It’s true: the first people you meet in college can become lifelong friends.
Just ask LaDante McMillon ’12. He met Ivan Alo ’12 in June 2008. Both were on campus for freshman orientation that summer. McMillon traveled from Philadelphia; Alo from New Jersey. “We started talking and realized we had a lot in common,” says Alo. “The rest is history.”
As venture capitalists, they invest in Black and Latinx tech startups that solve problems across different industries. These include businesses like Rizse, which conducts aircraft inspections with autonomous drones. OUI the People leverages community and data to create body care products for women with various skin types. HealNow is an online payment and onboarding platform for pharmacies that allows them to offer customers various payment options.
But now their investments reach beyond business. They also give back to the University that helped make them who they are today. As students, both immersed themselves in a wide variety of activities. Alo performed on the dance team Sexual Chocolate (See him as Mr. Potato Head in SC’s winning number), played intramural flag football and basketball, and worked in the admissions office as a tour guide. McMillon was an orientation leader, served as president of the Black Student Forum his senior year, studied abroad in Ecuador, and worked the front desk in the Office of Student Affairs. Alo studied finance in the Carroll School of Management; McMillon chose communication in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Both look back on their retreat experiences and the time and space they provided for deep reflection. “BC retreats create a culture for students to be vulnerable, to access feelings, to journal,” McMillon says. “This is the type of stuff that makes a great person.”
Over the years, the duo has been invited to speak to students in the Carroll School about the ins and outs of investing in and founding companies. Off campus, they volunteer to meet with accepted students, as well as those who are thinking about applying to Boston College. “It feels great to share my story with Black and Latinx students,” says Alo. “Identity and authenticity are what matter in our business. I like to make myself available to prospective students to give them a taste of what a BC experience could be like. Giving back isn’t just about cash—there are ways we can connect with the BC ecosystem,” he continues. “Our investment of time is just as valuable.”
“It’s part of that ‘service to others’ that we learned at BC,” McMillon says. “It has stuck with us over the years. We are all conduits to serve in any capacity. We are here to help connect networks of people in all corners of society. As BC alumni, it’s in our DNA.”