Arlan Hamilton on companies' commitments to racial equity, unicorns and crowd investing
This is not your typical success story. This is about someone who had an amazing career in the music industry managing tours for artists like Jason Derulo, Toni Braxton and Kirk Franklin and decided to give it all up and get into a space where people like her aren’t typically represented -- as a Black, gay woman.
The person I’m talking about is Arlan Hamilton our guest for this episode of Diverse Disruptors. And the space we are talking about is venture capital. As the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, Arlan isn’t the typical image of a venture capitalist, which is mostly white and male and probably attended an Ivy League school and grew up in a well-to-do home.
Arlan’s journey to start Backstage Capital was not an easy one. When she was working to get her firm off the ground back in 2015, she was homeless. She slept in cars, airports and on couches. That persistence and determination eventually paid off. Backstage Capital has raised more than $12 million and invested in more than 150 startups led by underestimated founders, a term she coined replacing underrepresented.
Her unconventional path led to her becoming a Forbes 40 under 40 recipient to coverage in major media outlets like NPR, Wall Street Journal, and appearing on the cover of Fast Company. Arlan even became a focus of a Gimlet Media podcast.
It comes as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Arlan and her journey. I truly admire and respect her and what she is doing with Backstage Capital. When I found that I get to have her as one of my guests for this podcast, I totally geeked out. I got a chance to talked to Arlan about how she and Backstage have been doing during the pandemic, her new book “ It's About Damn Time,” imposter syndrome and corporations commitments to racial justice and equity and more.
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