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launch-fest-banner-2013 (34)From March 4 to March 6, over 5000 entrepreneurs, tech industry executives, inventors, angel investors and venture capitalists mixed and mingled at the 2013 LAUNCH Festival, touted as “the best place to launch your start-up, raise money and learn about starting a company.” This year, 300 start-ups — including 40 brand new companies — competed in the event.

Held at the San Francisco Design Center, the LAUNCH Festival was created six years ago by Jason Calanacis, rock star tech entrepreneur, prominent blogger, and  sought-after investor. The event provides brand new start-ups as well as existing companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a grand jury of investors, each of whom have contributed funds to the prize pot. With over $2 million at stake, founders and team members of competing companies vied for the judges’ attention, on stage and off.

The competition is divided into four categories:

  • pitch-stage-launch-fest-2013 (10)1.0 Competition – geared towards brand new start-ups in closed alpha or beta mode and have never had any public demos or press coverage
  • 2.0 Competition – for existing companies launching new products or significant new versions of their product or project
  • eliot-sun-launch-fest-2013 (1)Launch Alpha – a 3-day hackathon where teams of 1-4 hackers & designers build brand new apps on-site for a chance to receive a $50k investment or $20k cash
  • Demo Pit – created for existing companies that have already launched and are looking for additional funding

The event has an impressive track record:

  • 2007 Winner, Mint, was bought by Intuit
  • 2008 Winner, Yammer, was acquired by Microsoft
  • 2009 Winner, Red Beacon, sold to the Home Depot
  • 2011 Winner, Room 77, raised $10.7 million post-event (now valued at $100 million)

digital-detox-zone-launch-fest-2013 (9)Other past winners include Stack Overflow (2011 2.0), SpaceMonkey (2012) and Alltuition (2012 2.0), which helps high school students manage the financial aid process, from start to finish.

This year, the event included a Digital Detox Lounge where attendees can “Disconnect to Reconnect.” Designated as a technology-free zone, everyone that stopped in was encouraged to unplug, kick off their shoes, and even get a relaxing massage.

Froomz-Listing-Detail-Page_03-09-13Froomz team members, advisors and partners — including Yan Heim, Christina Dunham, Courtney McQuade, Brad Lev and Collette Simko-Knauss — worked the demo pit all three days, providing festival attendees a peek at the newly launched website feature — a dynamic listing detail page that enables customers to view a venue’s available rental packages and price out their event, all on the same page.

To view the new feature, check out over 400 listings on the Froomz venue marketplace

Enjoy some of the highlights below from the 2013 LAUNCH Festival. For more LAUNCH Festival Photos, check out this album on the Froomz Facebook Page.

  • And the winners of Launch are…. Zillabyte, Jawfish Games, Boxbee and More (venturebeat.com)
  • Launch Festival: We live in the future now (socialmedia.biz)
  • Winter 2013 startups head to San Francisco Launch Festival (business.financialpost.com)