and the Richard Baruch, M.D. Endowed Chair in metabolic pathways of the School of Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Tom holds an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Juris Doctor degree from Capital University. He is a member of the State Bar of Ohio and is a registered patent attorney.

Steve Blank
Cofounder & Investor

Steve is a serial entrepreneur and the architect of the Lean LaunchPad framework. He has authored two groundbreaking entrepreneurship texts: The Startup Owner's Manual and The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Steve's experience and knowledge are irreplaceable components of our DNA, which drive us with steadfast clarity.

Over the last 35 years, Steve has co-founded or been part of eight Silicon Valley startups, spanning semiconductors, video games, personal computers, and supercomputers. (These include MIPS, Zilog, Rocket Science, SuperMac, Convergent Technologies, Ardent, and ESL.) His last company was E.piphany, an enterprise software company.

Steve is a past board member of California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), Audubon California, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Startup Weekend.He served as a governors appointee to the California Coastal Commission.

Steve currently teaches entrepreneurship at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University; NYU; Stanford University Engineering School, and UCSF. In 2009 he was awarded the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in the department of Management Science and Engineering, and 2010 he was awarded the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. In 2011 the National Science Foundation adopted his Lean Launchpad class as the U.S. standard for commercializing basic and applied research via the Innovation Corps.

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