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LA Tech Updates: LA's Largest VC is Now a Public Benefit Corp; Treehouse Games Raises $2.6M

Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.

Today:

  • LA's Largest VC is Now a Public Benefit Corp
  • Treehouse Games Raises $2.6M

      'Collaborative' Game-Maker Treehouse Games Raises $2.6M

      Treehouse Games, founded by former Riot Games product lead Michael Chu and indie games studio veteran Ryan Sullivan, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding. The studio will focus on making collaborative games "to serve a growing, global audience of millions of people who use games as their favorite way to hang out," the company said in a statement.

      London Venture Partners (LVP) led the funding round. Bay Area-based Transcend Fund and Super Evil Megacorp CEO Kristian Segestrale also participated.

      Chu and Sullivan told dot.LA that "it's too early to go into specifics about the game, but our team is hard at work building an innovative cooperative game to bring friends and family together."

      "We want to create games that give you that feeling of camaraderie during a road trip, or the sense of generosity you get when buying your friend a cup of coffee," the founders said.

      Fifth Wall Venture Firm Is Now a B Corporation

      fifthwall.com

      Fifth Wall announced this week it is now a Certified B Corporation or "B Corp," which means it is legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

      Fifth Wall is the largest venture capital firm focused on real estate tech, known as proptech. It announced the close of its second real estate technology fund last year, with $503 million in dry powder, making it the largest VC fund in Los Angeles.

      "It is incumbent upon all of us to take actionable steps towards building a more equitable and sustainable society," said Brendan Wallace, co-founder and managing partner at Fifth Wall. "We're grateful to the resources and community offered by B Lab to help our firm as we continue to educate ourselves and make changes within our own organization."

      Fifth Wall is now part of a cohort of 3,939 other B-Corps that include names like Ben & Jerry's, Allbirds, and Patagonia.

      The real estate industry accounts for 40% of the world's consumption of energy and Fifth Wall says it is ready to help make construction more sustainable. Earlier this year, the firm announced a new carbon impact fund.

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      Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.

      It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.

      Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.

      As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?

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      When the founders who lead the ten young startups selected for the 2020 Techstars LA class begin their three month accelerator program Monday, they won't be gathering in the Mid-Wilshire office and shaking hands as every other class has done. Like the rest of us, they will be working at home because of the coronavirus. Dinners, meetings, socializing, and mentoring sessions will all be online.

      "A big part of the magic of the program is the relationships that are from proximity and from everyone working together in the same space and so what we're doing is we're endeavoring to create as much as that connection in the virtual world as possible," said Anna Barber, managing director of Techstars LA.

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