The website for Zachary Townsend.

I am interested in technology, statistics, civic innovation, finance and financial technology, cities, positive disruption, running, and books.


I am the inaugural Chief Data Officer of the State of California.

I am on the boards of Bayes Impact and Alternative Family Services.


I sometimes write not on my blog: I sometimes write on my blog:

Online Identities



Take the first letter of my first name and prepend it to my last name. That's my gmail address.


Long-form Biography

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 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 center.

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.