Backstage Capital plans second fund to back as ‘many women of colour as possible’

27 Jan 2017

Woman pitching business. Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Backstage Capital, a start-up fund set up by Arlan Hamilton to back start-ups from more diverse backgrounds, is looking to start a second fund to back as many people of colour as possible.

Unlike many of the white male-dominated VC funds out there, Backstage Capital was set up by Arlan Hamilton to back entrepreneurs and start-ups led by people of colour, particularly women, which remains one of the least-funded demographics.

The Inspirefest 2017 speaker achieved one of her biggest successes towards the end of last year when Backstage Capital closed its first fund of $5m. Now, she has her sights on creating a bigger fund in the near future.

According to TechCrunch, Hamilton is in the process of raising the necessary funds that will allow her and the firm’s partners back 30 companies with relatively equal amounts of funding.

Speaking of what her intentions are with the fund, Hamilton said: “The more I move forward and go, go, go and the more that we build out Backstage with our amazing crew, the more I see that I just want to invest in as many women of colour as possible.”

She also has plans for a third fund that will become more focused on one demographic, that of her own.

Third fund also planned

“In fund three, I think you’ll see that it will only be women of colour,” she said to TechCrunch. “That will probably be where we start moving.”

It has been a considerable turnaround for Hamilton, who was homeless in September 2015 before securing her first backing to start Backstage.

This was followed by a year in which she saw more than 1,000 companies seek funding for their ideas, including Astral AR, who developed a drone system designed as a bullet shield.

Other changes in the future, Hamilton said, include a more refined accelerator-like application process to help streamline the process.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic