Alumni Spotlight Business & Economy Georgia Impact

Carlos Alcala, David Fershteyn, and Mitch Reiner: Firm Leadership

Carlos Alcala, David Fershteyn, and Mitch Reiner (from left to right) all play key roles with Altera Investments, this year's top business in the Bulldog 100. The firm, which focuses on the lower middle market, holds nearly half a billion dollars in investor commitments. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Altera Investments recently placed first in the University of Georgia’s Bulldog 100, a ranking of fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. David Fershteyn BBA ’17 is co-founder and CEO, Carlos Alcala BBA ’17 is CFO, and Mitch Reiner BBA ’05 is a co-founder and board member.

Fershteyn and Alcala met during their sophomore year at UGA. Fershteyn first connected with Reiner his junior year of college through UGA’s Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), a club that teaches students to invest and manage a $3 million portfolio for the UGA Foundation. At the time, Reiner served as chairman of the board of SMIF.

After graduating, Fershteyn and Alcala went to opposite ends of the country. Alcala took a job at Goldman Sachs in New York, and Fershteyn went to work for Barclays in Silicon Valley. Reiner was leading Capital Investment Advisors, a large wealth management firm in Atlanta.

When Fershteyn decided to return to Atlanta, he knew he wanted to start an investment firm that focused on the lower middle market—a thesis that he had been interested in since college when he worked with a local investment bank helping private equity executives buy small businesses. Fershteyn met with Reiner, who at the time was looking for a private investment solution for his clients.

“Mitch very quickly realized the merits of the lower middle market investment thesis and stepped up as Altera’s first investor,” says Fershteyn. “The investors and capital that Mitch brought to Altera’s investment strategies was foundational to the business.”

Shortly after, Fershteyn began expanding his team and called his long-time friend Carlos Alcala to join the firm.

“I’d been wanting to do something more entrepreneurial,” says Alcala. “When David called, it seemed like a great opportunity.”

Altera’s success has come from investing in the lower middle market, which includes companies that have between $15 and $100 million in annual revenue. The company focuses on three asset classes: private equity, real estate, and private credit.

“We’re generally investing in smaller assets that are often overlooked by large, institutional investors,” says Fershteyn. “There are a lot of opportunities to invest in really interesting strategies in this part of the market.”

The idea was to bring those types of investment opportunities to investors who wanted exposure to the lower middle market, Fershteyn explains. Altera typically works with investors who are looking to allocate a meaningful portion of their net worth into alternative investments.

Altera’s investment team conducts extensive research to find compelling opportunities in the private markets.

“Hundreds of ultra-high-net worth individuals and family offices have invested in Altera’s flagship strategies and thematic investments,” says Fershteyn. “These investors work with us because we underwrite hundreds of opportunities across private equity, real estate, and private credit every year and select what we believe will produce the highest risk-adjusted returns.”

Fershteyn and Alcala have now grown Altera to nearly half a billion dollars in investor commitments by staying focused on the lower middle market thesis. Reiner adds, “It has been great to see the success David, Carlos, and the rest of the Altera team have had in building Altera.”

Fershteyn attributes Altera’s rapid growth to having strong investor relationships, great investment ideas, and a talented team.