Case Study

Alumni Ventures empowers individual investors to win in venture capital

57

Relationship Established

57

meaningful statistic

Subscribe to keep up with the latest at Alto

About Alumni Ventures
dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Industry
Venture Capital

Opportunity
We believe the data in this study presents a clear case study of the value of portfolio diversification.

For decades, venture capital has become synonymous with wealth and opportunity, mainly due to billion-dollar valuations and leading firms centered around Silicon Valley. At the same time, professional-grade venture investing was notably inaccessible to individuals. 

Fortunately, one venture firm allows any accredited investor to cut checks for high-quality VC deals — without breaking the bank. Meet Alumni Ventures

It’s no secret that venture capital has become unprecedentedly competitive since 2020, while the VC ecosystem has seen a reset since 2022, including a slower IPO market and renewed valuations. Yet, according to Luke Antal, Co-Founder, Chief Community Officer & Director of Strategic Initiatives at Alumni Ventures, this could be the ideal time to get into the venture game: In past cycles, these signals predated excellent investment opportunities to come. 

By venture investing through AV today, investors gain exposure to modern, promising startups and can expect to see returns for years to come. 

 

 

First time investing in venture capital? Here’s what you need to know about this asset class.

the challenge

Alumni Ventures connects 9,000+ accredited investors to professional-grade VC portfolios

Founded in 2014, Alumni Ventures is America’s largest venture capital firm that offers professional-grade VC portfolios to individual investors. With 50–75 new investments each quarter, Pitchbook named AV the most active venture firm in the US and third most active on Earth in 2022. 

 

How do they make it happen? In under a decade, the AV team has expanded from their HQ in Manchester, New Hampshire, to: 

 

  • 6 national offices, from Chicago to Austin to San Francisco
  • 150+ full-time employees, including 50 full-time venture investors
  • Hundreds of years of combined experience in venture deal sourcing

 

Ultimately, every deal conducted by Alumni Ventures strives to deliver two value-adds:

Providing high-ROI, diversified venture portfolios to accredited investors

Investors can participate in AV’s high-quality portfolios of 25–30 companies for as little as $10,000. To date, more than 9,000 individuals entrust AV with their venture investing — totaling over $1 billion in capital raised. 

 

Elevating the startup ecosystem as the world’s co-investor of choice

AV’s suite of CEO Services provides portfolio companies with exclusive access to the firm’s network of 650,000+ community members and 6,000+ startup experts. By linking startups to new connections, capital, and customers, Alumni Ventures can attract founders on the rise in their respective industries. 

“By developing this enormous network and gathering really deep data on our community members, our CEO Services function stands out in the venture industry as delivering outsized value to founders in our portfolio.”

Luke Antal, Co-Founder, CCO, & Director of Strategic Initiatives

EYEbrow text if content needs it

3 reasons people invest in venture capital as an alternative asset

While venture capital has long been associated with established firms, here are three potential benefits of adding VC to your personal portfolio today: 

  1. Higher returns — Venture capital has outperformed PMEs (most notably the S&P 500) over the last 25 years. These long-term horizons and prospects suggest VC is compatible with the average retirement fund. 

  2. Better portfolio diversification & risk mitigation — Much like farmland, venture capital as an asset class is largely uncorrelated to the public markets, making it a prime opportunity to diversify and anchor a retirement portfolio. 

  3. More value in private markets than ever before — At a macro level, we see half as many public equities as there were 20 years ago. Meanwhile, cash and growth opportunities have increasingly moved to the private side — and the largest endowments and institutions have already grown allocations respectively. 

“There is a tremendous amount of value being created on the private side. The private markets are playing an increasingly important role in value creation.”

The Alumni Ventures ethos: democratizing access to the perks of venture capital

Despite the varied benefits of venture capital, as recently as 2015, only 3% of Americans could legally invest in startups. 

Why? In short, most venture investors have historically been institutions, endowments, or pension funds writing checks for dozens of millions of dollars. This made it challenging for individuals (whether accredited, non-accredited, or investing via local angel groups) to build professional venture portfolios at a comparable scale or scope. 

That is — until the emergence of firms like Alumni Ventures. 

In 2014, the AV team began democratizing access to the benefits of VC by inviting accredited investors across America to participate in large, diversified venture portfolios. Today, every single one of Alumni Ventures’ 9,000+ clients is an individual investor.

“From the very beginning, Alumni Ventures was conceived to be a disruptive presence in the venture community and bring professional-grade venture portfolios to the market of 15 million accredited investors in the US alone, who have no other way to access this traditionally exclusive industry.”

Luke Antal, Co-Founder, CCO, & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Results

3 ways Alumni Ventures empowers individual investors in the VC space

As venture capital grows increasingly accessible to individuals, Alumni Ventures stands out as an entry point to venture investing in three ways: 

  1. Alumni Ventures leverages its community of 650,000+ to source high-quality, highly competitive deal flow

At its foundation, Alumni Ventures is a network-powered VC firm. AV’s community of 650,000+ professionals is leveraged to source highly competitive, high-quality, and high-ROI deal flow. For instance: 

  • Funds by AV regularly outperform public market equivalents. 
  • Of AV’s 1,600+ unique investments, 450+ (and counting) have already seen an up round or exit
  • AV ranks in the top quartile of all venture firms in key benchmarks like DPI (Distributed to Paid-In Capital, which measures the total capital a fund has returned to investors). 

How do they ensure this quality of deal flow? It comes down to unmatched due diligence. 

Like most established VCs, the Alumni Ventures team relies on four core criteria: the founding team’s skill, early traction, market promise, and a differentiator (i.e., rare IP or an economic moat). On top of this, every deal in AV’s funnel is rigorously vetted and evaluated by the sponsoring AV fund, a specific Investment Committee, and the firm-wide AV Investment Committee to gauge the quality and potential return of the investment. 

“We have an unbelievable proprietary network of over 650,000 people who opt in to join our community. Most are graduates of top universities and extremely successful in their fields. That’s another part of our special sauce that differentiates us from typical venture firms.”

Luke Antal, Co-Founder, CCO, & Director of Strategic Initiatives

  1. Alumni Ventures mitigates risk through large, diversified portfolios 

 

Alumni Ventures currently comprises 24 diversified fund families (including 18 alumni-based funds) with 25–30 companies per fund, which are intentionally diversified across three vectors: 

 

  1. Geography — AV operates out of six offices in Silicon Valley, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Austin, and Manchester, New Hampshire.

  2. Sector — The AV team takes a balanced approach to investing in more active sectors. For instance, in 2023, investments in innovation centered generative AI and ML, climate technologies, synthetic biology, and cybersecurity.

  3. Stage — One-third of every portfolio is allotted for growth-stage startups, which typically produce more predictable, steady returns. Meanwhile, two-thirds of each portfolio funds seed-stage and Series A startups, which are high-velocity and historically hold the greatest potential for outsized returns. 

 

The best part? Alumni Ventures makes it relatively simple to access these diverse portfolios. By investing one check, accredited investors can benefit from AV’s intensive due diligence, expert-led portfolio building, and (ultimately) ROI — with little-to-none of the lift. 

 

AV’s routine diversification also enables individual investors to anchor their portfolios. After all, venture capital is largely uncorrelated to the public markets, while larger portfolios within the asset class can reduce risk of loss due to the power law in VC. 

“You get a diversified portfolio of 25–30 companies, all with their own unique trajectories and potential to generate impressive returns. You gain exposure to all of the most innovative categories of venture — and we help you do it seamlessly. One check gives you that portfolio. Over time, you get many more checks back into your Alto IRA.”

Laura Rippy, Managing Partner at Green D Ventures (Alumni Ventures)

  1. Alumni Ventures only co-invests alongside other established, leading firms 

Alumni Ventures exclusively co-invests with VCs who lead rounds and negotiate terms with proven sector and/or stage expertise. 

More specifically, AV’s 20+ full-time investment teams look beyond buzzworthy brand names to evaluate the long-term potential of the lead investor. After all, the lead ultimately signs the term sheet, attaches themselves to the company for years to come, and influences its success (and thus, the returns for AV clients). 

Here’s an example of this ethos in action: 

  1. AV vetted a co-investment in Sesame, a marketplace for pay-per-visit medical appointments with a promising team and immense market potential: Roughly 10 million American families dedicate 5% or more of annual household income to medical bills. 

  2. They discovered the round would be led by Joel Cutler, Co-Founder and Managing Director of General Catalyst. Cutler is a two-time Midas VC and an early investor in Airbnb and Kayak — two game-changing marketplaces. 

  3. Cutler’s sign-off on Sesame — another potentially game-changing marketplace venture — gave AV the confidence to move forward. 

The results? Sesame most recently raised a Series B round of $27 million led by Google Ventures, with ongoing participation from AV, General Catalyst, Coefficient Capital, and more. Any individuals who invested through Alumni Ventures also get to ride the wave and reap the returns of Sesame’s ongoing success.

“Alumni Ventures finds founders who swing for the fences. They’re not just building a business — they work on game-changing, market-changing, world-changing ideas. And we give them the early capital to get going. I get chills every day when I go to work with them.”

Laura Rippy, Managing Partner at Green D Ventures (Alumni Ventures)

As VC is more competitive than ever, Alumni Ventures can be a flywheel for ongoing returns

From its mission to democratize VC to its highly competitive deal flow, the three differentiators detailed above help Alumni Ventures stand out as one of the best options for accredited investors saving for retirement. 

 

The most impressive part? Every aspect of the AV process works together in a flywheel effect for those involved: 

 

  1. Thanks to AV’s CEO Services and network-powered deal flow, the firm can source and attract high-quality investments while bringing a unique value-add to portfolio companies.

  2. High-quality portfolios generally lead to greater returns, which lead to happy investors. After seeing the ROI on AV in action, many investors are inspired to write additional checks.

  3. Satisfied accredited investors recommend AV to their circles — once again growing the Alumni Ventures network, simplifying fundraising, and jumpstarting the flywheel all over again. 



As accessing high-quality, high-return deal flow is more competitive than ever for VCs, investing via the Alumni Ventures flywheel is an opportunity to benefit from a stable, ongoing cycle of network-powered growth and returns. 

“Especially over the last three years, the VC world has become enormously competitive. You need an edge to get into these competitive deals. That’s why we have this incredibly powerful, network-driven flywheel that just keeps growing and growing on top of itself.”

Luke Antal, Co-Founder, CCO, & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Ready to add venture capital to your portfolio? Invest with Alumni Ventures through Alto.

*Alto does not represent, warrant, or otherwise guarantee the success of an offering on its platform. Issuers are solely responsible for engaging investors and raising capital for offerings uploaded to the Alto platform. Alto will not recommend or otherwise market an offering to its clients.