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. 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

        Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

        Cadence

        Lime Piloting New Electric Motorbike in Long Beach

        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.

        Lime Piloting New Electric Motorbike in Long Beach
        Courtesy of Lime

        Lime is piloting a new electric motorbike in Long Beach.

        The San Francisco-based micromobility company is testing its latest lightweight electric vehicle, known as the Citra, on the streets of Long Beach, The Verge reported Tuesday. Lime plans to pilot several hundred of the motorbikes throughout the city and could potentially roll out up to 500 of the vehicles if rider demand is strong, a spokesperson told the tech news outlet.

        Read moreShow less

        Invoca Hits Unicorn Status With $83M Silver Lake-Led Funding Round

        Keerthi Vedantam

        Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

        Invoca Hits Unicorn Status With $83M Silver Lake-Led Funding Round
        Photo by CDC on Unsplash
        Invoca, a Santa Barbara-based AI software platform that analyzes customer service calls for sales and marketing teams, is now a unicorn.
        Read moreShow less

        JLL Spark’s Laurent Grill on Investing in Proptech’s Evolution

        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.
        JLL Spark’s Laurent Grill on Investing in Proptech’s Evolution
        Courtesy of Laurent Grill

        On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, JLL Spark’s Laurent Grill talks about the world of proptech, COVID’s impact on the office and lowering buildings’ emissions.

        Grill joined JLL Spark, the investment arm of global commercial real estate company JLL, over a year ago. The firm focuses on Series A and B investments of between $2 million and $10 million in a wide range of areas in real estate technology, including smart buildings, construction tech and tenant experience platforms — all of which have become more relevant in a post-pandemic world.

        Read moreShow less
        RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
        LA TECH JOBS
        interchangeLA
        Trending