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One of Southern California's top accelerators has named Matt Kozlov its next managing director, marking a shift to jumpstarting more deep-tech startups.

Kozlov succeeds the popular Anna Barber, who departed Techstars Los Angeles Accelerator in November to become the first head of M13's venture studio and a partner at the firm.

"It's certainly big shoes that I'm filling," Kozlov said. "I'm quite humbled by it, to be perfectly honest."

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Anna Barber, who has served as a mentor to countless early startup founders and headed the Techstars LA Accelerator for the past three years, is leaving to become the first head of M13's venture studio and a partner at the firm.

"I was not looking for a new role, but you literally couldn't design a more perfect opportunity for me," Barber said. "It was too good to pass up."

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Miss Techstars L.A. 2020 Demo Day? You can still catch the full presentation below.

The ten companies who made up this year's Techstars class were focused on creating a more equitable healthcare system, providing more access in education and economic opportunity.

Techstars L.A. 2020 Demo Day -- in Partnership with dot.LA www.youtube.com

The companies chosen for each accelerator class receive three months of intensive mentoring and a $120,000 investment from Techstars, which takes a 6% cut of equity. Usually the companies work together in person, but this year, the pandemic prevented that, so they primarily worked from home.

The awards program, too, was intended to be held at the historic El Rey Theater, but — as Techstars' Managing Director Anna Barber said in her introduction "it was just not in the cards this year." Still, she said, the community surrounding the program went out of their way to make it a success.

"When we started TechStars L.A. four years ago, we knew that diversity, equity and inclusion had to be a pillar of our program, Barber said. "Sixty percent of our portfolio companies are led by female founders and 20% have a Black or Latinx CEO."

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti offered a few words of praise for the accelerator and the startups its grown. saying "Techstars has helped power L.A.'s tech renaissance."

"In this moment of so many unprecedented challenges," he continued. "Techstars along with startups and tech leaders across Los Angeles are leading the way. Matching their innovation and ingenuity with care and compassion."

The mayor went on to describe the leaps that L.A.'s tech community has made in providing PPE in the earliest days of the pandemic, in creating new therapeutics and innovative approaches to COVID testing as well as creating new ways for businesses to stay afloat using contactless payment and other approaches. "At the heart of our innovation economy is the never-ending push to make life safer and healthier and better for people throughout our city, and across the world," Garcetti said.

Techstars holds three accelerator programs in L.A., including Techstars Music and Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator.

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