Photo via: João Canziani
On July 14, Arlan Hamilton tweeted: “My name is Arlan. I’m a 37-year old Black woman from Texas, based in LA. Four years ago, I was on food stamps. Today, I have built a venture capital fund from the ground up, and have invested in 100 startup companies led by women, people of color, and LGBTQ founders.”
To add to that, Hamilton is now the first Black woman who is not an entertainer or athlete to be on the cover of Fast Company. In the business magazine’s October issue, Hamilton talks about why she created a $36 million dollar venture fund for Black women founders.
Is this real life? I’m the October COVER of @FastCompany! Also the first Black woman who isn’t an entertainer/athlete (@Oprah, @serenawilliams, @Beyonce, @LenaWaithe — my favs!) to be on the cover. I never could have imagined this 3 yrs ago SO grateful. https://t.co/KInpR6TRxr pic.twitter.com/2YlpsILfsI
— Arlan (@ArlanWasHere) September 13, 2018advertisement
“It was crazy to me that 90% of venture funding was going to white men, when that is not how innovation, intelligence, and drive is dispersed in the real world,” Hamilton told Fast Company. “I had no background in finance, but I just saw it as a problem. Maybe it’s because I was coming from such a different place that I could recognize it.”
When Hamilton came to Silicon Valley three years ago, she didn’t have money, a network, nor a college degree – but what she did have was an unwavering determination to become a venture capitalist and invest in underrepresented founders. Going on to build her very own venture capital firm from scratch, she founded Backstage Capital and earlier this year, “launched a $36 million fund that will invest in Black women founders $1 million at a time.”
The rumors are true. Today at #USOW2018 I announced that my venture capital firm @Backstage_Cap has launched a $36m fund that will invest in Black women founders $1mill at a time. Thank you to the Backstage Crew, headliners, LPs, mentors & network for making this moment possible. pic.twitter.com/yT1SMQOFAR
— Arlan (@ArlanWasHere) May 5, 2018advertisement
Hamilton’s “first two $1 million investments, to be announced before the end of the year, will go to existing Backstage portfolio companies. And that’s just the start, reports Fast Company. “This spring, Hamilton will launch the Backstage Accelerator to foster early-stage startups with locations slated for L.A., Philadelphia, and London. She’s also laying the groundwork for a $100 million fund to provide underrepresented founders with even larger checks.”
Read Arlan Hamilton’s full Fast Company cover story here; we’re sure it’s going to leave you feeling like you can do anything- and you can!