LA Venture Podcast: Meet Austin Clements and His New Fund for Black Entrepreneurs

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Austin Clements

On this week's episode of the L.A. Venture podcast meet Austin Clements, co-founder of Slauson & Co, a L.A.-based pre-seed and seed-stage venture firm focused on sustainable economic inclusion. The firm is backed by PayPal, Ashton Kutcher, will.i.am, True Capital Management and Alpaca VC. Previously, Clements was at TenOneTen Ventures. He was also the founding chair of Pledge L.A. and the managing director of Grid110 South L.A.


Clements has created his newest endeavor with Ajay Relañ, founder of #HastagLunchbag and co-founder of Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen. Relañ has previously partnered with Issa Rae, creator of HBO's hit show "Insecure" and the musician Nas.

Their fund aims to invest in founders from underrepresented backgrounds, tools and platforms that support small businesses and culturally relevant tech. As Black co-founders, it's important to Clements and Relañ to create community for underrepresented groups in the VC space, and they do so by leading investments on startups run by Black and Brown creators.

Hear Austin talk about how race impacts his business models, how his previous work has prepared him for this role, and how he hopes to make an impact on people of color trying to break into the venture industry.

"I feel like there's just some misconception. Like people feel like if you're doing this or looking at founders from underrepresented backgrounds, that it's charity work. And and I was trying to make the argument that it's not. It's an opportunity. And what I think will ultimately happen is firms like mine will produce really great results and then ultimately inspire other people to get involved."

Austin Clements is the co-founder of Slauson & Co, the founding chair of Pledge L.A. and was the managing director of Grid 110 South L.A.

dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.

Want to hear more of L.A. Venture? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs
Photo Courtesy of IndiEV

INDIEV, a startup based in Vernon, announced this week it will partner with Taiwanese tech conglomerate Foxconn to build its first prototypes of its upcoming electric SUV, nicknamed the INDI One.

The debut makes it the seventh consumer electric vehicle company to enter Los Angeles’s crowded cohort of green carmakers.

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