Arlan Hamilton

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Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of Backstage Capital & Runner

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    Arlan Hamilton: Biography at a Glance

    • Arlan Hamilton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBTQ.
    • Backstage has raised nearly $30 million, invested in 200 startups led by underestimated founders, and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Quartz.
    • She also founded Runner, a talent operations startup that connects outstanding operations talent with inclusive companies.
    • Arlan published It’s About Damn Time, her book detailing her journey from homelessness to venture capital.
    • Before launching Backstage Capital, she authored the groundbreaking blog “Your Daily Lesbian Moment”, which she grew to a monthly readership of 50,000 fans worldwide.
    • Arlan co-founded, along with Investment Partner Christie Pitts, Backstage Studio, a new venture studio designed to build products, services, and initiatives that serve the mission of eliminating underrepresentation in tech by empowering founders and their teams to succeed. 



    Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital and Runner, is a serial entrepreneur, author, and master multi-tasker.

    Hamilton founded Backstage Capital to invest in founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBTQ. Since its founding, Backstage has raised nearly $30 million and invested in 200 startups led by underestimated founders.

    Hamilton founded talent operations startup Runner to connect outstanding operations talent with inclusive companies. Runner has already raised $2 million from investors like Precursor Ventures, Lunar Startups, Kapor Capital, and others. That same year, Backstage Capital saw one of its first true exits when ice cream startup Coolhaus sold to The Urgent Company.

    Arlan had an untraditional path into tech. Prior to starting Backstage Capital and Runner, Arlan authored the blog “Your Daily Lesbian Moment,” which she grew to a monthly readership of 50,000 fans worldwide. She also worked in the music industry as a tour coordinator for artists like Toni Braxton and Jason Derulo. Since entering the tech industry, Arlan has received a number of accolades in media publications like Fortune, Vanity Fair, and Fast Company.

    Arlan published her book, It’s About Damn Time, detailing her journey from homelessness to venture capital. Arlan also hosts podcasts Your First Million and Demystifying Faith and is the executive producer on The Valley, a daily soap opera that is described as General Hospital for the tech industry.

    Hamilton differentiates herself from others in the tech industry by not being afraid to go against the grain. Case in point: Backstage Capital, under Hamilton’s leadership, raised nearly $5 million in one week through an equity crowdfunding campaign. The historic campaign created an opportunity for everyday people to invest in Backstage’s operations and benefit from Backstage’s future success. In doing so, Hamilton has also created a blueprint for other underestimated fund managers.

    Arlan is a proponent of paying it forward and supporting other underestimated people in the tech industry and beyond. She’s a limited partner in funds at Collab Capital, Ganas Ventures, Lightship Capital, RareBreed Ventures, and several others. Meanwhile, Arlan and her mother, Mrs. Earline Butler-Sims, founded a scholarship program for Black students at Oxford University and HBCU Dillard University.


    Bootstrapping a Venture Capital Fund
    Garnering Attention in a Crowded Landscape
    Breaking Rules While Breaking Ground
    Black Women in Tech

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