Monika Mantilla is the co-founder of Altura Capital, an investment firm dedicated to transforming societies through entrepreneurial success. Altura specializes in the small and lower-middle markets with an emphasis on investments in low- and moderate-income (LMI) businesses, and those with diverse ownership.
Monika has dedicated the last 25 years of her life to her passion: pursuing societal transformation through entrepreneurial success by providing capital and expanding opportunity for promising entrepreneurs.
She is actively involved in public policy dialogues and action-oriented impact initiatives with Government, Corporations, Foundations and Institutional Investors and is a trusted advisor to many CEOs, corporations and government agencies, through which she lives her deep belief in the power of collaboration to build stronger communities and companies.
Monika’s career began practicing law after earning her J.D. from the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia. She then moved into managerial roles for a company in Colombia before moving to the United States where she began developing a deep interest in finance. This led her to attaining her MBA from Columbia Business School. After working at an investment-management consulting firm for some time and becoming partner with the firm, she decided to found Altura Capital with her husband in 2005.
“I launched Altura Capital because I have a passion for helping underserved communities, particularly as it relates to the important businesses in those ecosystems. I love listening to business owners’ stories and helping them solve their biggest challenges as a partner, an advisor and a friend,” says Monika.
Diverse entrepreneurs are her favorite entrepreneurs, she tells Latinas in Business, and it is her responsibility to bridge the gap that exists in serving these communities across the US and Puerto Rico.
“Many people think that helping diverse owned businesses is helping micro businesses only. That certainly is an important part of the diverse community, but there are scalable and pioneering companies in different industries with great value add that historically have also been disconnected from Capital and Strategic resources,” she says.
“They create jobs, and they can be a significant engine of the US economy. Those are the ones we focus on and invest in. I wish more foundations and institutional investors focused on this segment and its incredible value to the economy.”
In recent years we have seen a push across all industries to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion. More and more companies are seeing the importance and value in supporting diverse businesses and increasing diversity in leadership, boardrooms, and teams.
“DEI advancement is at the forefront of every major organization in the world because diversity is a value, a principle, a source of transformational power, and it’s a growing power in the US,” says Monika.
“Organizations that want to meet their customers’ needs cannot ignore the varying demographics of their target markets. I have been involved in several organizations, like NAA, because institutions move markets, public policies and investment policies. They are a force for good, and we need to support our institutions and help them to become lasting through endowments and the right leadership.”
Watch Monika speak about access to capital for small businesses below!
Currently, Monika sits on the board of directors for companies including Cidrines, Coastal Painting, 9th Wonder, and is a board observer at Lippe Taylor. She also serves on the board of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), where she teaches a capital seminar; the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and the USHCC Foundation, which she chairs; and serves as a Capital Advisor to the Billion Dollar Roundtable. She is a fellow member of the Aspen Latinos in Society program and the author of a chapter in the book Advancing U.S. Latino Entrepreneurship.
Monika and the firms she leads have won numerous awards for their work building financial capacity and strong, scalable businesses in minority and underserved communities. In multiple years, Latino Leaders Magazine recognized her as one of the 101 Most Influential Leaders in Hispanic U.S.A. and one of the Top 15 Latinos in Finance. In 2010 she became the first Latina to ever receive the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Business, the highest honor for Latinos by Latinos.
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