Arlan Hamilton is raising a $36m fund to invest in black women founders

10 May 2018417 Views

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Arlan Hamilton on stage at Inspirefest last year. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

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Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton wants to address the anomaly whereby only 0.2pc of venture capital funding goes to black women.

Black women tech founders who have been long overlooked by the white-male-dominated Silicon Valley investor scene have a new hope in a $36m fund being established by Arlan Hamilton and her firm, Backstage Capital.

The fund, which Hamilton is still raising, will invest exclusively in black women founders.

‘They’re calling it a “diversity fund”. I’m calling it an IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME fund’
– ARLAN HAMILTON

Hamilton is returning to Inspirefest this year after a tour de force appearance in 2017, and she’s bringing her team with her.

The new face of venture capital

A black, gay woman, Hamilton represents the new wave of venture capitalism bringing diversity to Silicon Valley by investing in women, minorities and the LGBTQ community.

Backstage Capital has collected support from some of the giants of investment in Silicon Valley, including David Rose, Marc Andreessen, Aaron Levie, Swati Mylavarapu and Crystal English, to name a few.

At the weekend, Hamilton tweeted that the new $36m fund will invest in black women founders $1m at a time.

The fund will be industry and regionally agnostic. She also quipped in a tweet: “They’re calling it a ‘diversity fund’. I’m calling it an IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME fund.”

On stage at Inspirefest last year, Hamilton recalled how she built Backstage Capital from the ground up.

“I have an insatiable curiosity mixed with the love of freedom and having a say in my destiny. I am the new face of venture capital.

“I started completely by scratch. I had been working with companies of all profiles and I remember seeing a disparity in the funding and being shocked.”

That disparity is glaring in that less than 10pc of venture capital partners in Silicon Valley are women, as reported by Inc.com.

According to a study by First Round Capital, founding teams including a woman outperform their all-male peers by 63pc, but women CEOs only get 2.7pc of all venture funding.

For women of colour, the numbers are shocking in that they get virtually nothing – 0.2pc of funding.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Get your tickets now to join us in Dublin on 21 and 22 June 2018.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com