In 2015, we launched a four-month accelerator program called Make in LA to identify and support high-potential companies at the intersection of technology and manufacturing/supply chain.
We recognized that founders in this space were hungry for mentorship and industry-specific resources to grow beyond prototype stage, and we were fortunate to gather an incredible community of experts to meet those needs. We also created an independent entity Toolbox LA to provide a physical space for the Los Angeles hardware technology community to meet and exchange ideas.
In four years, we ran five accelerator cohorts and invested in 19 companies who have gone on to raise capital from venture, strategic and impact firms such as Fika, Lightspeed Ventures, Felicis, Backstage, Schneider Electric, and Finca. We are particularly proud of the fact that more than 50% of companies have a female founder, one third were led by female CEO, and nearly two thirds had a founder who immigrated to the US.
In 2019, we realized that it was time to evolve the Make in LA accelerator to better meet the needs of the founders we were committed to supporting. Increasingly, we are interacting with founders that have a stronger business foundation relative to what we have evaluated in the past. We feel confident that alternative models can be more effective at building venture scalable businesses. Therefore, we are pleased to introduce MiLA Capital, an investment fund providing turbocharged investments and dedicated to supporting local and global founders as they scale businesses creating “tech you can touch.” We’re delivering our decades of experience in hyperscale, hardware, manufacturing, and finance directly to our portfolio companies through technical and strategy sprints, targeted introductions to potential clients and investors, and frequent check-ins. Our roots as an accelerator will shine through in our investment strategy, as we will always remain focused on hand-in-hand operational partnerships with our founders.
MiLA Capital invests specifically in “tech you can touch” companies in agriculture and food tech, health and wellness, mobility and aerospace, automation, and clean tech. We write $100k to $1M checks in pre-seed and seed rounds. We actively seek to build a diverse portfolio, and currently work with 50% female founders and over 60% immigrant founders.
We are tremendously excited about our next chapter, and appreciate our mentor networks and community’s support as we evolve our platform to better support founders. We will continue to host Retooling Fridays and partner with Toolbox LA to maintain a thriving hardware technology ecosystem in Los Angeles.