Arlan Hamilton started her career in the music industry, working with artists like Jason Derulo, Toni Braxton, and CeeLo Green. But in 2015, Arlan took a look at Silicon Valley and saw a major lack of diversity there. So she decided to change it. Casual. Arlan started her venture firm Backstage Capital to invest in startups led by underrepresented founders. It wasn’t always easy (think: sleeping at the San Francisco airport while she built her business). But it paid off. Backstage Capital has invested nearly 5 million dollars into startups led by women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community.
On this LIVE episode, Arlan talks to us about speaking up, taking risks, and getting inside the door… as an outsider.
PS: After we recorded our interview with Arlan, Axios reported that Backstage Capital has run into trouble raising money for their most recent fund, and that the firm is shifting focus to its accelerator program. Arlan told us in an email Tuesday that Backstage is still working on the fund, and “will continue to until it's raised.”