Alta Partners offers companies an alternative to raising cash on their own. The firm invests venture capital primarily in life science companies; Alta Partners also invests in IT ventures. It has backed more than 150 companies and has about $2 billion in committed capital. A long-term investor, Alta Partners funds both early- and late-stage companies through primarily stage-specific funds. The firm prefers to take the lead investor position. Its portfolio has included such companies as Cellomics, Occam Networks, and Xelerated. Founders Jean Deleage, Garrett Gruener, and Guy Nohra were partners at venture capital firm Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. (BEDCO), before they left in 1996 to form Alta Partners.