Even after the tech industry's reckoning after the killing of George Floyd last year, the startup world is still overwhelmingly dominated by white men.

Of the $150 billion in venture funding raised by U.S startups last year, just $1 billion went to Black founders, according to Crunchbase.

And Southern California is hardly bucking the trend. Just 2% of VC investment partners here identify as Black or Latino and less than 10% of VC-funded companies are led by women or people of color in Southern California, according to PledgeLA.

But even though progress has been slow, there are founders of color helping lead the new wave of tech startups.

Who stands out? We asked the region's top VCs to weigh in.

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When fully vaccinated employees at one of L.A.'s biggest venture firms began trickling back into the office at the beginning of May, they felt a bit uncomfortable.

"Everyone felt awkward," remembers Mark Suster, Upfront Ventures' General Partner. "It was really awkward sitting in front of people again."

After more than a year confined to only seeing a few family members face-to-face and perhaps the occasional masked walk with friends and colleagues, it felt strange to suddenly be sitting unmasked next to each other in conference rooms.

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In what is partly a reflection of the area's red-hot tech scene and also this year's sizzling IPO market, FIGS, seller of fashionable scrubs, became the latest Southern California company to do what is very much in fashion these days: go public.

FIGS shares closed Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange at $30.02 a share, a hefty premium to the $22 listing price.

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