When Alto closed its $2.8 million seed round in early 2019, the team was on a mission to make alternative investment opportunities accessible to more people.
Since then, they’ve gained the attention of traditional investing companies and new investing platforms alike.
The Nashville-based team raised a $17 million Series A funding round this week, led by Menlo Park-based Unusual Ventures.
Existing investors Moment Ventures, Acrew Capital, and Alpha Edison also joined the round. Coinbase Ventures, the investing arm of the crypto platform that just IPO’d, also joined the round.
Sarah Leary, co-founder of neighborhood app Nextdoor and partner of Unusual Ventures, will join Alto’s board as part of the raise. Leary sees Alto’s platform as a way to democratize the investing space. “As the investment community expands its focus to include alternative assets like cryptocurrencies, private equity, private credit, and real estate, we think individual investors should not be left behind,” she said in a statement.
Alto customers run what they call a ‘self-directed IRA,’ where dollars put in a traditional retirement account can instead be invested in alternative assets at the customer’s discretion.
This could bring big investment opportunities for non-accredited investors who put money into a traditional, Roth, SEP IRA.
Investment partners include AngelList, MasterWork, Diversity Fund, and many other platforms that provide investment opportunities in startups, art, real estate, and other high-growth areas.
The platform looks to unlock investment opportunities for the nearly $33 trillion held in US retirement accounts.
Alto’s CryptoIRA allows users to use their IRA savings to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency on Coinbase.
The Series A news comes as more people look to diversify their investments or jump into the cryptocurrency market. It also continues FinTech’s growth in the space.
Eric Satz, founder and CEO of Alto, says the platform is all about creating an easy user experience in a traditionally messy industry. “There’s a lot of friction and unnecessary costs in the self-directed retirement industry, and Alto is on a mission to eliminate them. This funding round will rapidly accelerate the implementation of our vision and product roadmap,” he said.