HopSkipDrive Wins Startup of the Year at dot.LA's Second Annual Startup Awards

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

HopSkipDrive Wins Startup of the Year at dot.LA's Second Annual Startup Awards

Downtown Los Angeles-based HopSkipDrive, a mobility startup that aims to be a kid-friendly Uber service for school-age students, won startup of the year at dot.LA's second annual startup awards.


Winners were announced at the dot.LA Summit. Judges voted for their picks for the most-deserving companies and individuals in six categories, including rising entrepreneur, top rising startup and entrepreneur of the year.

"It's such an honor to be included among all the impressive companies nominated for this award," Katrina Kardassakis, HopSkipDrive's vice president of business operations, said during her acceptance speech. "We are a youth transportation solution on a mission to create opportunity for all through mobility, and so we're focused on serving vulnerable populations, including kids in the foster care system, kids experiencing homelessness and kids with special needs or anyone who needs a little extra care to get where they need to go."

Kardassakis added that HopSkipDrive is currently focused on providing a potential solution to the ongoing shortage of bus drivers across the country, which is leading to backlogs in getting kids to and from school as the transportation industry struggles to retain workers and rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Finalists for the 2021 Startup of the Year Award included Universal Hydrogen, a company that's working to make planes that run on clean energy; Long Beach-based Rocket Lab, a reusable rocket manufacturer and small satellite launcher that looks to compete with SpaceX; ChowNow, a commission-free online ordering platform for restaurants and Crexi, a platform for streamlining commercial real estate transactions.

Check out the full list of nominees and winners for dot.LA's 2021 Startup Awards below.


Pivot of the Year: Potion

This award celebrates a startup's ability to revamp by changing its business model and strategy in the face of adversity.

Finalists:

  • Triller
  • Behold
  • GiveSum
  • Potion — Winner
  • Struct Club

Social Justice Award: Grid110

This award recognizes a company or individual who has made the biggest impact on driving social justice to create a positive, significant and sustainable impact.

Finalists:

  • All Voices
  • Cheese
  • SoLa Impact
  • Hacker Fund
  • Grid110 — Winner

Rising Entrepreneur: Krista Berlincourt

This entrepreneur is new in the LA startup scene and has emerged as a forward thinking innovator and leader. Despite his/her age, the Entrepreneur of the year has a pioneering spirit and a promising future.

Finalists:

  • Clash App, Brandon McNerney
  • Lolly, Marc Baghadjian and Sacha Schermerhorn
  • Kona, Sid Pandiya
  • Kensho Health, Krista Berlincourt — Winner
  • Seed, Ara Katz

Rising Startup: Invisible Universe

Sponsored by TriNet

This startup is less than two years of age from incorporation and has shown major development based on market growth, innovation and impact of products and services. This newcomer has the greatest potential to disrupt its market and global tech community.

Finalists:

    • Elude
    • Returnmates
    • Dogdrop
    • Invisible Universe — Winner
    • Launch House
    Alex Israel

    Entrepreneur of the Year: Alex Israel

    This entrepreneur has a fearless spirit while their partners, teammates and clients are inspired by their vision on a daily basis. They have made notable achievements this past year in regards to funds raised, sales, impact of product and leadership in the tech ecosystem.

    Finalists:

      • Heather Hasson and Trina Spear, FIGS
      • Cathy Zoi, EVgo
      • Alex Israel, Metropolis — Winner
      • Dakota Semler, Xos Truck
      • Jason Wilk, Dave

      Startup of the Year: HopSkipDrive

      This company has shown the greatest development over the past year based on innovation and impact with goods and services. This startup has the most promising potential for an exit and potential to reach unicorn status.

      Finalists:

        • HopSkipDrive — Winner
        • Universal Hydrogen
        • Rocket Lab
        • ChowNow
        • Crexi

        https://twitter.com/samsonamore
        samsonamore@dot.la

        Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

        Cadence

        Netflix's New Culture Memo Addresses Censorship and Corporate Secrecy

        Kristin Snyder

        Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

        Netflix's New Culture Memo Addresses Censorship and Corporate Secrecy
        Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

        Netflix promised change after its poor first-quarter earnings. One of the first targets: the Netflix Culture document.

        The changes, which Variety reported on Thursday, indicate a new focus on fiscal responsibility and concern about censorship. While promises to support honest feedback and open decision-making remain, the memo’s first update in almost five years reveals that the days of lax spending are over. The newly added “artistic expression” section emphasizes Netflix’s refusal to censor its work and implores employees to support the platform’s content.

        Read more Show less

        ‘Raises’: Mahmee Secures $9.2M, Wave Financial Launches $60M Fund

        Decerry Donato

        Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

        Raises
        Image by Joshua Letona
        In this week’s edition of “Raises”: It was another slow week on the deal front, but one maternal health startup, with a mission to fight maternal mortality, landed a deal with growth equity business Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles-based investment firm is launching its 8th digital asset fund of $60 million.
        Read more Show less
        RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
        LA TECH JOBS
        interchangeLA
        Trending