Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Matt Kozlov, the managing director of Techstars. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Matt, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is Techstars addressing?
Matt: Thanks, Spiffy! It’s great to be here. To answer your question, Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed by investing capital, mentorship, and community. We are especially focused on backing underrepresented founders solving problems that will make our world a better, safer, and more equitable place. I'm personally focused on healthcare, aerospace, and energy, in particular.
Spiffy: Those are quite the diverse areas of interest! May I ask what motivated you to join the company?
Matt: Well, I was an entrepreneur myself and wished I had access to the incredible mentors, community, and customers that Techstars brings to founders. We make it so much easier for founders to push through their challenges and build big, impactful companies. I was very excited to join an organization dedicated to that mission.
Spiffy: Can you elaborate a bit on your mission and what Techstars is doing to help make the world a more equitable place?
Matt: I’m happy to. Most of the companies I've invested in improve access and quality of healthcare, monitor the planet for potential disasters (like oil spills, methane leaks, toxic blooms), give entrepreneurs (especially first-time entrepreneurs) tools and technology to help them get their business off the ground, and/or are started by founders who may not be as well represented in technology today (Black, Latinx, female, LGBTQ, etc.).
Spiffy: That sounds awesome! Are there any recent milestones you’d like to share with our readers?
Matt: We recently signed on to the UN's Principles for Responsible Investment. More info here!
Spiffy: Congratulations! Before I let you go, can you tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make?
Matt: One of the companies we recently backed is Alva Health. Their CEO, Sandra Saldana is a brilliant entrepreneur and technologist (a PhD and a first-time founder). They are bringing to market a wearable that can detect stroke in real-time, helping patients get access to lifesaving medication before it's too late. This technology has the potential to save millions of lives and billions of dollars.
Spiffy: Wow, talk about real-world impact! I wish Techstars and your companies all the best. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, Matt, it’s been an honor!
Matt Kozlov is the managing director of Techstars LA, one of the top venture accelerators in the country. Previously he was the founding managing director of the Techstars Space Accelerator in partnership with the US Air Force, JPL NASA, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, Maxar Technologies, and Israel Aerospace Industries North America. Before that, Matt was the founding managing director of The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator in Partnership with Techstars. (First published on the Ladderworks website on December 2, 2021)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.