Founded by Brett Goldstein, Michael Houck, and Jacob Peters in August 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Launch House began as a residency program for leaders of many kinds, ranging from startup founders to engineers. At the time, co-living allowed a level of collaboration and interaction that many were sorely missing. Yet, as the pandemic — and technology — evolved, Launch House did as well, transforming into a global community designed to help its members level up and live better, regardless of their physical housing situation.

Still, as Goldstein knows, shared spaces have fueled some of the greatest startups to come out of Silicon Valley. After all, he says, “There’s a reason why three out of the six most valuable companies in the world were started in dorm rooms, right? And it’s because people were surrounded by tons of ideas, [and] super inspired during unstructured time.”

The question facing him and the other Launch House founders, then, was how to re-create that idea-rich environment without requiring members to bunk up and hunker down together. And the answer they landed on? Harnessing the power of the metaverse to unlock and deliver “IRL [education]” to an ever-expanding global community.

A New Way to ‘Gather’

To increase programming accessibility to its international membership base, Launch House built a virtual home on Gather, a browser-based, two-dimensional metaverse platform. Intended to create the feeling of a brick-and-mortar university, the base includes everything from classrooms to hallways and many open spaces, carefully designed to fuel members’ impromptu social gatherings. As such, it offers members an opportunity to engage in authentic exchanges of ideas, in addition to enrolling in the virtual program offerings that are exclusively available to community members.

With this move, Launch House joins more than 10,000 offices already facilitating co-working on Gather. Yet, as Joakim Isoaho, Gather’s former platform community and growth manager, sees it, Launch House is helping take the concept of co-working to the next level. He says, “What they’re doing is bringing founders into the space; they have events around learning from each other … [and they’re] organizing different kinds of events based on learning topics.”

Ongoing Opportunities for Growth

That digital step-up marries perfectly with the community’s mission, along with its other offerings. In addition to providing proprietary access to higher education courses, Launch House membership privileges also include scaling and fundraising assistance, along with access to digital cohorts and in-person events and retreats.

Recently, Launch House announced its venture arm, House Capital, with a multi-million debut fund. While general partners Goldstein, Houck, and Peters — along with a broad base of powerful limited partners — plan to invest in companies both within and outside the Launch House community, this debut represents another real-world opportunity for Launch House members, as the fund believes strongly in entrepreneurs that come from within the community. After all, Houck explains, “Launch House has deep and authentic relationships with the early-stage founders who join our community,” so they will be a natural first choice as House Capital seeks out new pre-seed and seed-stage companies in which to invest.