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PledgeLA Selects Qiana Patterson of HopSkipDrive as Incoming Chair to Continue Its Mission of Increasing Diversity in LA Tech

Spencer Rascoff, Co-Founder of dot.LA, Zillow and Pacaso Joins Advisory Committee

LOS ANGELES – The leaders of PledgeLA, a coalition of hundreds of venture capital (VC) and tech leaders in Los Angeles working to increase equity, community engagement, and accountability around corporate diversity efforts, have selected Qiana Patterson, Vice President of Strategic Development at HopSkipDrive, to be its incoming chair. With ongoing support from the Annenberg Foundation and the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, PledgeLA aims to distinguish itself from other diversity efforts with a focus on generating measurable results.

Ms. Patterson succeeds Austin Clements of Slauson & Co. and Grid110, who helped found PledgeLA and its groundbreaking efforts to tackle systemic barriers to access and opportunity in tech. Mr. Clements will continue to serve as a member of PledgeLA’s Advisory Committee. Under his tenure, PledgeLA launched and scaled a body of high-impact local programming, including:

  • The largest and most in-depth survey conducted to date of diversity and equity in LA’s tech sector;
  • A summer venture capital internship with HBCUvc that has placed nearly 30 interns at local LA firms; and
  • The Fund for South LA Founders, which brings equity-free capital, high-level mentorship, and tailored training to 20 Black and Latinx-led businesses in the South Central community.

In the search for a new chair, leaders from PledgeLA’s Advisory Committee were impressed by Ms. Patterson’s experience in both the tech startup and investor realms, along with the depth of her community involvement. Active in the local ecosystem, she serves as a mentor for Techstars Los Angeles, a member of The Fund VC, and was an advisor in the process that helped found PledgeLA itself two years ago.

“As one of the leaders invited to help shape the vision for PledgeLA more than two years, ago, it’s exciting to take over the reins of such a critical initiative for our region. What differentiates PledgeLA from others in the pack is the commitment to real accountability and action – not just statements. My vision as Chair is to ensure that LA continues to lead and innovate on the national level in this space, while also sustainably scaling our current local efforts,”said Qiana Patterson.

Ms. Patterson is an experienced tech executive and angel investor who specializes in SaaS, mobility, ed-tech, and workforce development. Currently, she leads strategic development for HopSkipDrive, a modern mobility tech company based in Los Angeles.

PledgeLA is also welcoming Spencer Rascoff, an experienced tech entrepreneur, ecosystem advocate, and investor, to its Advisory Committee. Mr. Rascoff most recently co-founded dot.LA, LA’s leading news source for startups, where he currently serves as Chairman, and Pacaso, a real estate platform that makes second-home ownership more accessible through co-ownership. Prior to that, his long history in tech includes co-founder of Hotwire.com and co-founder/CEO of Zillow.

Upon joining, Mr. Rascoff said, “We’re just beginning to tap into the incredible growth and opportunity of LA’s tech and innovation ecosystem – but we’ll only see fragments of that future if we don’t update our playbook. PledgeLA’s work helping tech companies and VCs reflect the diversity of all Angelenos is essential to ensuring we chart a better course. As someone who’s #LongLA, I’m delighted to join a group of leaders who are innovating in this space.”

Entering its third year, PledgeLA has bold plans to build upon the impact thus far. From January to March 2021, the twenty Black & Latinx-led businesses selected as part of the Fund for South LA Founders will be receive capital, mentorship from experienced founders, and tailored support. This summer, PledgeLA will host its third annual summer VC internship with HBCUvc – while also helping to provide talent and support for three other regions launching similar internships across the US. PledgeLA will also conduct its third-annual survey of tech companies and VC firms, now refined to reflect the new challenges these organizations are facing. And later this year, PledgeLA plans to announce a new set of multi-year goals for the region – charting the course for greater access to opportunity in LA.

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About PledgeLA
PledgeLA is a first-of-its-kind partnership to promote civic engagement, diversity, and inclusion across LA’s booming and dynamic tech sector created in partnership with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Annenberg Foundation, and over 220 Los Angeles venture capital (VCs) and tech leaders. PledgeLA members make a commitment to track their community engagement and diversity data each year and make that data publicly available, as well as expand their engagement with local nonprofits that support diverse talent and reflect the civic spirit of Los Angeles.

About the Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. To learn more about the Annenberg Foundation and their various initiatives, click here.

Austin Clements Bio
Austin Clements is a Partner at Slauson & Co., an early-stage venture capital firm driven by its mission of intentional inclusion. He is Managing Director of South LA for Grid110, a nonprofit accelerator aimed at supporting emerging entrepreneurs.

He was previously a Principal at TenOneTen Ventures after beginning his career in investment management with AllianceBernstein. He also founded Pi Digital Media, a Los Angeles based firm that focused on the design and development of web and mobile applications for SMBs.

He has served as the Chair of PledgeLA, a city-wide initiative to promote civic engagement and diversity in the tech community. He also serves on the board of HBCUvc and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Austin received his MBA from NYU Stern and his BA from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

Qiana Patterson Bio
Qiana Patterson is an experienced tech executive and angel investor who specializes in SaaS, mobility, ed-tech, and workforce development. She was the founding COO for Edlio, an LA-based K12 ed-tech company, and prior to that she served as the Interim CEO and Vice President of Operations for Educational Networks, a leading content management software SaaS company. Currently, she leads strategic development for HopSkipDrive, a modern mobility tech company based in Los Angeles.

As Vice President, she leverages her experience in education, government, and technology to solve some of their biggest challenges. Qiana is an active member of the Los Angeles startup community through mentoring with organizations like Techstars LA, The Fund VC, Plug In South LA, and Startup Boost.

Qiana earned her BA in Anthropology from the University of Washington, a multiple-subject teaching credential from the University of California Los Angeles, and an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Spencer Rascoff Bio
Spencer Rascoff is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, and Pacaso, and who served as Zillow’s CEO for a decade. During Spencer’s time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of “best places to work” awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $20 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer was co-founder and VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003.

Spencer is now an active angel investor in over 50 startups and is starting new companies through his Los Angeles startup studio “75 & Sunny.”Launched startups include:

  • dot.LA, a news site covering the Los Angeles tech scene
  • Pacaso, a real estate platform that makes second-home ownership more accessible through co-ownership

Spencer is co-chair of Supernova, a $450 million Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) targeting a tech company worth between $1 billion and $5 billion in enterprise value. He is also on the Board of Directors of Palantir (NYSE: PLTR), and is a former Board member of Zillow Group (Nasdaq: ZG), TripAdvisor (Nasdaq: TRIP), Zulily (Nasdaq: ZU), Julep, and several other tech companies.

In 2019 Spencer was a Visiting Executive Professor at Harvard Business School where he co-created and co-taught the “Managing Tech Ventures” course. In 2015, Spencer co-wrote and published the New York Times’ Best Seller “Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate.”

Spencer is the host of “Office Hours,” a podcast featuring candid conversations between prominent executives on leadership, diversity and inclusion, and startups. Before his consumer web career, Spencer worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and in private equity at TPG Capital. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Spencer graduated cum laude from Harvard University.

PledgeLA Venture Capital Signatories:
Act One Ventures, Activist Artist Management, Alpha Edison, Amplify, Backstage Capital, BAM Ventures, Baron Davis Enterprises, BCG Digital Ventures, Beach View Capital, BioscienceLA, Blue Skies Unlimited, Bonfire, Bryant Stibel, China Visionary Group, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Cooley LLP, Core Innovation Capital, Countrywood Holdings, Crosscut Ventures, Diverse Communities Impact Fund, Embark Ventures, Early Growth Financial Services, Evolution, Fifth Wall Ventures, Fika Ventures, First Republic Bank, Gearup 360 Group, Greycroft, Halogen Ventures, HMC INQ, Intelatin, KW Capital Partners, LDR Ventures, List Ventures, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), LPC Ventures, Luma Launch, M13, March Capital Partners, MarsBio, MaC Venture Capital, MiLA Capital, MOBD Ventures, Moonshots Capital, Mucker Capital, Muse Capital, Navigate Ventures, Navitas Capital, Okapi Venture Capital, PLG Ventures, Plug and Play, PLUS Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Quake Capital, Roadster Capital, SA&M Preccelerator, Scopus Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Slauson & Co., Sound Ventures, Stage Venture Partners, Starburst Accelerator, Stat Zero Group, StillMark, Sutton Capital Partners, Tale Venture Partners, Techstars, TenOneTen Ventures, The 22 Fund, Thin Line Capital, Troy Capital Partners, Trousdale Capital Management, TYLT Ventures, UCLA Biodesign, Upfront Ventures, USC Marshall Venture Fund, VamosVentures, Watertower Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, The West Coast Consortium For Technology & Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP), Women’s Innovation Fund Accelerator, and Wonder Ventures

PledgeLA Tech Company Signatories:
2Swim, 7TILL8 Wetsuits, 70 Million Jobs, 81cents, Accurate Property Tax Inc., AlgoPay, Inc., Altura, amginE Ink, LLC, Artium Technologies, LLC, Aspiration, AudioCardio, AvantStay, Inc., Avisare, Basepaws, BESE, Beyond Meat, Bird, Blue Fever, Boingo Wireless, Breadware Inc., BUENA, CareNodes, Commercial Real Estate Exchange, Inc. (CREXi), COMUNITYmade, Coral, Cornerstone OnDemand, CPR Save, Creative Spoons, Croquet Corporation, Cuál, DailyKarma, DASH Systems, Inc., Data 360, Denken Solutions, Inc., Developing Capacity Consulting, Dogdrop, Dollar Shave Club, dot.LA, DPFTRAC, Elevate My Brand, EMWDESIGNS, Emblematic Group, Encantos, Enplug, Ettitude, Everytable, Expy Health, FabFitFun, Factual, Inc., FairClaims, Fama, FamiLeague, Inc., FareShare, Fernish, Finli, FLATLAY, Inc., Flavors from Afar, Giftata, Gladeo, Golden, Good Job, Grid110, Hawke Media, Heir Apparent, Helpr, Holisticism, Honey, HopSkipDrive, Hot Bit VR, Hub101, Idealab, Inclusology, influence.co, Jam City, Jimaye, Joymode, Jump Watts Inc., Kitchen Table App, Larta Institute, Launchmaps, Lawgood, Liquid, Lorals, Lumenus, Mahmee, MediaAlpha, Me Tyme Network Inc., Microsoft, Mikomoss Labs, MixR, Mondays Labs, Munchee Haus, NEXT Trucking, Noun Project, Nuyorktricity, Officebook, Omaze, OurOffice Inc., Ozobot, PAIRE, Parkonomik, Peak Metrics, Perch Mobility, Inc., Pick My Solar, Ping, Pledgeling, PocketCFO, Pocketwatch, Push Consulting & Marketing, Rapid7, Reel, Riders Share, Sabio Enterprises, Inc., ScaleHealth, Snap Inc., Soarin Energy Inc., Soylent, SteelHouse, Stellar Agency, StoryPlace, SUEZ, Suma Wealth, Sweet Flower, sweetgreen, TALA, Tastemade, Techonsite Corporation, TecnoLatinx, The Bouqs Company, The Handoff Company, Thrive Market, Toucan, Tradesy, Trappit, US, TuesdayNights, Two Bit Circus, UNOMi, Valence Enterprises, Inc., Virgin Hyperloop One, VNTANA, #WeAllGrow Latina Network, Wellsayer, WeTransfer, Zip & Go Assist (Virtual Assistants), and Zypp

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