I am interested in technology, statistics, civic innovation, finance and financial technology, cities, positive disruption, running, and books.
Zachary Townsend is a inaugural Chief Data Officer of California, where he has responsibility around data collection, sharing, analysis, and transparency for the state government.
Zac was previously the director of channel and product management at Silicon Valley Bank for all programmatic channels. Zac joined Silicon Valley Bank
when it acquired Standard Treasury
, a company that he co-founded. Standard Treasury was building an API-driving bank aiming to reduce the cost of banking infrastructure. While at Standard Treasury, he graduated from Y Combinator
, the Fintech Innovation Lab
, and Commerce.Innovated
and was recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Technology
and by Bankinnovation.net as an 2014 Innovator to Watch
Previously, he was Senior Technology Policy Adviser to Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker, and conducted civic and social sector management consulting as an Associate and Senior Associate at Bennett Midland
. His clients included the NYC Administration of Children’s Services, the NYPD, the NYC Mayor’s Office, the Atlantic Philanthropies. and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
An angel investor and startup advisor, he is the co-founder of Deciens Capital
. He is also a mentor to the startup-in-residence
program, which brings together government and startups to explore ways to use technology to make government more accountable, efficient and responsive.
He is a published statistician
, a current board member of Bayes Impact
, a not-for-profit working to use data to solve large social and civic sector challenges, and one of the co-founders of DataKind
, a not-for-profit that matches pro bono data scientists with other not-for-profits.
Zac is also a board member of San Francisco Bay Area foster and adoption agency Alternative Family Services
, which supports vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety, and wellbeing in communities. Active in his neighborhood, he is a board member of the Eureka Valley Neighberhood Association
His commentary has been published by the San Francisco Chronicle
, the San Jose Mercury News
, and the Albany Times-Union
. He is a member of the Truman Project
, where he is currently the co-political director of the San Francisco chapter, and a 2011 fellow of the New Leaders Council
. He is a former affiliate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society
and NYU's PRIISM
He received an MPA from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service
, where he focused on public financial and statistical methods, and an AB from Brown University where he concentrated in applied math–economics and public policy. During college, he was awarded a Royce Fellowship
, an undergraduate fellowship from the Liman Public Interest program
at Yale Law School, and the J.W. Saxe prize for public service