The leadership bench at Santa Monica’s Launchpad LA accelerator got significantly deeper today with the addition of Jamie Kantrowitz as a partner. As the first Head of Marketing and Content at MySpace, and most recently the co-founder of cloud storage for creative professionals startup Gobbler, Kantrowitz is one of the more experienced and well respected operators in Los Angeles.
Kantrowitz joins Launchpad managing director Sam Teller as just the second partner in the business, which also counts GRP Partners partner Mark Suster and angel investor and entrepreneur Adam Lilling as directors.
After joining the MySpace team while it had less than 30 employees and just 5 million total users, Kantrowitz was directly responsible for launching MySpace’s music and entertainment platform, and later led its international expansion into 30 countries. She remained with the then News Corp-owned company until 2009. Previously she was the Digital Director at Rock the Vote in 2004 and worked in digital product development for Vodafone, Polo Ralph Lauren, and SonyBMG, among other brands.
Kantrowitz is a member of the board of directors of SoundCloud and was previously a digital advisor to the President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. She was also previously named to Billboard Magazine’s “30 under 30” list and was honored in Ad Age’s “Top 50 Marketers.”
Given the breadth of this experience, it’s hard to define Kantrowitz’s core competency, although it would be fair to say that she has proven herself in the areas of digital media and entertainment, community building, and cloud services. She has deep expertise in operating and scaling businesses from the earliest stages to large global organizations, as well as in connecting new technologies with brands, partners, and new audiences.
Kantrowitz has transitioned to a full time angel investing and advisory role since stepping down from day to day operations at Gobbler in 2011. She tells me that she was attracted to the idea that Launchpad is itself both an operating business and an investment fund.
“We’ve been seeing more and more former entrepreneurs and operators become more involved in investing in and advising early stage startups,” Kantrowitz says. “I’m excited that Launchpad and its investors recognize that coming from an operating background can be valuable. I have experienced both explosive growth and challenging times, which are things all of our startups will confront at times.”
Since launching its accelerator in Q4 2011, after three years as a startup mentorship organization, Launchpad has graduated two classes totaling 18 companies, which have collectively raised more than $30 million to date. The program recently doubled its investment commitment by offering participating companies not only $50,000 cash for 6 percent common stock, plus an optional additional $50,000 in the form of a capped convertible note. Launchpad was ranked the No. 5 accelerator in America by both Forbes and Seed-DB and is among the most prominent and well respected in Southern California.
“I grew up in LA and have been a part of growing this industry and community for so long,” Kantrowitz. “I could not be happier to pay it forward to 20 companies per year.”