Tiltify Remakes Charity for the Video-Streaming Era, Raises $6.5M

Leslie Ignacio

Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.

Tiltify Remakes Charity for the Video-Streaming Era, Raises $6.5M

Startup Tiltify wants to use lessons from Twitch's success in the gaming industry to change the way charities interact with their audiences. A recent $6.5 million raise will help them do just that.

The Los Angeles-based crowdfunding platform was launched in 2014 by Michael Wasserman and Mark Russell to get younger generations participating in charity fundraisers.


"There's a couple things that came up with every client," said Wasserman, a 12-year veteran of the charity space. "Consultants would ask me about younger donors and younger fundraisers: 'How do we work with the younger generation?', was sort of one side of it. And then the second side was thinking about how people are interacting through social media," he said.

Tiltify

Wasserman decided to launch Tiltify to give donors new ways to interact with their favorite charities beyond social media.

It took a cue from Amazon-owned Twitch. Its platform, launched in 2007, allows viewers not just to watch, but to take part in their favorite players' streaming video game. Tiltify wanted to do the same for live auctions and charity events.

"I was watching one yesterday on our site where people were weight lifting…All those like fun interactions where it sort of changed the value proposition from, 'Hey can you just drop off somebody at this sort of static mailbox page' that didn't do anything to a form of entertainment and more of an exchange to like, 'Well, let's get involved together and get my whole online community together,'" said Wasserman.

Tiltify co-founder Michael Wasserman.

The approach lets charities make their outreach efforts more conversational and interesting, Wasserman said, allowing them to expand beyond the usual charity campaign.

Pace Capital led the recent funding round, which the company will use to develop faster technology and unique fundraiser-focused features. Those include donation polls and reward incentives. Tiltify also recently inked an exclusive partnership with TikTok.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement and recent California wildfires, it's been more popular with a record number of new users to the platform, Wasserman said.

In April, Wasserman said he was contacted by over 400 charities and year-over-year user growth is 1,000%.

To create an account, charities must be verified by the Internal Revenue Service. Once they're approved, the services are free of charge.

"We never wanted a barrier for someone's favorite charity. Maybe they're really small. Maybe that charity only does $50,000 a year; we didn't want that to be a barrier for any organization," said Wasserman.

The startup charges based on an annual tier. Larger accounts can opt for a different model, in which Tiltify takes between 3% and 5% based on the volume of traffic coming in.

The crowdfunding market is expected to reach $28.8 billion by 2025.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.

RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending