Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send non-sensitive tips on L.A. deals to email@example.com. Pronouns: they/them.
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Fifth Wall, the fast-growing real estate tech venture firm, revealed this week that it has scored at least $116.8 million for its Early-Stage Climate Technology Fund, according to an amended SEC filing. That figure is up from $79.5 million in May 2021, when the firm last disclosed its fundraising efforts for the climate investment vehicle.
In December, Fifth Wall announced it had brought in prolific clean-tech investor Greg Smithies to head its efforts to "decarbonize the built world." That's when the firm went public about its plan to raise at least $200 million to invest in climate tech.
At the time, co-founder Brendan Wallace predicted that the real estate industry would one day become "the biggest spender on climate tech for no other reason than its contribution to the carbon problem."
Fifth Wall declined to comment publicly on the fund when reached for comment by dot.LA.
With backing from Montreal-based Ivanhoé Cambridge, which holds tens of billions of dollars in real-estate assets, Fifth Wall's climate fund led a $16 million investment in Sealed earlier this year alongside actor Robert Downey Jr's climate fund.
The New York-based startup is on "a quest to retrofit the U.S.' existing residential building stock and help them run more efficiently," Smithies wrote in June. Part of that equation involves getting homeowners aboard the heat pump train.
The technology could help American households considerably slash carbon emissions by 142 million metric tons annually, according to research released by Carbon Switch.Sealed is one of at least three startups backed by Smithies in recent months, per the investor's LinkedIn. Others include Austin-based 3D-printed buildings startup Icon, which announced a $207 million late-August raise, and Emeryville-based pea milk company Ripple Foods. It disclosed a more than $57 million raise around the same time.
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Whatnot, an app for buying, selling and livestreaming collectables such as rare Pokémon cards pulled in $150 million from top Silicon Valley venture firms and fetched a $1.5 billion valuation.
Less than two years old, the company founded by a former product manager at sneaker reseller GOAT Logan Head and Google alumni Grant Fontaine has become a darling among venture investors, last year reportedly sparking a bidding war.
Both firms participated in the new Series B round. Alphabet's late-stage fund CapitalG also participated, joining earlier angel investors including Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala and the novelty boxer slash infamous YouTuber Logan Paul.
Whatnot got its start with geeky collectables like Funko Pops, but the company said in an announcement that the new cash will help it "drive growth" in "categories like vintage fashion and sneakers." That puts the startup firmly in competition with GOAT, the high-flying Los Angeles-based sneaker shop recently valued at $3.7 billion.
Based out of Los Angeles' Marina Arts District, Whatnot is one of the many startups betting on the live-shopping trend.
Like a modern-day spin on QVC, other companies in the space include Popshop Live, which collaborated with Los Angeles boutiques when the pandemic shuttered physical storefronts.
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Secretive games studio Elodie stepped out of the shadows in early 2020 to knock down the barriers that stand in the way of gaming with friends across platforms. The Venice-based developer announced Thursday a $32.5 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz and Galaxy Interactive, while teasing scarce details about its first game.
Founded by Riot Games veterans Christina Norman and David Banks, the startup's upcoming title will be a co-op action RPG with cross-platform play. "We've been hard at work on our first game," said Banks in a blog post on the raise. "We aren't quite ready to share any details about it yet other than it's in pre-alpha and getting a seat in our daily playtests is always a race," he added.
Major gaming platforms and studios have worked to bridge the gaps that exist between their ecosystems in recent years, however these integrations are often complex and incomplete. Elodie says its games won't suffer that fate because they'll be "purpose-built for cross-play, empowering gamers everywhere to play with their friends across any platform, without ever compromising the player experience."
Brian Cho — another Riot veteran — and Chris Ovitz of Electric Ant, an L.A.-based fund, also participated in Elodie's latest funding round. Andreessen partner Jonathan Lai, a former Riot project manager, joined Elodie's board as part of the deal.
Both Banks and Norman previously worked on League of Legends, Riot's multiplayer battle arena game that was inspired in part by a mod of an earlier Warcraft title. The co-founders now lead a team of 30 and say they'll use the new funds to "sustainably accelerate development within a healthy and inclusive work environment," a nod to the many reports of widespread sexism and "bro culture" inside Riot.
Asked how Elodie intends to establish an in-house culture of inclusivity, Banks said the company is committed to doing so but offered few specifics.
"Simply put, we believe [inclusivity] is fundamental to building a modern studio that produces amazing games. This is certainly easier said than done, and we acknowledge there is no silver bullet solution," Banks said, while pointing to the startup's "thoughtful hiring practices."
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