At a town hall for some members of their community, Launch House addressed the harassment and assault allegations raised by a Vox investigation earlier this week. The startup, which is backed by A16z and Lightship as well as major investors, said an independent investigation is underway.
“We’ll let the investigation speak for itself, but we’re confident it will show that we’re not retaliating against women who have been sexually assaulted in the past. Launch House has denied any retaliation against Vox and denied that at the meeting today.”
The startup promises it’s building an industry-leading safety and security program for shared living experiences, which it will share with other communities in detail “soon.”
The town meeting lasted less than 15 minutes and was held by the co-founders Brett Goldstein And Michael Hook. There was no live Q&A session and chat was not active. Sources say that some people who spoke against Launch House on Twitter were not allowed to visit the meeting.
The first meeting was scheduled for Thursday. Some of the co-founders asked why the meeting had been moved to a weekend Friday afternoon, to which Hawk replied: “You’re absolutely right. When we react quickly to this, we drop the ball [and] With enough compassion. And that doesn’t reflect the values we’ve built this community on and care about since day one.
“Simply put, we should have met with you before today,” Hawke added.
The discussion focused on three topics: what LaunchHouse has done in the past, what it will do in the future, and how it plans to build trust with female founders on its team. The co-founders said at the meeting that the content of the meeting was prepared in response to the questions submitted by the community last week.
“We are sorry to all of you who were affected,” Goldstein continued. “As we discussed at the beginning, one does not feel safe at any time. It’s not safe at all and it’s not something we can tolerate. As for what happened, we want to wait for the investigation to be completed before we say more.
Hook added, “We’re never closing. We are going together as a community,” he said.
Founded in 2020, Launch House began as a new take on traditional hack houses. Entrepreneurs are invited to take a four-week residency in rented accommodation or buildings. The in-person residences are considered onboarding events to the broader Launch House community, which hosts digital and physical events, services that help startups scale and social network at home. The co-founders have grown the startup with multiple rounds of venture capital, and announced a $10 million venture fund to support LH members.
TechCrunch reached out to Launch House for further comment on the town hall, but had not heard back by press time.