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

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

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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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        🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
        Image Source: Joby Aviation

        🔦 Spotlight

        Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

        For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

        Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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        Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
        Image Source: Discover LA

        In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

        Pickleball

        Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

        Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

        Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


        Escape Room

        Image Source: The Escape Game

        Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

        Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


        Day Trip to Catalina Island

        Image Source: Love Catalina

        Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

        Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


        Top Golf

        Image Source: Topgolf

        Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

        Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


        SoFi Stadium Tour

        Image Source: Discover LA

        A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

        Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


        Corporate Volunteering

        Image Source: L.A. Works

        Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

        Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


        Corporate Improv Sessions

        Image Source: Improv for the People

        A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

        Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

        🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
        Image Source: Paramount

        Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

        🔦 Spotlight

        Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

        Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

        The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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        • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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