Launch is a leading experience design agency that has grown vastly over the last five years. It all began with two co-workers wanting to make it on their own and spearhead a digital agency. Currently, the company’s home is in the Flatiron building, FlatironCity, in downtown Atlanta and marked as one of the top digital agencies working with Fortune 500 companies from Salesforce to The Weather Channel and more.
Going back to about 2010, David Preiss and Javier Santana worked on the same team at a large well-known company, The Home Depot. Working on the same team there, they knew each other, but not that well. That would soon change. They’d not only become great friends but business partners.
Javier’s schooling was untraditional beginning as a graffiti artist/illustrator with friends layering graphics over his work. He later attended vocational school to learn graphic design himself. He began to freelance and moved to Atlanta where he continued to evolve his career in design, while learning UX and web development. After years of freelancing and working with several companies, he ended up at homedepot.com as an interactive art director where his core focus was e-commerce and mobile.
David had a similar background and went to school at the University of Georgia for 3D design and then earned his MBA at Georgia State. They both knew they wanted to venture out of their own and wanted to do the same thing, so the two made sense as a team. As they continued to have conversations about their visions for the future, they planned their departure from homedepot.com to start Launch.
Javier was then recruited by another company but stated he would only take the position if he was paid through his LLC and not him personally. The company agreed, and essentially that company became Launch’s first client.
Javier was spending his time on-site with the client while David began managing the business side of Launch, getting everything up and running – bank accounts, LLC, legal matters, and creation of their website. Essentially, they were splitting one salary.
All in all, David and Javier managed everything in creating their new business.
After a few years, they were hired by Pardot who evolved into Salesforce, and since then they have continued to be one of Launch’s biggest partners.
From there, Launch continued to hire additional team members . No, they weren’t hiring unpaid interns just to get by. David and Javier were hiring senior level experts in their field. They knew that they needed to hire the best of the best, so that they could create the best work and gain the trust of clients.
"It’s not necessarily all about awards or landing huge clients,” said Javier. “It’s about hiring good people that are passionate about what they do, which in turn continues to get us great clients and exciting work.”
Now, today in 2018, Launch has 23 employees and growing. They have created a workplace culture that stands out from any other work environment. They have branded themselves as not only hip, modern, cool, progressive, and diverse, but also professional and trusted.
“I think the only reason we’ve been able to do it well is because David and I came up through the ranks and we have a lot of sensitivity to how an employee’s work day goes,” stated Javier. “We know there has to be a good work-life balance. That cultivates a company with openness, trust and transparency. You feel like you’re a part of something rather than just going to a job.”
From two guys looking to venture out on their own to a diverse company with employees of all ages, races, genders and more, Launch has created a name for themselves in the digital agency workplace.
"From the beginning, Dave and Jav have gone above and beyond to create a company culture most places of business would be envious of.,” said Heidi Williams, senior designer at Launch. “In the past 6 years they have established an environment that encourages creativity and weirdness, consistently recognize individual and team accomplishments, professionally as well as personally, preach the importance of work-life balance, and provide all the snacks. Lots and lots of snacks."
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