Founder and Managing Partner, Backstage Capital
Arlan Hamilton is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started in 2015, Backstage has now invested nearly $5M into 100 startups led by underestimated founders and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Quartz. Arlan made history by making the cover of Fast Company as the first Black woman who is not an entertainer or athlete. She and Backstage Studio were also the subjects of Season 7 of the popular Gimlet Media podcast, StartUp.
Arlan entered the venture investing world from an unconventional path. Before launching Backstage Capital, she authored the groundbreaking blog "Your Daily Lesbian Moment", which she grew to a monthly readership of 50,000 fans worldwide. She has written for AOL, SuicideGirls, and Curve Magazine, and founded and published the internationally distributed indie magazine Interlude. Arlan was also a live music production professional, having served as a tour coordinator to numerous international artists including Toni Braxton, and Jason Derulo.
In 2018, Arlan co-founded, along with Investment Partner Christie Pitts, Backstage Studio, a new venture studio designed to build products, services, and initiatives that serve the mission of eliminating underrepresentation in tech by empowering founders and their teams to succeed. Also in 2018, Backstage announced the launch of Backstage Accelerator, a 3-month program designed to give founders the support they need to reach their next critical milestone. Backstage is a fully-remote team that has quickly scaled to 20 employees working together with an ever-expanding roster of world-class mentors and partners.