Can Facebook be replaced? Let’s invest $100,000 in seven teams and find out!

I could write another long email filled with criticisms about Zuckerberg’s horrific track record running Facebook, but instead, I thought I would seize the opportunity created by Mark’s self-inflicted crisis and announce the “Openbook Challenge.”

The “Openbook Challenge,” a competition with seven, $100,000 investment prizes.  

All community and social products on the internet have had their era, from AOL to MySpace, and typically they’re not shut down by the government — they’re slowly replaced by better products.

So, let’s start the process of replacing Facebook.

LAUNCH is going to fund seven, purpose-driven teams that want to build a billion-user social network to replace Facebook.

We are hoping to invest in a social network that is actually good for society. This means the new social network would:

  1. Respect and protect consumer’s privacy
  2. Respect and protect our democracy from bad actors
  3. Respect and protect the truth, by stopping the spread of misinformation
  4. Not try and manipulate people by making them addicted to the service
  5. Protect freedom of speech, while curbing abuse (not easy!)

We already have two dozen quality teams cranking on projects and we hope to get to 100.  

The timeline and frequently asked questions are below.

Best,

Jason Calacanis

Founder, LAUNCH

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How will the competition work?

This is not an idea or business plan competition. We’re looking for teams that can actually build a better social network, and we’ll be judging teams primarily based upon their ability to execute.

The competition will occur in three stages:

  1. Apply to the competition with your video tour, MVP or full blown product with traction stats.
  2. We will pick 20 teams as finalists and communicate with them regularly for 90 days.
  3. At the end of 90 days, we will offer seven teams to join our incubator, invest $100,000 in each and host them for our 12 week incubator, which will start on October 12.

What are you looking for?

We don’t want to tell you what to build, we want you to come up with your own ideas. Keep in mind, that while ideas really matter, Zuckerberg has shown us, execution matters more.

“Don’t be too proud to copy.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Is this a competition to see who can simply copy Facebook’s current product or a competition to come up with a new, novel way to beat Facebook in the market?

No one knows exactly how Facebook will be replaced. In order to beat Facebook, many believe the winning team will have to not only build a base functionality that is familiar to users looking to switch, but also provide new experiences that will make users passionate about the new product. Other’s believe it will be a completely new paradigm. The reason we want to fund seven teams, is because we think many different paths could lead to the promised land. It’s not going to be easy, but startups never are.  

Who will make the investment?

Angel investor Jason Calacanis will be making the investment from the LAUNCH Incubator Fund. We will also syndicate the best projects to JasonsSyndicate.com (2300+ members).

What will the terms of the investment be?

Our incubator terms are at the industry standard of $100,000 for six percent.

How will you pick the 20 finalists?

Ability to execute.

How will you pick the seven winners?

Ability to execute. (I would also add something like Founder alignment with core mission, values)

How can we stay up to date on the project?

You can email openbook@launch.co anytime with your questions, join the email list at https://www.openbookchallenge.com/updates, and sign-up for the discussion group on… Facebook!

Timeline

Next 60 days (today through June 15): Rolling review of submissions. The LAUNCH team will review submitted video tours and/or link to your full-blown product/MVP and give candid feedback.

July 1st: We will pick the top 20 projects and review them on a special episode of This Week in Startups with two social media experts.

September 30th: We offer the final seven startups, plus three alternates, the opportunity to join our incubator class starting in September.

October 12th-January 15th: Openbook Challenge, LAUNCH Incubator class runs for 12 weeks.