Arlan Hamilton on Future of emerging black fund managers and why “It’s About Damn Time”

Arlan Hamilton built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a fund that is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started from scratch in 2015, Backstage has now raised more than $7 million and invested in more than 130 startup companies led by underestimated founders. In 2018 Arlan co-founded Backstage Studio which launched four accelerator programs for underestimated founders in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and London.

Learn more about Backstage Crowd:

A big shout out to Bryan Landers, Venture Partner at Backstage Capital for making the introduction.

Questions for Arlan:

Q. “It’s about damn time” that’s the title of your book. You founded Backstage Capital to invest in ‘underestimated founders’ back in 2015. Do you think it would have been different if you founded the fund in today’s environment when Black Lives Matter movement is holding investors accountable.

Q. What do you mean by underestimated founders? Are you defining them by their access to capital and venture resources instead of race, color or gender?

Q. You have already invested over 130 startups by underestimated founders. Many people think it is a pipeline problem to find diverse founders. What way do you think the industry can tackle that pipeline problem? Or is there a pipeline problem?

Q. In your book Chapter 21, you said “This Industry Wasn’t Built for Us,”Fundraising is always a systematically very long journey for everyone but especially difficult if you are a woman or person of color or anyone with no track record . If I give you a magic wand what changes you want to bring institutionally in venture capital as an asset class in terms of fundraising from LP.

Q. Another black emerging fund manager Shila, she is the founder of Zane Capital wanted to know your thoughts on emerging fund managers during COVID19. Do you think accessing capital has got harder during this time?

Q. Do you find LPs are more responsive to you and your portfolios after the BLM movement? Did investors/LPs reach out to you to understand how they can bring the change?

Q. How Backstage Crowd is acting as a catalyst for black/diverse founders?

Q. One of my favorite Sports Journalist Bryant Gumbel recently talked about Black tax at HBO Sports. Have you personally paid Black tax?

Backstage Capital :




Founder & GP @ Advaita Capital, founder of She-VC 🎙

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Gayatri Sarkar

Gayatri Sarkar

Founder & GP @ Advaita Capital, founder of She-VC 🎙

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