In News, Our Thoughts

Billionaire Investors Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock, with Co-Founder Elon Boms, innovated the seed investing industry in 2008 with the introduction of LaunchCapital LLC, one of the first venture capital firms in the historically fragmented seed investment market. Almost 10 years later, they’re doubling down on a decade of tremendous success to bring new value to entrepreneurs.

LaunchCapital LLC, a leading seed stage venture firm, is increasing investment in early stage entrepreneurs and has made 5 new hires to help them build the future.

Based on 200+ investments across industries and locations, LaunchCapital has affirmed its belief that the combination of mentorship, insights from experienced leadership, and access to networks and capital help entrepreneurs build the future.

Doubling down on this insight, LaunchCapital is announcing an increased investment in seed stage financing and 5 new hires to broaden the firm’s footprint and provide additional support to its portfolio companies.

  • Cliff Sirlin is the new Managing Director. Career entrepreneur, Cliff has created marketplaces and disrupted supply chains across industries, including energy (mdenergy, sold to EnerNOC), drycleaning (Cleaner Options, sold to Zoots), real estate, and publishing (Domino Media Group). Most recently he served as the CEO of Domino. An active investor, Cliff’s investments include Seamless, InVision, Pond5, Living Social, Atlas Obscura, greatist, Transactis, Big Fuel, and many others. He holds a JD from the New York University School of Law and an undergraduate degree in History from Colgate University.
  • Woody Benson is a new Venture Partner in Boston. With a 35-year technology career as both an operator and investor, Woody is among the rare few who have taken public a >$1B company as CEO (MCK Communications) and who has served as the first investor and 14-year Board Member in another (LogMeIn, with >$5B market cap, LOGM). He hosts a live weekly radio show on Bloomberg Radio and serves as Executive-in-Residence at his alma mater, Bentley University.
  • Stefan Pepe is a new Venture Partner in New York City. An early employee and executive at Amazon, Stefan has also served as CEO of Ideeli (sold to Groupon), General Manager of Revenue at Zynga (IPO as ZNGA), and Chief Product Officer at Gilt Groupe. Stefan is currently interim CEO and Chairman of the Board at Door-to-Door Organics. He holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
  • Jason Gray is the new Vice-President, Portfolio Operations. He handles investment sourcing and evaluation and heads portfolio company support efforts. Previously at hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, Jason is also a veteran of the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • Alice Linnehan-Smith is LaunchCapital’s new Controller. An experienced financial professional, she manages fiscal operations and administrative activity. Alice holds an MBA from Fordham University and Lean Six Sigma Certification, and has previously held management and finance roles across entertainment and publishing industries.

Elon Boms, Co-Founder of LaunchCapital, said: “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last 9 years and I’m extremely excited about our next chapter. We’re adding tremendous talent to the team that will help accelerate the success of our companies.”

Cliff Sirlin, Managing Director, said: “I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life, as well as an angel investor. Now I get to put my operational experience to work supporting new ventures while leading a highly qualified team with an impressive track record, plus the meaningful commitment of Michael, Karen and Elon.”

LaunchCapital and the Pritzker/Vlock Family Office investments include Snap, Spotify,, Gelesis, Pico Trading, Localytics, EAT Club, Parsagen Diagnostics, Mayvenn, Life360, YourMechanic, ShopTalk, EquityZen, Impact Health, Distributed, REsurety, Freight Farms, Minibar, Worklete, Karmic Labs, Seven Oaks Biosystems, Zagster, Promoboxx, and many more across diverse industries.

About LaunchCapital

LaunchCapital invests in great people who re-imagine what’s possible. We back entrepreneurs at the seed and early stages of development and we have invested in over 200 companies since 2008. As part of the Pritzker/Vlock Family Office, LaunchCapital invests across industries and is headquartered in New Haven with offices in NYC, Boston, and the San Francisco/Bay Area. For more information, visit

About Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock

Mr. Vlock and Ms. Pritzker run the Pritzker/Vlock Family Office. The enterprise owns and manages a broad portfolio of investments in public equities, consumer, biotech, industrial & medical equipment and technology businesses, several venture funds including LaunchCapital LLC, and real estate.

They are involved in numerous national philanthropic efforts individually and through their family foundation with emphasis on literacy, education, medicine, theatre and land preservation.

Ms. Pritzker received a B.A. from Northwestern University. Mr. Vlock received a B.A. from Hampshire College and a J.D. from Boston College School of Law.


LaunchCapital, LLC
Elizabeth Swartz