On April 22-23, Oakland [hosted] Vator Splash at the Kaiser Center and The Port Workspaces by Lake Merritt. During the two-day event, venture capitalists and active angels [educated] startups and investors in a series of panel discussions, “fireside chats” and keynote addresses, as well as launch the final round of a startup competition.

Oakland was picked to hold Vator Splash in part because of its growing reputation as a city which wants to address national concerns about tech diversity and equity.

“Oakland has emerged as a model for how technology firms can begin to mirror the nation’s racial, ethnic and gender diversity,” said Bambi Francisco, founder and CEO of Vator.

“I’m proud to help produce an event that will continue to catalyze Oakland’s own tech ecosystem,” said Karen Wertman, Vator Splash executive producer and co-chair of 2.Oakland. “It’s gratifying to offer programming that not only educates and helps launch great startups, but isn’t afraid to address tough questions that have global impact.”

Tough questions including “When Will Tech Look Like America?” will feature Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf along with Kimberly Bryant, former tech executive and founder of Black Girls Code; Kapor Center for Social Impact co-founder Freada Kapor Klein; Pandora senior diversity manager Lisa Lee and Google’s senior manager for global diversity and talent inclusion programs Nilka Thomas.

Oakland will also be featured in the panel discussions “AcceleratorNation,” which features founders of four Oakland-based startup accelerators with unique business models, including DevLabs (Jose Lopez), ZooLabs (Vinitha Watson), SfunCube (Emily Kirsch) and Uptima Business Bootcamp (Rani Croager).

The event includes keynote speeches by Slava Rubin, CEO and founder of Indiegogo, Adam Goldenberg of online fashion retailer JustFab and Marco Zappacosta of Thumbtack, as well as a tour that includes stepping inside the renovations of the former Sears/Capwells building.


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