In a town hall with some members of their community, Launch House addressed the harassment and assault allegations uncovered by a Vox investigation earlier this week. The startup, a group of top investors backed by A16z and Flybridge, said an independent investigation is underway.
“We’ll let the investigation speak for itself, but we believe it shows that we can’t retaliate against women,” the co-founders said, referring to an incident highlighted in a Vox piece that alleged retaliation against Launch House. On a woman who had been sexually assaulted there in the past. Launch House has denied any retaliation to Vox and repeated that denial at today’s meeting.
The startup promises that it is building an industry-leading safety and security program for co-living experiences, which it will share in detail with another community “very soon.”
The town meeting lasted less than 15 minutes and was hosted by the co-founders Brett Goldstein And Michael Haque. There is no live question-and-answer component and chat is not active. Sources say some people who spoke out against Launch House on Twitter were not given access to the meeting.
After the story was published, a spokesperson for Launch House said, “It is incorrect to say that only a few community members were invited. The whole community is invited. In fact, a follow-up message was sent to the entire community via Discord to make sure everyone received the Zoom invite. The company defines “community” as members of the Launch House program and says it has invited investors and LPs to meet for its fund.
The actual meeting was scheduled for Thursday. The co-founders said some members asked why the Friday afternoon meeting had been moved to the end of the week, to which Haque replied: “You’re right. We dropped the ball because we reacted quickly enough to this [and] With enough compassion. And it doesn’t reflect the values that we’ve built this community on and that we care about since day one.
“To put it more simply, we definitely should have met with you earlier than today,” Haque added, later adding: “All I can say now is that we are ready to talk and we have a plan.”
The conversation focused on three topics: what Launch House has done in the past, what it plans to do in the future, and how it plans to rebuild trust with female entrepreneurs among their peers. The co-founders said at the meeting that the meeting content was developed in response to questions submitted by the community over the past week.
“We’re sorry to all of you who were affected,” Goldstein continued. “As we talked about at the beginning, no one is safe at any time. This is absolutely not fair and is not something we can allow. As far as the specifics of what happened, we want to wait until the investigation is complete before saying more.
Houck added: “We’re definitely not closing. We’re moving forward together as a community.”
Launch House, founded in 2020, started a fresh take on traditional hacker homes. Founders are invited to take up a four-week, live-in residency at rented buildings or buildings. In-person residencies are considered on-boarding events within the broader Launch House community, such as digital and physical events, services that help scaling startups and internal social networks. The co-founders scaled the startup through multiple venture capital raises and announced a $10 million venture fund to support LH members.
Technology Flow reached out to Launch House for further comment on the inquiry and attendance but had not heard back as of publication time.
Current and former Launch House employees can contact Natasha Mascarenhas via e-mail at [email protected] Flow.com or via Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, at 925 271 0912.