Arlan Hamilton: Investing in Black Women’s History

Last updated on April 8, 2024

Despite the success stories and contributions of Black entrepreneurs to the tech industry, they still face significant barriers in securing venture funding. According to TechCrunch, in Q3 of 2022, only .43% of nearly $43 billion in venture funding went to Black founders. This funding disparity is not only unjust but also a missed opportunity for investors to tap into a wealth of diverse talent, ideas, and potential for innovation.

Several factors contribute to the lack of venture funding for Black founders, including a lack of access to networks, bias and discrimination, and systemic issues such as the racial wealth gap. Many Black founders must rely on personal savings, loans, or crowdfunding to get their businesses off the ground, limiting their capacity to scale and compete with more well-funded counterparts.

“What if there was someone who every black founder in the country called when they were starting a company?” – Arlan Hamilton on B The Way Forward episode 4, Investing in Representation with Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton and Backstage Capital have made inroads towards a more equitable venture capital and entrepreneur landscape. Hamilton has emerged as a powerful leader focused on investing in historically excluded founders. She has been recognized as a trailblazer on Fast Company’s 2022 Queer 50 list, and shares her knowledge in her podcast “Your First Million,” a behind-the-scenes guide to earning your first million dollars, downloads, or customers.

“We invest in the very best founders who identify as women, People of Color, or LGBTQ. I personally identify as all three.” – Arlan Hamilton

Since 2015, Backstage Capital has invested more than $20 million in 200 startup companies led by founders of color, women, and/or members of the LGBTQ community. The firm provides not only funding but also mentorship, resources, and access to networks to help these founders overcome the obstacles they face. Backstage Capital has also launched programs such as the Accelerator and the Scout Program to support early-stage startups and discover new talent from diverse backgrounds.

Through her work, Hamilton is showing that investing in founders historically excluded from financing is not only the right thing to do but also a smart business decision. Backstage Capital’s portfolio includes successful companies such as Incredible Health and Calendly, which have reached unicorn status (a privately held startup company achieving a value of over $1 billion), as well as Goodr and Planet FWD, which are using technology to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Hamilton has also partnered with organizations like provide additional investment opportunities to historically excluded founders. In 2023, Backstage Capital and partnered to present PitcHER™ the pitch competition open to women and non-binary entrepreneurs of early-stage technology startups across all industries, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners splitting $100,000 in VC funding from Backstage Capital 

Join us in congratulating our 2023 PitcHER™ winners, made possible by the support of Arlan Hamilton and Backstage Capital! 

1st place – Aasiyah Abdulsalam | The Renatural 
2nd place – Teryn Thomas | EdLight 
3rd place – Debbie Dickinson | thermaband 
Audience Favorite – Brianne Caplan | Code Your Dreams 

For more information about Arlan Hamilton, you can follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram, X. Backstage Capital can be found on Instagram, LinkedIn, X 

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