One venture capital firm is putting all of its cards—and $100M—on the middle of the country

April 28, 2023

Atento Capital is unusual by any measure.

The firm, affiliated with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, is based out of Tulsa, Okla., and it’s one of only a handful of venture capital funds focused on investing in companies outside the coasts in the middle of the country. That is, the early-stage startups that aren’tin San Francisco, New York City, or, as of recently, Miami.

But Atento looks different than other venture firms, too. Three of Atento’s five senior investors are women and people of color, as well as a majority of the rest of the firm. A core tenet of Atento is to be what venture capital often isn’t: inclusive. For the firm, that means open-door (and open-bar) DJ parties the first Friday of every month. It's striving to meet with founders in pairs—so investors can check one another to guarantee they are leaving behind the VC-jargon during pitch meetings. It means investing in emerging general partners like Forum Ventures or Visible Hands. It means investing in founders who have been overlooked for some reason or another—whether because of where they live, what they look like, or the problems they are trying to solve....

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