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.


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.

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Hi folks,

Excited to share another LA startup profile. This week’s profile covers not a founder or investor, but rather an ecosystem partner without whom, LA’s entrepreneurship scene would not be possible.

If you’re a startup founder or VC in Los Angeles, I can almost guarantee you’re at most two degrees of separation from Al Guerrero. If you don’t know him, someone in your network does. Al is a fixture of the LA tech scene and, more importantly, is one of those people everyone likes instantly – one Zoom call, one conversation at an event, and you feel like Al is your best friend.

After years as a startup banker at SVB, Al is now building his own startup – a bank within a bank.

👦🏻 Early Life

Alejandro “Al” Guerrero’s story starts in San Francisco. Al was a Bay Area kid, raised by parents who emigrated from Mexico, met in English class, and got married soon after. When he was six years old, Al’s parents opened a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley called Guerrero’s, where he spent his evenings after school doing homework and helping out in the restaurant. Working while studying didn’t hold his (or his siblings’) grades back, though. He, his brother, and his sister all excelled in school, and all three attended UC Berkeley as first generation college students.

At Berkeley, Al studied business and, like many of us, didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do with his life post-college.

I majored in business because in my mind, “business people have jobs” and education for me was a path to provide for my family since they had sacrificed so much to put me in this position.

He also participated in Inroads, a non-profit dedicated to helping minority students break into corporate America. The organization marked two of Al’s defining characteristics starting to come into focus. The first is Al’s consummate ability to make meaningful connections in the business world. He’s a networker in the best sense of the word – as I mentioned above, everyone knows Al! The second characteristic is Al’s dedication to diversity and helping immigrants and people of color succeed.

After college, Al moved an hour south to attend Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and then onto investment banking at Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles, a city he hasn’t left since.

👨🏻💼 LA and 2023 Banking Crisis

Like many Angelenos, Al dabbled in Hollywood for a while, leading innovation and eventually starting the venture arm of Technicolor, the storied post production company. Throughout his time there, Al and his teams worked with brands, movie studios, and startups to bring their visions to life.

This servant mission led Al to his next firm, Silicon Valley Bank, where many of you likely met him.

To be honest, entering the commercial banking sector wasn’t something that was on my radar, so it was a bit of a risk (for both SVB and me) when I took the role. But I believed I had found my career calling with that role. I could leverage everything I had done in the past – from my time as a venture capitalist, to my time at a startup, to my finance background. Even my time at my family’s restaurant was relevant as it was instrumental in building a strong belief in customer service.

Al spent six years at SVB in LA as a managing director. Al's time at SVB was marked by unwavering support for the Los Angeles startup ecosystem. He nurtured relationships with founders and investors, recognizing the pivotal role banking could play in supporting innovative ventures. His customer-centric approach and commitment to delivering exceptional service endeared him to the entrepreneurial community. After supporting hundreds of startups and venture funds, Al left the firm following the devastating bank run, which led to the collapse of SVB.

The banking crisis was very stressful for both our clients and the employees of the company. During this time, I felt a huge outpouring of support from the LA startup community, many members of which had reached out to check in on me. I vividly remember being overwhelmed with emotion (and tears) when I read all of the posts on LinkedIn supporting me the day after the bank run. The support I felt reaffirmed my resolve to continue supporting the LA startup ecosystem, both in good and challenging times, similar to how the ecosystem had been there for me.

👨🏻💻 Building Stifel West Coast Venture Banking

But every crisis is an opportunity! Al had relationships and experience, which were now extremely desirable for other banks looking to move into the startup banking space, and Stifel came knocking.

I wanted to find a home that would be entrepreneurial, with the ability to move fast to support a client base that requires that level of responsiveness. I also wanted to go to a place that had experience in venture banking and that had strong CEO support. I found all of that at Stifel. Plus, when I found out that there were a total of 30 former SVBers moving over to Stifel, all of whom were the ‘best of the best’, it made my decision a no-brainer.

So what is Stifel and what does it do differently from its peers?

Stifel isn’t truly a startup – it’s a 130-year old financial institution. Al and the other ex-SVBers are building a startup within Stifel, though. The West Coast venture banking practice is brand new[GA(-LA1] , built from the ground up by Al and his team. In his own words,

Stifel’s Venture Banking is a full service commercial bank serving VC backed companies from inception to exit. After countless conversations with founders and investors, we have learned relationship-focused banking is critical to the venture ecosystem. To a degree, banking can be a commodity, and high-touch, white-glove service is what’s missing in the market. Our goal is to fill this gap and be available to support our clients at all times. For Seed and Series A companies, we are providing them a tailored banking bundle with flexibility, security and they can earn interest at very attractive rates. We are also active lenders to startups – issuing over 100 terms sheets in 100 days. From venture debt for Series A companies to lines of credit for later stage companies, we are here to support startups as they continue to scale.

We also bank venture funds, many of which may be struggling to find a bank that can support them. Our offering includes capital call lines which many banks aren’t as focused on providing in today’s market. Because of this focus, we have deep relationships with VCs that can prove to be helpful for our startups.

Lastly, we are actively supporting the SoCal Tech market. In the short time we’ve been at Stifel, we’ve already hosted over 14 events, and many of them were networking events for founders and VCs.

So who should talk to Al and his team at Stifel? To be honest, I’d say anyone looking for a good conversation, but anyone building a new startup or setting up a new venture fund is who they can help most.

Al has been a pillar of the LA tech scene for almost 10 years now, and it’s exciting to see him wearing his entrepreneurial hat with Stifel Venture Banking.

*This post was written in a paid partnership with Stifel Bank*

☕️ Top Cafes For Running into LA's Tech Leaders

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.

Good Morning!

We’re are releasing a new edition – a heartfelt homage to Los Angeles. In the hustle and bustle of work and family life, its easy to forget what makes this city truly magical. Take these 2 minutes to pause with us and explore the LA gems in this vibrant, diverse, and utterly unique parking lot we call home. Every other week we will release a list of some type of establishments loved by Los Angeles VCs, entrepreneurs, your best friend’s cousin and everyone in-between.

Help us as we shine a spotlight on Los Angeles' unique establishments that contribute to the city's charm and indirectly enrich its thriving tech ecosystem. This week we are featuring the eight best coffee shops on the Westside corroborated by influential VCs and founders alike. Our list flows west to east and the cafes were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • ☕️ Coffee Quality (table stakes)
  • 💻 Work friendly environment (wifi, noise, outlets, seating, etc.)
  • 🚗 Parking (can make or break a meeting)

Don’t forget about our current referral contest! Whoever refers the most friends to dot.LA using our referral program by October 31st will get a coffee and conversation with Spencer Rascoff, where you can pitch him, get business advice, or just shoot the breeze. This is a great opportunity for any current or future entrepreneur! Perfect time to visit one of the following coffee shops ☕️☕️☕️

Top Cafes For Running into LA's Tech Leaders

Primo Passo

Image Source: Timeout.com

Neighborhood: Wilshire/Montana

Address:702 Montana Ave Santa Monica, CA 90403

Description: Primo Passo is a cute locally owned spot on Montana Ave with fantastic coffee. Fairly quiet compared to neighboring coffee spots on Montana with a vast pastry assortment and small bites from nearby Farmshop.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. No wifi. Clean minimalist vibe. Not too loud. Lots of street parking you just may have to walk a block or two.

Caffe Luxxe

Image Source: Caffe Luxxe

Neighborhood: Wilshire/Montana

Address:925 Montana Ave Santa Monica, CA 90403

Description: The very first Caffe Luxxe modeled after a European cafe, this cozy coffee shop is owned by two best friends in LA. There is a decent amount of seating but no wifi as the cafe is focused on human connection. Great for a meeting but probably not great for a work session.

Quick Rundown: Parking lot in the back and metered street parking. No wifi. Mostly Indoor Seating. European cozy vibe.

GoodBoyBob Coffee

Image Source: EaterLA

Neighborhood: Santa Monica

Address:2058 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 90404

Description: Industrial, hidden, charming, and attached to a virtual reality studio, GoodBoyBob is a prime place to hunker down and get some work done. The coffee is roasted in-house and the menu features whole wheat wraps, grain bowls, pastries and an extensive Happy Hour menu to reward yourself after all of your hard work.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Industrial Chic Vibe. Not too loud. Fairly easy to find parking.

Zinqué - Venice

Image Source: Eater LA

Neighborhood: Venice

Address:1440 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Description: A vibrant and airy, low-key neighborhood restaurant with french-inspired dishes. They have wifi but you generally don’t see a bunch of people head down in their computers. The majority of people here are in meetings or out grabbing a meal with friends.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Elevated beachy vibe. parking?

Alana’s Coffee Roasters

Image Source: Folk LA

Neighborhood: Mar Vista

Address:12511 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Description: Locally owned, Alana started off in farmers markets and moved to a brick and mortar in 2016. Alana is a quant neighborhood coffee shop with a super cute patio and some killer coffee.

Quick Rundown: Mostly outdoor seating. No wifi. Clean surfer vibe. Not too loud. Parking lot plus metered street parking.

Urth Caffe - Beverly Hills

Image Source: Urth Caffe

Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

Address:267 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Description: Urth is a unique Los Angeles staple located in an old home flanked by classic retail establishments. Expect it to be pretty crowded, but you can almost always grab a table within a few minutes. There is wifi, but the bustling atmosphere make for a better meeting location than a focused work session. The food and drink menu is extensive but the coffee, tea and pastries are the star of the show. You really can’t go wrong.

Quick Rundown: Mostly outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Quirky cozy vibe. First 2 hours are free for public parking garage north on Beverly plus metered street parking.

Maru Espresso Bar

Image Source: lovebeverlyhills.com

Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

Address:201 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Description: Maru Coffee prioritizes top-tier coffee quality, and their menu stays true to form, quality over quantity. While the Beverly Hills branch lacks seating, it neighbors Beverly Canon Gardens, a sprawling 33,000-square-foot expanse of public gardens and open spaces with communal outdoor dining spots, water features, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Pro tip there’s a fantastic creperie in Beverly Canon Gardens!

Quick Rundown: Outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Urban Oasis Vibe. Not too loud. First 2 hours are free for public parking garage north on Canon plus metered street parking.

Verve Coffee Roasters

Image Source: Verve Coffee Roasters

Neighborhood: West Hollywood

Address:8925 Melrose Ave West Hollywood, CA 90069

Description: We may be using a liberal definition of West LA, but it is called West Hollywood which seems like pretty bullet proof logic. Located along Melrose Avenue in the heart of West Hollywood, Verve is a not so hidden gem with a fantastic outdoor patio. Their great coffee is complimented by a menu full of snacks and sandwiches. This spot is ideal for an in-person meeting because there are very few outlets and the tables are fairly small.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Tech-Hipster Vibe. Not too loud. Parking can be rough at peak times.

✍️ WGA strike ends: 'Houston, we have a deal.'

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.

🔦 Spotlight

Happy Friday Los Angeles! And an EXTRA happy Friday to Russell Palmer at CyberFilm AI for referring new subscribers to dot.la.

Unless you are Patrick Star and have been living under a rock for the past week, you are aware that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood studios have reached a tentative agreement. As this is a tech newsletter, we will concentrate on two key deal points: streaming topics and artificial intelligence protections, although it's important to note that the main deal points also encompass minimum staffing requirements and pay increases. ✍️🎬🌟

Image Source: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Following a 148-day strike, Hollywood writers are returning to work as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announces a tentative agreement with studios and streamers. The agreement, which is likely to be ratified by the WGA's 11,500 members, marks a significant moment in the industry's history. Here are the key provisions related to streaming and artificial intelligence (AI):

Streaming Provisions:

  • Streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ will provide transparency by sharing viewership data, both domestically and internationally, for original streaming series with the WGA.
  • New bonus structures for made-for-streaming shows and movies based on viewership.

AI-related Provisions:

  • The agreement clarifies that AI cannot write or rewrite scripts, maintaining the creative role of human writers.
  • Writers have the option to use AI with company approval, but companies cannot mandate its use.
  • Studios retain the ability to train AI using scripts, but writers have the right to challenge this use in the future.

So what does this all mean…

The far-reaching implications of the deal for AI and streaming are significant and have the potential to reshape the entertainment industry:

  1. Increased Transparency in Streaming: The requirement for streaming platforms to provide viewership data for original content brings greater transparency to the industry.
  2. Incentivizing Content with Mass Appeal: The provision for bonuses based on viewership performance incentivizes the creation of content for the masses.
  3. Protection of Creative Control: The stipulation that AI cannot write or rewrite scripts and that writers have the choice to use AI with company approval preserves the creative control of human writers.
  4. Balanced Use of AI: By allowing writers the option to use AI but not requiring its use, the agreement strikes a balance between harnessing AI's potential for efficiency and creativity while respecting writers' autonomy.
  5. Future AI Challenges: The provision that allows writers to challenge the use of AI in the future implies that the role of AI in content creation remains an evolving and debatable issue.
  6. Impact on Industry Standards: This deal sets industry standards for how AI and streaming are integrated into content creation and distribution. This is particularly relevant to the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, which remains on strike and recently authorized a strike against the video game industry.

These provisions reflect the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry, providing writers with greater control over their work and more transparency in the age of streaming and artificial intelligence. 🎭📜📺

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  • Cash Management: Enterprise-grade banking where you can streamline your finances and manage multiple entities from one platform. With Rho’s sophisticated treasury management, put your idle cash to work and keep your cash secure with FDIC-insurance up to $75 million.
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🤝 Venture Deals

LA Startups

  • Crediverso, the Spanish and English language consumer technology company dedicated to providing financial and educational resources to underserved communities, raised a $3.5M Seed Round led by Torch Capital and Gaingels, joined by Bessemer Venture Partners and Act One Ventures. - learn more
  • Arc, the electric boat startup, raised a $70M Series B from a slew of investors, including Eclipse, Andreessen Horowitz, Lowercarbon Capital, Abstract Ventures and Menlo Ventures.- learn more
  • Sensible Weather, a climate finance platform raised an undisclosed amount from Amex Ventures, Wonder Ventures, Infinity Ventures and Industry Ventures. - learn more

LA Funds

  • Tech Coast Angels participated in a Seed Round of an undisclosed amount for Giftpack, an AI-powered corporate gifting platform. - learn more
  • M13 participated in a $10M Funding Round for Allocate, a platform that provides investors with a streamlined way to invest and manage private investments. - learn more
  • Griffin Gaming Partners and Courtside Ventures led a $22M Funding Round for Eloelo, an Indian gaming and livestreaming platform. - learn more

📅 LA Tech Calendar

Monday, October 2nd

Tuesday, October 3rd

Wednesday, October 4th

  • The MedTech Conference Kick-Off Mixer - Engage with industry pioneers, discover cutting-edge technologies, forge valuable connections with LA MedTech leaders, LA investment leaders, LA academic leaders and more in Culver City Wednesday night.

Friday, October 6th

🗽 - Free

🌍 Around The Internet

USC Students and Alumni Blend Tech and Wine for Humanitarian Impact with Raise a Glass

Founded by USC students and alumni, Raise A Glass is creating wine with a purpose. They bring innovative storytelling technology to raise awareness for the invisible heroes of global crises. Their mission starts in Ukraine addressing the fact that Americans have become increasingly desensitized to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They pair tales of Ukrainian civilian heroism with wine bottles, curating content from conflict-embedded artists to provide a platform for these stories to reach thousands of consumers. Through QR codes or augmented reality on labels, consumers access these impactful narratives, with proceeds aiding Ukrainians in escaping conflict zones.

Ukraine serves as just the outset, as they plan to employ their storytelling technology to shed light on global crises, amplifying the voices of these unsung heroes.

📙 What We’re Reading

  • Universal Hydrogen kicks off flight test campaign for Its hydrogen regional aircraft at the Mojave Air & Space Port. - read more
  • Waymo begins testing the waters for a robotaxi service in Los Angeles. - read more
  • Social networking club Groundfloor aims to connect professionals at first L.A. location - read more