This week’s Member Monday features Alumni Ventures. Alumni Ventures offers accredited individuals access to smart, simple venture capital — a key asset class missing from the portfolios of many sophisticated investors. Since launching its first venture fund in 2014, AV has raised more than $900 million across two dozen Alumni and Focused Funds, serving a growing network of 7,500 investors and 600,000 community members and subscribers. AV evaluates hundreds of opportunities every year and has invested in over 900 unique portfolio companies. AV funds are private, for-profit, and not affiliated with or sanctioned by any school.
Why was NH chosen as the home of your company/branch? What do you love about New Hampshire?
Founder and CEO Mike Collins has long-standing connections to New Hampshire. He first came to the state to attend Dartmouth College, where he graduated with a degree in Engineering — and a passion for business that he acquired thanks to his exposure during college. From there, he went on to work for venture firm TA Associates in Boston, then pursued his MBA at Harvard.
Later, when Mike began his career as a serial entrepreneur, he returned to the state. For him, New Hampshire offered the ideal elements for nurturing startups and his family: connections to capital, an educated talent pool, and good quality of life. Today, Mike heads a firm that now has 175+ total employees working out of 6 offices in key venture hubs. However, New Hampshire remains home, with corporate headquarters located at 670 N. Commercial Street in Manchester, NH on the top floor of the historic Jefferson Mill.
For Mike, the location symbolizes the long, powerful history of innovation. The mills were opened in the early 1800s as the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, which at its peak was the largest textile factory in the world. More recently, the mills have been reborn as a business hub for the city — an appropriate base for a disruptive venture firm.
What are some recent accomplishments or milestones of your company?
In 2021, PitchBook ranked AV as the third most active VC firm in the world and was named as one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2022. In addition, we anticipate reaching two milestones early in Q2: investing in over 1,000 companies since our beginning and raising over $1 billion from individual accredited investors. To give those two facts some context, AV participated in 351 deals last year — essentially a deal a day. And as for the total raised, we also regard that as remarkable given that our minimums for some of our funds are as low as $25k — unlike conventional VC funds that require capital commitments of millions from their LPs.
What new and exciting things do you have planned? Or tell us a fun fact about the company?
By its DNA and mission, Alumni Ventures is an innovative company, so there’s always something new and exciting in the works. One initiative is really stepping up our seed investing resources. Since AV invests across all stages, sectors, and regions, plugging into the deal funnel early in the life cycle is vital to securing a spot in potential winners. Another example of an exciting development: We have just doubled down on two of our largest funds: Blockchain and The Yard Ventures (for Harvard alumni and supporters community). We’ll now offer two vintages of those funds every year. That’s an amazing development, given that we started AV by offering a fresh fund vintage every other year. There is much more in the “AV Lab,” as we call it. It’s really the challenge and excitement of creation that helps us attract such great employees in a state where there are plenty of opportunities for smart professionals.