woman looking thoughtful
Karla Mora, Alante founder and managing partner

Name: Alante Capital

Location: Santa Barbara, Calif

Web site: https://www.alantecapital.com/

Size: Raising its first $10M fund

What it is: Alante invests in the technologies and tools to enable a sustainable future for apparel. It invests when its models predict market-rate returns, which come from technologies that replace incumbents. The firm is closing a $10 million fund by next week, which it says is likely to be slightly oversubscribed. Investors include Eileen Fisher, founder of the eponymous brand. Fisher, who recently announced she is stepping down as CEO, has become an advocate and supporter of other companies in the sustainable fashion space. Lisa Bougie, former CMO of StitchFix, and Arizona Muse, supermodel and activist.

Alante will launch a larger fund early in 2023, the partners said.

Investment minimums: $100,000 for individuals, down from $250,000; and $500,000 for institutions

Leadership: Founder Karla Mora, who is also a managing partner, worked in international development – specifically supply chains — in Afghanistan, and in impact investing. Managing Partner Leslie Harwell is a veteran of development finance and investment banking.

blonde woman standing
Leslie Harwell, managing partner

Investment style/track record: It’s investing before the A rounds, with amounts ranging from $150,000 up to $2.5 million. The partners spent years researching the market before opening a fund, expertise they say gives them leverage to be able to co-invest in important deals. Alante has seven companies in the portfolio so far. Examples include Mango Materials, which makes a biopolymer made from waste methane gas, and Flyp, a platform for online clothing consignment. It will likely make about six more investments, the partners said.

Like many small venture funds, Alante is forming alliances with large companies that can help its portfolio of startups as potential businesses partners, clients or investors. Part of its value proposition for entrepreneurs is that it can connect them with those big corporations, like Levi’s.

Quote: There are startups addressing these problems. One of the main reasons capital wasn’t getting to those startups – there weren’t VC funds out there who understood the industry.

We didn’t just start a VC fund to be operators,” “We’ve committed our time and energy, without salary for many of the early years. We want to help prove that it’s possible.”

This story was clarified to reflect the breadth of Alante’s investment style.

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.