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Jefferson River Capital leads $5.4M Alto seed round to put alts in IRAs

Friday, August 30, 2019
Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Jefferson River Capital, the family office of Tony James and Moment Ventures, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm have led a $5.4 million seed round into Alto. Additional seed round investors included Foundation Capital, Sequoia's Scout Fund, and Amplify.LA.

Alto is a technology platform that makes it easier for investors to add alternatives to IRAs. Investors can use Alto to include venture capital, crowdfunding and real estate in their retirement portfolios.

The company also offers an alternative IRA that already includes the option for alternative investments. In addition to direct company investments, Alto makes it possible to invest on platforms like AngelList.

According to the Investment Company Institute (ICI), Americans have more than $28 trillion of assets in retirement accounts, including $9 trillion in IRAs. And, while Americans have always been allowed to invest in alternative assets with an IRA, only about one percent of IRA assets are invested that way due to the complexities in the paperwork and processes in setting them up and executing transactions.

In a statement, Jefferson River Capital said they were familiar with the platform and wanted to invest in an effort to diversify the menu of options available in IRA plans.

"The existing 401(k) and IRA system requires Administrators to offer predominantly short-term, liquid investments, a structural bias that leads to subpar returns in comparison to pension funds and endowments invested in longer-term, less liquid alternatives," said David Wittels, President of Jefferson River Capital.

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