Miami-based Glen Wakeman is the co-founder and CEO of LaunchPad Holdings, LLC, a company that helps rising entrepreneurs in their beginning stages of starting a company. Wakeman founded LaunchPad in 2015 and has since been designing software that can help a businessperson not just create a realistic plan but also follow through on it. The CEO spent 21 years at his old company and founded as well as managed several other small businesses. In addition to his vast business and entrepreneurship experience, Wakeman’s background includes investing expertise as well.
Q: Your previous involvements include that of a global executive, inventor, mentor, writer, and investor. What are your current involvements?
GW: I consider myself lucky to have had a diverse background that included both successes as well as failures. These days I try to use my background in order to contribute that which I have learned to help others grow, in particular, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. My hope is that they can use my experience to see things a bit more clearly and thereby increase their chances of success.
Q: How did the idea behind LaunchPad Holdings come about? What is the company’s focus?
GW: I have come to understand that ideas and plans are not the same things. The idea behind LaunchPad is for it to turn rising entrepreneurs’ ideas into plans and thereby lower their risk of failure. The process of raising capital from either family, friends or whoever is much easier for entrepreneurs with a solid plan in hand. LaunchPad provides a structured way of thinking about creating a plan that is both fast and easy to implement. Its focus is on both early-stage entrepreneurs as well as businesses as they need help to get started.
Q: How have you used your background and interests to shape the tools that LaunchPad offers?
Glen Wakeman: I view LaunchPad as a combination of my career, really. My background involves having lived and worked around the world, having founded startups, having raised capital and having built teams. All of that is reflected in LaunchPad as a simple to use guide that culminates in a clean, clear and, most of all, investor-friendly presentation with minimal risk of execution or failure.
Q: How soon can we expect to see LaunchPad’s story and services to be offered?
GW: The LaunchPad website is up and running. We are currently at a minimum viable product, or “MVP”, stage and we are receiving ideas and tips from our customers on how to improve. This process of co-developing a solution to a basic problem with our customer base as a resource is pretty exciting.
Q: What is the operational flow of LaunchPad? Can you walk me through its basic process?
GW: The basic premise is to guide our users through the process of establishing a business and through every step from the legal as well as marketing aspects. LaunchPad is an online service software that takes the user through several thought-provoking questions and helps provide answers to them. All of that culminates in a presentable document with which the rising entrepreneurs, or users, are ready to effectively raise funds for their businesses.
Q: How do you foresee LaunchPad’s success in the current economic environment? What is your strategy in terms of tempering risk with potential reward both for yourself as well as LaunchPad users?
GW: Approximately 50,000 new businesses are created on a monthly basis, which means that there are many opportunities in the future of LaunchPad. Many of the newly created enterprises are not successful due to the lack of either capital or proper planning or both. LaunchPad focuses on addressing the risks that come with not having a solid plan, and as such we increase the chances of success.
Q: What is unique about LaunchPad and how does it differ from other businesses that work with rising entrepreneurs?
Glen Wakeman: The uniqueness, as well as the advantage of LaunchPad, is in its ToolKit that is simple and easy to use. Rising entrepreneurs have access to tips that will help them not just grow their business but also develop into successful leaders.
Q: What lessons have you learned through the growth of LaunchPad? How has it diverged from what you had originally envisioned?
GW: We have found that a simpler and more clear process is better and much more effective. Just like many rising entrepreneurs, we originally made plans that were way too ambitious and as such tried to “boil the ocean”. We rid ourselves of the feature set, and we found that by trimming it down, we were able to deliver bigger and more clear benefits and tools to our customer bases. We also learned that an effective way to grow a business is by listening to our customers and adapting to their needs and insights.
Q: Given your background, it is not that far off to expect that you are either thinking about or even working on several projects at once. What’s next for you in the next year or so?
GW: The current project I am working on is called “Snarkify”. I have always thought that presentations can be boring and as such can turn audiences away from an otherwise great idea. One way to address that is to bring humor into the investor pitch presentation. I also believe that effective communication, in addition to humor, can help avoid boredom as well as enable growth. My idea is to bring creative and funny writers and artists into the gig economy and into the investor pitch meeting. Snarkify is still under development. We will see where it goes.
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