Alto Solutions raises $17m in latest Series A funding round
Alto Solutions, the next-gener ation self-directed IRA platform, has raised $15m in funding following its Series A round.
The Nashville-based fintech which provides simple solutions to individuals seeking alternative investment and access to their retirement fund assets, will use the new capital to improve and develop new products as well as enhancing its capabilities and grow its engineering teams.
The Series A round was led by Unusual Ventures, with additional participation from existing investors Moment Ventures, Acrew Capital, and Alpha Edison, and strategic investments from Carta, Coinbase Ventures, Franklin Templeton, New York Life Ventures, and Stone Ridge Holdings Group.
Alto first launched its next-generation self-directed IRA platform in 2018. The first of its kind, the platform streamlines the process for investors, investment funding portals, and investment sponsors alike. Among Alto’s current investment partners include AngelList, Coinbase, EquityZen, Masterworks, Republic, and Wefunder, as well as financial advisors, fund sponsors, and other direct issuers.
Also Solutions IRA platform
According to a recent report by the Investment Company Institute, as of 2020, approximately $33trn was held in retirement accounts in the US alone. Yet, individuals have only allocated an estimated 2% to 5% of that to alternative investment avenues. Meanwhile, ultra-high-net-worth individuals and sophisticated institutional investors like college endowments often hold 20% to 50% or more of their portfolio in alternatives.
Speaking about the recent investment drive Eric Satz, founder and CEO of Alto Solutions, explained, “Opening a self-directed IRA to invest in alternative assets like startups, real estate, or cryptocurrency should be easy. I founded Alto after spending weeks of frustration trying to navigate the outdated manual processes used by legacy self-directed IRA custodians, not to mention their endless fee menus.”
He said of the startup, which was founded in 2016, “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.”
Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor and partner of Unusual Ventures, who will join Alto’s board of directors, said, “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. Alto's self-directed IRA platform has been built from the ground up to provide individuals a seamless, tax-efficient way to invest in alternative assets using their retirement savings.”
The idea is that Alto’s platform provides a diverse portfolio of investments for individuals interested in public and private investments which includes alternative assets. An estimated 70% of all US savings are held in retirement accounts, while only up to 5% is channelled into alternatives.
Ammar Hanafi, General Partner of Moment Ventures added, "Alto provides an easy way for individua ls to diversify their portfolios, using their retirement funds in a way that up until now has only been available to the wealthiest in this country.”
Five minutes with Helene Panzarino, Associate Director, LIBF
Name: Helene Panzarino
Role: Associate Director for Digital Banking and Finance
Company: The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF)
We all know the companies, but what about the people behind them? Here, we find out more about Panzarino’s background, why she’s an advocate for entrepreneurs, and her take on US community bank heroism.
Who was your childhood hero, and why?
My dad. It may seem a bit of a cliche, but for someone who left school aged nine, he instilled in me the value of education and self-belief. He also had enormous pride and confidence in me and my abilities. He was my biggest supporter and a wonderfully innocent and kind person who helped shape the person I am today.
What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘Mentors are great, but advocates are better.’ I discovered that it's much harder for entrepreneurs to find true advocates, so this is something I try to do for other people.
Which activity are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over?
I can't wait to go to Terroni Brothers in Clerkenwell, London, for some authentic Italian pastries and an espresso that I haven't had to make myself! I wrote most of my books in cafes, and I find a change of scenery also helps me think outside of the box on all my projects.
Is there a personal achievement from 2020 of which you are particularly proud?
I am most proud of having my second book, Reinventing Banking and Finance: Frameworks to Navigate Global Fintech Innovation, published by Kogan.
This book's schedule was very tight, and I was fortunate to have Alessandro Hatami, a good friend and industry peer, as co-author. We've received industry accolades, powerful endorsements, and many compliments on the clarity of thought and content, so it made it even more worthwhile.
What inspires you in fintech today?
I am hugely inspired by the way community banks in the US have become the unexpected heroes of the pandemic, getting money into accounts quickly but also being there for their customers as trusted partners.
Many community banks have been big enough to recognise that they could do more to support their customers, and it has been hugely inspiring to see them partner with the fintech community to drive operational and customer service improvement.
Want to share your story with our audience? Get in touch at [email protected] to be our next 'Five minutes with...' subject.