Anthony Kelani to Join Urban Tech Connect’s 2019 Office Hours

Kelani is a managing partner at Quake Capital Partners with over 13 years of experience. Anthony launched his career with the premier defense contractor, Northrop Grumman, where he was honored for his work in designing and developing life-saving situational awareness software for the United States military. As Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office, Kelani will focus his efforts on working closely with Quake’s accelerator founders in the areas of engineering and operations, expanding Quake’s investor and partner network, and assisting with fundraising and strategy.

We’re thrilled to welcome Kelani as one of the VC’s at Urban Tech Connect’s 2019 Office Hours as he continues to support underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs find their success in the tech space.


Trevor Wilkins to Join Urban Tech Connect’s 2019 Office Hours

Trevor Wilkins, Co-Founder of KÜDZOO – a students rewards app, and his partner has been recognized by Forbes Magazine and named to the 30 Under 30 list in Education. Trevor helped to manage day-to-day operations and grow the app’s user base to over half a million students worldwide. As a Principal at Quake, Trevor helps manage cohort operations, assists in sourcing potential portfolio investments and expanding Quake’s presence on the West Coast. We’re excited to have him lend support to help Founders and Entrepreneur gain guidance to achieve his next milestone.


Demarcus Williams to Join Urban Tech Connect 2019 Office Hours

Williams is the Director of SVB’s Early Stage Practice, joining by way of Zealot Networks a LA based VC backed digital media company, where he served as Vice President of Business Strategy. Williams is one of many who will join us for Office Hours at Urban Tech Connect 2019.

At Zealot, Williams focuses on fostering collaboration within LA’s early stage technology/innovation ecosystem and leveraging SVB’s brand to add value to early stage entrepreneurs. We’re excited to have him lend support to help Founders and Entrepreneurs gain guidance to achieve their next milestone.


Austin Clements to Join Urban Tech Connect 2019 Office Hours

Clements is a venture capitalist with TenOneTen Ventures, a seed stage fund base in LA. While he began his career in investment management, he’s since uncovered his passion for helping other entrepreneurs kick start their careers, and he’s an active volunteer for local youth entrepreneurship programs.

We’re thrilled to welcome Clements as one of the VC’s at Urban Tech Connect’s 2019 Office Hours as he continues to support underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs find their success in the tech space.


Erin Shipley to Join Urban Tech Connect 2019 Office Hours

Erin Shipley is the co-founder and Managing Partner of The Helm, a venture fund and investment community that rethinks how people invest in female entrepreneurs. Before working for The Helm, she was an investor at Karlin Ventures, backing companies including Laurel & Wolf, ChowNow, Verge Genomics, and Policy Genius.

We are so excited to have Erin Shipley’s guidance and support at Urban Tech Connect’s 2019 Office Hours.


Anna Barber to Join Urban Tech Connect 2019 Office Hours

Anna Barber is the Managing Director of Techstars LA, an accelerator program that invests in ten local startups each year. Anna partnered in her first startup, Scribble Press, back in 2006 and since then has served as an advisor, strategy consultant and coach to countless other entrepreneurs. Her focus is on product roadmap, commercialization, business development and raising money.

We’re excited to have Anna Barber lend support as a VC to help Founders and Entrepreneurs at Urban Tech Connect’s 2019 Office Hours.




Marlon Nichols Featured in TechCrunch

By Jonathan Schieber @ TechCrunch 

The Los Angeles startup scene has come a long way in the three-and-a-half years since Marlon Nichols, Troy Carter and Trevor Thomas launched Cross Culture Ventures. The city and its surrounding Orange County exurbs were at the beginning of a venture capital surge that has seen invested capital in the region rise from $3.63 billion in 2015to $6 billion last year.

Since Cross Culture landed on the Los Angeles scene with a $50 million fund, Nichols and his partners have notched three exits and seen the paper value of the fund’s portfolio grow by an aggregate of 2,085 percent, according to people with knowledge of the firm.

And Nichols and his partners have done it by backing one of the most diverse pools of startup founders in any firm’s portfolio.



Hustle and Motivate, By Austin Clements

by Austin Clements

It has been a rough couple weeks since the City of Los Angeles was rocked by the death of Nipsey Hussle.

Since his passing, most media coverage eulogized him as an entertainer who just came off a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. It’s a meaningful milestone, but that description misses his most important contributions to the city. His music combined stories from the streets with thoughtful insights about personal and community wealth. But it wasn’t just talk, Nipsey was a living model for economic development in South LA.

Slauson Ave Soldier Raised

Nipsey grew up an LA native and frequently talked about Slauson Ave as a central part of his story. In fact, the LA Times did a great feature on his relationship with the street. It shaped him just liked it shaped so many others.

Slauson is my favorite street in all of Los Angeles. My appreciation for it comes from what it represents in our community. On one side, Slauson goes straight through South Central LA, an under-resourced area often overlooked for its economic potential. On the other side of Slauson you’ll find neighborhoods that represent the highest concentration of black wealth in the entire country (Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills, View Park, etc). Slauson is the only street in LA that connects all those communities. Read the full post here.

I grew up right off Slauson so it has always been clear to me how those communities are inextricably linked. The people who lived off Slauson, both east and west of Crenshaw, held a lot of the same values and ambitions, but not the same access or opportunity. Nipsey’s success was so indicative of what can come from the area when you combine unique talents and dedication with a desire to serve your own community.

Ain’t really trip off the credit, I just paid all of my dues

Nipsey was creating new businesses, buying local businesses, and partnering on a couple of game-changing efforts. His understanding of ownership started with the music, where Nipsey passed on seemingly lucrative record label deals because he decided it was important to retain ownership of all of his masters. Today this decision is paying off many times over, because his music has risen to the top of the charts since his death. All the money goes to his family, which is one reason all his old fans are warmly welcoming all the new fans.

But in his early days, alongside the music, Nipsey and his brother sold T Shirts on the corner of Slauson and Crenshaw, which turned into them opening a store called Slauson Tees in a strip mall on that same corner. The store eventually became The Marathon and soared in popularity. Still Nipsey remained dedicated to the community, often hiring people from the neighborhood including the formerly incarcerated because they often couldn’t get honest work elsewhere.

Most recently Nipsey opened up Vector90, the first modern co-working space in SouthLA, located just off Slauson, between Van Ness and Western. It’s a couple blocks away from Harvard Park, which has been described in the media as one of the most dangerous areas in LA. But for me, Harvard Park was a place of nurturing and growth. It’s the park where I learned how to play tennis when I was growing up. I still play there on occasion.

With the addition of Vector90, this previously overlooked area will become ground zero for the tech community in SouthLA. It will bring ambitious entrepreneurs together in a safe and supportive space, where they can collaborate on ideas and learn from each other.

This concentration of talent will become a center of gravity which attracts financial resources and city support to the area. Nipsey and this co-working space paved the way for other efforts that are in development that will touch down nearby. I honestly believe Vector90 will impact the surrounding community for generations to come.

Quote me on all this, I got a lot more to prove

Read the full post here.


Urban Tech Connect 2019 – Register Now

Once again, it’s on. Urban Tech Connect returns Thursday, May 16, to the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. Designed to nurture up and coming founders and taking place in your own backyard, this conference will be attended by a number of prominent Venture Capitalists that are eager to help you succeed. Whether you’re looking for investors, help refining your technology or potential business partners, look no further than Urban Tech Connect.


Plug In South LA to join the Spark Cohort

Plug IN South LA is excited to be chosen as a participant for the Spark: Strengthening the Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem program bringing together tech ecosystem builders from around the country. This program is sponsored and supported by the Case Foundation and Kaufman Foundations. #PlugInSouthLA

Participating organizations include:

To learn more about inclusive entrepreneurship and how it works check out The Case Foundation’s website at