Comprehensive, roll-up-your-sleeves positioning, messaging and story development.
Strategic Marketing, PR Counseling and Planning
Advice, planning, insight, brainstorming and deep-thinking from senior team members on our clients’ businesses and overall marketing programs.
Media and Influencer Relations
Our media and influencer relations activities are at the core of everything we do. From the get-go, LaunchSquad engages in a relentless effort to secure high impact, positive media coverage and create relationships to reach our clients’ target audiences.
Content and Social Media
We create comprehensive, assessable social media strategies and campaigns. Services include creating micro-sites and media properties, driving social media strategy and producing engaging original content.
Through our professional, in-house capabilities, we tell visual stories using authentic online videos that involve narratives about innovation and change. Our services cover a full range of video types including company overviews, product demos, customer testimonials, animation, motion graphics and industry trend pieces. Visit our video portfolio to see our work.
Our media training services bring out the best in our clients’ presentations through an ongoing, interactive dialogue unique to each spokesperson’s style and assets.
Speaking and Awards Programs
Identification of target shows and awards, abstract development, and placing executives at high-profile events.
We call it handcrafted PR.
It’s the idea that every company we work with is as innovative and diverse in their communications needs as they are in their products and services.
We’ve done nothing but work with fast-growing innovators for more than a decade. You’d think that as a result, we’d have developed a programmatic “LaunchSquad way” of doing things. But the longer we’ve been at this, the more we realize that it’s not about us, it’s about our clients. We work with companies to help them create their stories, their strategies and their entire communications programs. That’s handcrafted PR and that’s what defines the LaunchSquad approach.
Here’s how it works:
- We get to know a company by immersing ourselves in its business, challenges, team, technology, customers, market and competitors.
- We discuss, brainstorm, whiteboard and analyze everything we learn and distill it into a story that makes people stand up and take notice.
- We translate the story into a highly customized strategy that, like the finest handcrafted furniture, is built with the best material, utmost attention to detail, unique, smart design, and clear understanding of purpose.
- We execute relentlessly, think constantly about our clients, make a real impact everyday, work hard to have our clients keep up with us, and deliver the stories and results that matter.
From day one, LaunchSquad has embraced change as an inevitable and welcome component of growth. And in the midst of change, the one constant we’ve found is that good stories are its driving force. Despite the proliferation of media types, new voices and devices, and an increasing pool of niche influencers, growing companies need thought-provoking narratives to get people to listen and make conversations happen.
At LaunchSquad, we build lasting stories and do whatever it takes to share those stories with the world.
We have a full-service creative and production team making some of the best online videos around. Our work includes everything from short films to product demos to company profiles and a touch of viral – all produced in-house by the same people who know your story inside and out. To the right are a few examples of what we do, and you can check out the rest of our portfolio here.
We tell stories that are authentic, distilling what’s real to make them emotionally or intellectually engaging. Our videos are not about spin or deception but have a direct, personal, and authentic feel that builds trust and engages viewers. Our mission is to tell stories boiled down to an effective simplicity, produced with the highest aesthetic value, at a cost flexible to your budget.
If you’re a current LaunchSquad client, talk to your team about our video services. Not a client? Please contact us to learn about video and visual storytelling for your company.
Passion. Ideas. Stories. Team. Fun. Whatever It Takes.
These are a few of the words that define the Squad. We started LaunchSquad in 1999 to create an all-star team of experienced PR pros to deliver the highest quality work to fast-growth, change-the-world companies.
While we’ve grown a bit since Jason M., Jason T. and Jesse first set up shop on California Street, their vision still lies at the core of what drives us today: it’s about talented, creative people doing outstanding work for the most innovative companies in the world. It’s what we call the LaunchSquad experience.
So just what is the LaunchSquad experience?
- It’s about an insatiable amount of energy and enthusiasm for new ideas and inventions.
- It’s about healthy debate and dialogue.
- It’s about a group of people that work hard, care for one another and are steadfastly committed to excellence, teamwork and enjoying what they do.
- It’s that our clients view us as an important strategic partner, not an outsourced vendor. They may even be using one of our team rooms on any given week.
- It’s about a level of efficiency and continuity in communications that comes from a keen focus on delivering amazing results and exceeding expectations day in and out.
- It’s a belief that everyone on the team is smart, passionate, dedicated and invested in our clients’ success.
- It’s that our senior team spends its time in the trenches doing meaningful PR work for clients every day.
- It’s that our clients constantly rely on us to move as quickly as they do.
Most importantly, the LaunchSquad experience is about knowing you have the full attention, commitment and energy of an All-Star PR team when you need it most.
Jason Mandell, Partner & Co-Founder
Jason loves a good story. Ever since entering the world of tech PR 15+ years ago, he’s been fascinated by the constant wheels of innovation that push us all to think with wonder and excitement about what lies ahead. That curiosity led to his co-founding LaunchSquad in 1999 with a mission of helping new and fast-growing companies share their stories with – and change – the world. Over the years, Jason has worked with a countless number of breakthrough companies and technologies, from software and gaming to mobile and clean tech. He’s not partial; if it’s fresh, innovative and disruptive, he’s game.
Jason is relentless about working with his teams to do whatever it takes to take a company from unknown to market leader as quickly as possible. He’s played a key role in helping LaunchSquad grow to 90+ people, and has run the financial operations of the firm since the beginning. He’s known to use sports analogies (especially hockey) to espouse the merits of team-based thinking and a collaborative, we’re-in-it-together philosophy.
Jason currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of Public Relations Firms and Hamilton Family Center, one of the largest homeless prevention organizations in California.
Prior to LaunchSquad, Jason spent five years at Schwartz Communications, where he worked with some of the hottest early web companies, including eBay, Lycos and Flycast. In his pre-PR days, Jason interned for Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, delivered pizzas and even sold vacuum cleaners. He has a B.A. in Communications from Boston College.
Jason Throckmorton, Partner & Co-Founder
Jason Throckmorton co-founded LaunchSquad with Jesse Odell and Jason Mandell in 1999. Together, the three shared a common desire to work with entrepreneurs, inventors and business leaders that wanted to change the world through technology.
“Throck” has led PR programs for more than 30 companies and brings this knowledge and expertise to help handcraft client programs that bring big ideas to the forefront and drive business success.
A classic early adopter, Throck closely tracks news and developments in the technology industry and works to ensure that LaunchSquad is at the leading edge of technology adoption and engagement. It’s not uncommon for Jason to be familiar with and in many cases have used products and services from even the stealthiest of prospects.
Throck’s true passion is developing personal relationships with the people behind the clients LaunchSquad serves. It’s these connections that provide valuable insight into what makes entrepreneurs tick, the vision behind their products and service, and ultimately helps inform LaunchSquad’s unique brand of storytelling.
‘Throck’ is the reigning idea guy at the Squad, infusing a high level of creativity and new ideas into client and company initiatives. He also heads up the firm’s business development efforts..
Prior to co-founding LaunchSquad, Jason worked at Schwartz Communications and RMR & Associates, two of the nation’s leading high-tech public relations agencies.
Jesse Odell, Partner & Co-Founder
Jesse’s passion for PR began at the age of ten, when his mother Jan, a 25-year PR veteran, took him on his first press tour. Since that time, he has developed a fascination with communicating challenging technology stories to the media. Known for his energy and leadership, aggressive pitching style and no nonsense writing, Jesse has secured feature stories for clients in the nation’s most influential business publications, including The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes and Business 2.0, while placing numerous articles in scores of technology trades and broadcast media.
Jesse’s passion and excitement for new fresh stories pervades throughout the firm on a daily basis. Prior to co-founding LaunchSquad, Jesse was a manager at leading high tech PR firm Schwartz Communications, where he led some of the most successful accounts at the firm, including investment bank Volpe Brown Whelan, LoopNet and Digital Impact. Jesse previously worked at Ford Odell Group, a specialty PR firm in the Bay Area, where he ran the IT practice. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Brett Weiner, Partner
Brett joined LaunchSquad in mid-2001 as the firm’s fourth partner. Brett’s a talented PR strategist and works hand-in-hand with LaunchSquad clients to craft stories and PR programs. During his career, Brett’s worked with a diverse set of clients, from start-ups to established market leaders, to help create powerful communication programs that define and accelerate their businesses. At LaunchSquad, he also helps drive hiring and new business efforts.
Brett is known for his thoughtful and insightful advice and counsel and his dry sense of humor. Brett’s also a news junkie and still very much enjoys reading old-fashioned newspapers. Originally from the Boston area, he currently lives in the East Bay with his wife Hillary and their three children, Abigail, Hazel and Cameron. Brett is also an award-winning playwright and an avid amateur cook. By amateur, he means he likes to try new gadgets, difficult recipes, odd ingredients, and generally make a royal mess of the kitchen.
Before joining LaunchSquad, Brett was a vice president at PR firm Schwartz Communications. Prior to joining Schwartz, Brett promoted new technologies for Scitex in conjunction with the 1996 Summer Olympics and worked in marketing with Thomson Financial Services. He received a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Emory University in Atlanta.
Meghan Cavanaugh, Vice President, Talent
Cav joined LaunchSquad in 2008. Since her start at the Squad, she’s played a big role in building the team across three offices and multiple service areas. Cav is often the first and last person applicants communicate with during the hiring process. Besides talent acquisition, Cav oversees the day-to-day operations at LaunchSquad and is committed to making the Squad one of the best places to work. She’s open to suggestions and feedback. Cav’s also been told, she says, seriously, in response to frequently asked employee questions and Brett Weiner’s team building suggestions.
Cav’s work history began at the Jersey Shore where she cleaned houses on Saturday mornings at age 12. From there, she moved on to passing out pretzel samples on the boardwalk, eventually going on to roll and sell the pretzels. By twenty-one, she’d graduated to serving breakfast plates and seafood dinners on a dock. Cav graduated from E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and French. She started her professional career at Reed Elsevier in Philadelphia where she worked in the Editorial and Marketing departments. When Cav arrived in SF, she worked for a tech start-up where she had the opportunity to do a deep dive into the human resources function of an organization.
When Cav grows up, she wants to be a writer. For now, she enjoys asking questions. What is your birth order in your family? When you sit down at the dinner table, how is the food served and at what point do you eat? What was your first job and how did you get it? If you had a dishwasher, how would you stack it? Tupac: dead or alive?
Stop typing that introductory email. These aren’t Cav’s interview questions.
Jeff Davis, Editorial Director
Jeff is busy building a new team at LaunchSquad that offers companies new ways to expand (and mix it up with) the audiences they want to reach — with human-powered, quality content, from original blogs and Web infographics to independent media properties that serve high-level business audiences.
Jeff joined LaunchSquad in 2010 after spending the last decade covering the (chaotic, exciting) intersection of technology and business, from the first dotcom boom (and bust) to the next. He was one of the founding editors of Business 2.0 magazine, working on every issue over its nine-year run , and more recently executive editor of CBS’s top-10 business site BNET.com.
A UC Davis graduate with a B.A. in English, Jeff got his start as an old-school magazine writer and editor – working on the staffs of Harper’s, Esquire, and Mother Jones, and publishing pieces for Outside, Wired, and other pubs. And going to great lengths at times to tell the story has always been part of the thrill. As part of his cover story for the New York Times Magazine, about the new-world aspirations of the native people of Bikini Atoll, Jeff strapped on Scuba gear for the first time and dove 120 feet to the world’s largest nuclear wreck — the carrier USS Saratoga, sunk by an atom bomb at Bikini in 1946 – to get a proper view. The group of sharks circling overhead made the ascent all the more exciting.
Gavin Skillman, Senior Vice President, NYC
With more than ten years of public relations and marketing communications experience, Gavin has an extensive background in the strategic planning and execution of media and industry analyst relations programs for both public and private B2B and technology companies. At LaunchSquad, Gavin leads the agency’s East Coast operations out of New York and manages several client accounts.
Before joining LaunchSquad, Gavin worked for four years at global PR firm Cohn & Wolfe, serving as a media expert and account manager for HP’s Enterprise Services division, Panasonic’s Toughbook notebook computer business, and MSN. Gavin was responsible for managing day-to-day account activities, developing media strategy, and driving business, trade and customer media relations. His efforts have resulted in feature coverage in major business and technology trade publications including Bloomberg, CNET, Computerworld, Financial Times, InformationWeek, Investor’s Business Daily, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.
Prior to Cohn & Wolfe, Gavin was marketing director at thoughtbubble productions, a start-up digital media agency specializing in broadband content development, responsible for marketing, PR and Web site design. Gavin also served as PR director at Promotions.com, an Internet sweepstakes and promotions company, where he managed internal and external PR teams, implemented media relations and analyst relations campaigns, and developed a comprehensive corporate communications program during a successful IPO.
A graduate of Boston College, Gavin holds a B.A. in Communications.
Mike Farber, General Manager, Boston
Mike is General Manager and Founder of LaunchSquad’s Boston office. Working closely with the San Francisco and New York teams, Mike is bringing the passion, ideas and energy of LaunchSquad to the vibrant Boston market.
Prior to joining LaunchSquad, Mike was a senior vice president at Schwartz Communications. In his fifteen years at Schwartz he launched scores of companies, guided four clients through successful IPOs and helped many others become acquired. Mike’s experience spans across multiple types of technologies, ranging from consumer to enterprise software to clean technology. He has also represented many services firms that partner with high-growth companies.
Mike helped lead the growth of Schwartz’s San Francisco office in the late 1990s and while there had the pleasure of working alongside Jason, Jesse, Throck, Brett and Gavin. As the communications world began the big changes it is still undergoing today, Mike spearheaded Schwartz’s efforts in offering new services, leading the government relations and search marketing programs. He has also spent time on the corporate side, serving as director of corporate communications at Revenio, a digital communications software company.
Holder of a JD from the University of Pennsylvania, Mike takes particular pride in orchestrating and helping execute the public communications around a recent landmark United States Supreme Court patent case, Bilski v. Kappos. Mike also has a B.A. in political science and communications from Boston College.
Daniel Paul, Vice President, Finance & Operations
Daniel oversees the day-to-day financial activities for LaunchSquad, as well as contributes to the short and long term financial strategies for the firm. His career spans across 25 years of public and private company industry, in addition to Big Four experience. Daniel has held several senior financial, operational and administrative leadership roles with various high growth Fortune 200, mid-sized, smaller and start-up companies.
Daniel’s career broadly spans verticals including public relations, internet based services, retail, interior design and architecture, not-for-profit, consumer products, home improvement, manufacturing and wholesaling industries.
Daniel is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, where he earned a BS in Accounting and Business Administration from Duquesne University. He then went on to spend 18 years of his executive career in Chicago, IL prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2011.
Beth Sanzone, Vice President
Beth is known for building relationships and trust with her clients the old-fashioned way and providing candid yet diplomatic advice. She loves to deliver bold, but realizable strategies while also getting her hands dirty delivering results. She’s a master at helping her clients prepare for that big interview and can handle any crisis that comes her way.
Before entering the world of start-ups, Beth spent a good portion of her career in the government most recently as the Communications Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Panama where she helped shape public diplomacy, which included serving as the chief speechwriter for the U.S. Ambassador. Additionally, she was the U.S. Embassy Spokesperson and Media Affairs Attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan during some of the most formative years after the initial invasion leading up to the first presidential election. Before her tour in Afghanistan, she served as Press Secretary for the current U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.
Beth also worked at APCO Worldwide, a global communications firm, located in Washington. D.C. At APCO, she provided fortune-500 clients as well as non-profit organizations strategic counsel on communication strategy, crisis management, issue advocacy and corporate social responsibility.
Beth holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Business Administration from Florida International University.
She feels pretty fortunate to have an amazing husband, adorable baby boy, lovable English bulldog and great family and friends. In her spare time, she’s a bit of a Pilates fanatic and enjoys exploring new places and a good glass of wine.
Erica Orthmann, Vice President
A vice president in the Boston office, Erica kicked off her nine-year PR career in-house at technology publisher TechTarget. After learning to talk servers and Linux like a pro, she moved to the agency side, serving as an account supervisor in both the Boston and San Francisco offices of Schwartz Communications, as well as global tech PR firm LEWIS PR. A self-proclaimed nerd, Erica’s areas of expertise are diverse: she’s worked with business-to-business technology companies like Progress Software and Rally Software, consumer-facing apps like LevelUp and Runkeeper, and even did PR for the Facebook-Winkelvoss trial for IP law firm Finnegan.
Pre-PR, Erica worked as a journalist for Ithaca-area newspapers. She graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Writing, concentration in journalism.
Hela Sheth, Vice President
Hela brings more than ten years of consumer-facing public relations, fundraising and community relations experience to LaunchSquad’s clients. At LaunchSquad’s NYC office, she serves as a strategic advisor and project manager to many B2C and B2B accounts. Prior to joining the firm, Hela worked for notable brands in the entertainment industry including publicly-traded Six Flags, Inc., the NBA Detroit Pistons and the Pistons-Palace Foundation as well as smaller corporate and non-profit organizations. In her roles at these companies, she has managed events featuring numerous celebrities, coordinated responses for a national-level crisis and a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and led cause-related fundraising and grant-writing campaigns. She has served as the corporate spokeswoman in many of these roles and worked with reporters on a daily basis to generate positive local and national coverage, mitigate controversies and speak to trending advocacy issues.
Hela was born in Ahmedabad, India, but was reared in the Atlanta area and recently moved to Jersey City, where she resides with her husband, Andrew, and daughter, Lillee. She loves sports, cultural fiction and, lately, getting to know New York City.
Hela has a B.A. from the University of Georgia and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina, where she authored a social responsibility study later published in the Journal of Business Ethics: Beyond the Game: Perceptions and Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Professional Sport Industry.
Mike Schroeder, Vice President
Mike, a Vice President at LaunchSquad’s New York office, has always had a passion for innovation and disruption. He began his career at Sirius Satellite Radio, where he worked to define an entirely new industry to a consumer audience. Since that time, he has always kept a keen eye on the horizon, searching for “the next big thing” that will ultimately transform the way we think, live and interact.
“Schroeder” is known for his big-picture ideas and story development, as he has a knack for boiling information down to the variables that matter. He excels at providing direct advice to clients on the strategy that will best align with their business objectives. Mike has been a member of the LaunchSquad New York team since June 2009. Prior to joining the company, he worked with brands including Beats Audio, Monster Cable, Denon, Marantz, AMD, McIntosh Audio, Sirius, and fuse TV.
Mike enjoys being active, and he can often be found playing in pickup basketball games in Brooklyn. A graduate of Fordham University in New York City, Mike holds a B.A. in Television and Radio.
Dana Zemack, Vice President
Dana joined LaunchSquad in 2008 and has more than 10 years of communications and marketing experience, specializing in consumer and lifestyle brands. Her focus ranges from story development and high level strategy to big hit media relations and creative campaign design. Most importantly, she’s big on storytelling and can pull the next big story out of her shiny, sequined messenger bag like nobody’s business. Sometimes she writes email in haiku form.
Dana graduated from Brandeis with a degree in English and art history. Pre-LaunchSquad, she ran her own tiny PR firm focused entirely on food, working with brands that produced chocolate, ice cream, tea and pie, among other wonderful things. Before that, she was a chocolate expert (really!) In her free time, she likes to draw comics and typewriters.
Join the Team
LaunchSquad is always on the lookout for talented, energetic communications professionals to join our growing teams in San Francisco, New York and Boston. We provide a fun, high-octane, team-oriented environment and an opportunity to work with some of the most innovative, emerging technology companies in the world. Our people are vital to our success, and we look to them to help develop and shape our culture and values.
LaunchSquad was founded in 1999 and has become one of the premier technology PR firms in the country, with 85 professionals spread across the country. In 2009, LaunchSquad was named Boutique Agency of the Year by PR Week and has been named one of the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times. We are actively seeking new team members at a variety of levels. If you think you’ve got what it takes to join the Squad, please send a cover letter and resume to jointhesquad (at) launchsquad (dot) com.
Interested in working with LaunchSquad? Please tell us about your company and we’ll get back to you shortly.
For job inquiries, please email jointhesquad (at) launchsquad.com
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San Francisco Headquarters
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