The Investor Evening at Inspirefest saw Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton and Christie Pitts, Astia’s Yuka Nagashima and Silicon Valley Bank’s Claire Lee herald a new beginning for venture capital.

At Inspirefest 2018, Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton and a cohort of colleagues confirmed that her company had completed its 100th investment in a tech start-up.

At an intimate evening for investors and investor-ready start-ups with Inspirefest partners Enterprise Ireland and NDRC, and hosted by Bank of Ireland, Hamilton wowed the room with her vision to go a lot further.

“I think we should be $36m, I think we should be $100m, we should be $200m, $300m and then go towards the $1bn,” Hamilton said, making it clear that the revolution has started.

Claire Lee of Silicon Valley Bank said that even at the highest echelons of investing in the US, there is a change afoot and a key aspect of that is helping emerging female managers to raise funds.

“How do we help more female fund managers? I believe, very strongly, it is about money. If we want to change things, we really have to push hard. There’s a huge momentum, an unstoppable avalanche of things. It doesn’t matter what was built before now. It might be systemic, endemic, but things are shifting and it is a huge earthquake I’m witnessing and hopefully helping in the creation of that.”

Astia’s Yuka Nagashima reiterated the point that it is not women who need to change but the system. A key aspect of this systemic change, which Nagashima agreed really needs to happen, is government funding bodies making rules about what happens to their investments.

“If we can have systemic changes, that can get things moving. All it takes is one female managing director for other directors to notice and start investing differently.”


Words by John Kennedy