Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital was joined on stage for her Featured Session at SXSW 2019 by Associate Editor of Fast Company KC Ifeanyi to discuss how Hamilton built Backstage Capital to be a VC firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech for women, people of color, and anyone in the LGBT community – all while being homeless.
The pair covered how Hamilton and Backstage Capital are thriving – from being the first Black woman who wasn’t an athlete or entertainer to be on the cover of Fast Company, to her portfolio of headliners (the people/companies they invest in), the work she’s doing with her accelerator program, and more.
Hamilton isn’t discouraged by the idea of failure. In fact, she sites having no one to answer to and nothing to lose as one of her biggest assets in being able to seek out the exact people she wants to work with.
“The people who I was describing existed already, it wasn’t something I was hoping I could find, and they were being incredibly overlooked and underestimated… I could find people who looked like me, but it seemed like they were part of an institution and they couldn’t rock the boat – but I didn’t have that. I can make some noise and get attention to these founders.”
With ambitious goals and new projects always in the works, Ifeanyi lifted up Hamilton for being a voice for the outsiders who are often not taken seriously or not considered at all. When applauded for her hustle and her grit, Hamilton accepted the compliment by also lifting up her team, but she managed to get the last word with her humor and confidence that we can all take and apply in our own lives.
“Fearless is just one word to describe me this morning.”
Watch the entire Featured Session as well as more videos from the 2019 SXSW Conference — including sessions, Featured Speakers, and Keynotes — on our YouTube channel.
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Featured Image by Mike Jordan
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