We Invest Across A Broad Spectrum of Markets And Technologies

... and then we blast those companies with resources!

IoT

Robotics

Wearables

Bits to Atoms

STEM

Drones

Battery Chemistries

Cleantech

Immersive Computing

Biotech

Frontier Tech

Mobility

Industry 3.0

Nanotech

Semiconductors

INVESTMENT THESIS

MiLA Capital is a high-touch Venture Capital firm based in Los Angeles, CA. The team believes that (1) hardware can be brought to market more frugally than in the past and that (2) Los Angeles has the expertise and best resources to support founders who play in the physical world.

SOURCING STRATEGY

Make in LA is our early-stage accelerator, and we built Toolbox LA as the epicenter of hardware entrepreneurship in California. MiLA Capital leverages resources across these and other organizations to build capital efficient startups and give our founders a competitive advantage.

PORTFOLIO STRATEGY

85% of our first fund is allocated to companies that go through our accelerator. The last 15% (approx 1 out of 7 investments) is reserved for founders whom we wished went through our program, made it to manufacturing, and plan to raise a Series A in the near future. In total, we have made 13 investments since 2015.

13

PORTFOLIO COMPANIES

38

COMPANIES WITH A FEMALE FOUNDER

43

COMPANIES RAISED FOLLOW-ON FUNDING

104

FTES HIRED

34

MILLIONS RAISED IN FOLLOW-ON FUNDING

1

HARDWARE ACCELERATOR IN HARDWARE PARADISE

The Team

Carmen Palafox

Partner

Carmen’s focus at Make in LA is coaching entrepreneurs in finance and investment, managing fund operations, and developing investor relationships. She was formerly VP at Dimensional Fund Advisors where she scaled operations into new markets, including Latin America, Canada, and Europe. Carmen also served as a consultant to startups in areas such as operations, fundraising, and growth strategy. Carmen has an MBA from Berkeley-Haas, an MA in sports management from USF, and a BA in economics from USC. She is a board member of CCEO YouthBuild, on the advisory board at Santa Monica City College’s Business Department, and a contributing writer for Latinas in Business.

Shaun Arora

Managing Partner

Shaun Arora fights for underdogs and believes that hardware startups can be built in a capital efficient manner. He is a cultural anthropologist, entrepreneur, operator, and startups investor and board member. In 2015 he spun off Make in LA from NEO Tech (a global contract manufacturer that he helped scale) to improve outcomes for hardware startups. At Make in LA, Shaun focuses on leveraging NEO Tech’s resources to support the startups, leveraging his portfolio for best practices, providing world-class programming, and building strategic partnerships for the benefit of the startups. He’s our devil’s advocate, challenging executive teams towards brilliant and uncomfortable thinking, and he can be bribed with spicy vegan food.

Noramay Cadena

General Partner

Noramay Cadena is an engineer and nonprofit leader turned vc. Prior to cofounding Make in LA, Cadena spent 10+ years in aerospace holding technical oversight and program management roles with profit and loss accountability over budgets of $20MM+. Cadena is also active in the community. She cofounded the Latinas in STEM Foundation and led the organization 2013-2015. She serves on the Housing Authority Commission of Los Angeles and is a founding board member for a K-8 charter school. Cadena holds an MBA, a Master’s in Engineering Systems and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering – all from MIT. She’s been a featured speaker in many platforms including TEDx – her talks cover technical achievement, leadership, and overcoming obstacles. Her recognitions include being named one of the top 26 women engineers to watch by Business Insider, one of the top 20 Latinos in Tech by CNET and she’s received national awards from the Society of Women Engineers and Great Minds in STEM.

B2B Portfolio

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Vector Space Systems

Vector is dedicated to serving the rapidly growing microsat market and will offer frequent orbit launch opportunities. The company is developing an end-to-end platform, including an SDK and API.

  • B2B
Sentio
Sentio

Sentio applies data science to cognitive behavior therapy to change the way we manage mental and emotional health. Their product features an app that coaches people suffering from stress, anxie, y and depression to achieve greater emotional well-being. The team also launched Feel, a continuous monitoring device for emotions.

  • B2B
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Rufus Labs

Rufus builds wearable technology for a superhuman workforce, creating a suite of enterprise tools that make workers more productive, more efficient and keeps them safer on the job. Proprietary hardware and software connect workers to automation, and to each other, creating the “connected operator” and a link between humans and robots.

  • B2B
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Force Impact Technology

Force Impact Technologies offers a full injury risk detection and analysis solution. The FITGuard successfully delivers indications of cranial force by use of the most accurate indication mechanisms on the market.

  • B2B
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Emerge

Emerge believes in connecting humanity by digitizing our most intuitive sense. In the world of immersive computing, mid-air touch can become the mouse and keyboard of the future; an interface that allows natural, intuitive interaction with digital content. We should feel truly connected when communicating with our loved ones, learning new subjects, and interacting with content.

  • B2B
DASH Systems

DASH performs precise air-to-ground deliveries of essential supplies to be delivered with very high precision to locations that are inaccessible to trucks or ships and where planes cannot land. 

  • B2B
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Amped Innovation

Amped Innovation designs solutions for extreme affordability. The team partners with social enterprises to design radically affordable products that address basic human needs. Almost one-quarter of the world’s population lives without electricity, and getting the price of electricity below that of kerosene is just the beginning.

  • B2B
Acquibit
Acqubit

Acqubit captures reality to enable augmented reality. The team develops handheld smart 3D LIDAR camera systems that captures and scans outdoor and indoor environments, and create photorealistic 3D models in real-time regardless of environmental conditions.

  • B2B

B2C Portfolio

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Thesis Couture

Thesis Couture is driven by the idea that the modern woman deserves to feel incredible during every part of her day, whether that involves walking into a board meeting or down a runway. Which is why we are dedicated to designing premier essentials that answer to the call of both form and function. The company brings aerospace talent to the fashion industry.

  • B2C
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Canviz

Canviz is building a wood-framed digital canvas for displaying art & photography as well as a platform for collecting, discovering and sharing great content.

  • B2C
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Plobot

Plobot is a robot learning companion for young learners to develop coding concepts without computer screens. Physical interactions with command cards represent concepts like algorithms, loops, and conditionals, but without the complex syntax.

  • B2C
Flipmotion
Flipmotion

Flipmotion develops world-class motion detection devices for action sports starting with skateboarding. The RideBlock tracker attaches to the truck of the skateboard and monitors various tricks and activities on a skateboard/longboard. The mobile app is a platform for enthusiasts to compete against others globally as well as improve one’s own performance.  

  • B2C
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Lily Grey

Lily Grey develops jewelry that merges the physical and digital worlds of storytelling and digital content.

  • B2C

Our Founders

We attract and invest in principled leaders who prioritize five values:

#1 Curiosity > Product-Market Fit

#2 Principled > Polished

#3 Creative > Experienced

#4 Hungry > Aggressive

#5 Confidence > Arrogance

Contact Us

How might we help you? MiLA investment partners host Retooling Friday’s on a regular basis in a 1:1 format, in-person or virtually. Many founders have benefited from our coaching, advice, and resources during these short sprints. MiLA welcomes founders at any stage to sign up. Speak with you soon.

Send us a message: