Jason Towns leads Groundwork Ventures, a global startup support organization and seed fund investing in overlooked entrepreneurs in both African and American emerging capital markets. Jason brings more than 15 years of experience in roles including tech founder, angel investor, inclusion advocate, and startup advisor. His deep experience building, sourcing & supporting seed stage startups as well as building inclusive local startup ecosystems has led to Jason launching national initiatives such as CODE2040's Entrepreneur in Residence Program, a Google-backed startup accelerator providing seed funding and support for founders from Black and Latinx communities. Throughout my 18 year career, I’ve successfully built and exited a venture backed startup, failed at creating the world’s most loved digital agency, and advised or invested in dozens of brave entrepreneurs across three continents & multiple industry verticals such as predictive analytics, big data, last mile delivery, crypto and enterprise mobile. Today, I spend alot of my time helping the top seed stage startups from diverse backgrounds access capital, connections & strategic support to grow, while enabling seed investors to build stronger, more diverse portfolios. Over the last four years, I’ve helped startups raise more than $17.5m in capital from seed stage through growth, and since 2014, valuations for companies I’ve advised have risen more than 3x. My mission is to quietly and efficiently serve founders while driving capital & resources from the west into innovation ecosystems across the globe. Outside of work in the states, I help power programs in a number of other markets including South Africa where we’ve partnered with Uncharted to form the Mzansi Commons Collective to help transform the township economies. I sit on a number of boards including Industrial Bank’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, the Congressional Research Institute of Social Work and Policy (CRISP) Board of Director, the Releaf Advisory Board & Jetpack’s Advisory Committee. I’m thankful that my expertise & experience has me well positioned to help those solving the problems of tomorrow, today. I’m also honored to receive professional distinctions such as The Root's list of the 100 Most Influential African Americans, The Digital Diversity Network's Change Agent Award, The Registry's 40 Under 40 in Silicon Valley, MIPAD’s 100 Most Influential People in the African Diaspora, and most recently Ebony Magazine’s 2017-2018 Power 100 list.