Arlan Hamilton

Founder Backstage Capital & Runner, Author, and Trailblazing Investor

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Los Angeles, California, USA


Arlan Hamilton, founder at Backstage Capital and, is a serial entrepreneur, author, and prolific speaker.

She founded Backstage Capital in 2015 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. Arlan is also the founder of, a startup that connects outstanding employee talent with inclusive companies. 

Arlan published her book, “It’s About Damn Time,” in 2020, detailing her journey from homelessness to venture capital trailblazer. Arlan also hosts the popular podcast “Your First Million”, and in 2018, was the first non-celebrity Black woman to grace the cover of Fast Company magazine. Arlan's latest book out on January 2nd, 2024, "Your First Million: Why You Don't Have To Be Born Into A Legacy Of Wealth To Leave One Behind", shows how anyone can tap into new tools, platforms, and funding sources to get their million-dollar idea off the ground.

Arlan is a big proponent of paying it forward and supporting other underestimated people in the tech industry and beyond. She’s a limited partner in 27 funds led by emerging, underestimated managers, and she and her mother, Mrs. Earline Butler-Sims, have established scholarship programs for Black students at Oxford University, HBCU Dillard University, and Harvard Law.

Read less...



Write Your Own Headlines

Being the Change You Want to See

Breaking Rules While Breaking Ground

Launching Startups with Humanity

Black Women in Tech

Bootstrapping a Venture Capital Fund

Arlan Hamilton is available for booking directly through Gravity Speakers and is currently represented by CAA.

Arlan Hamilton Speaker Reel
Tamron Hall: Arlan Hamilton Interview
ABC News: Arlan Hamilton’s latest book guides you toward success and your first million
Arlan Hamilton: From Homeless to Investing Millions
Oprah Daily - The Expert Is In: Arlan Hamilton
DJG: 5 Questions with Arlan Hamilton
Bloomberg Studio 1.0: Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton
PBS Amanpour & Co: Arlan Hamilton on the Changing Face of Entrepreneurship
SXSW 2019: Arlan Hamilton
2019 MAKERS Conference: Aisha Tyler & Arlan Hamilton
CNBC: Backstage Capital Founder Arlan Hamilton wants to Close that gap



“We loved having Arlan. She has an amazing stage presence and asked so many compelling questions to the startups on stage. We were lucky to have her!”

Annie Fei
Principal Event Marketing Manager, Hubspot INBOUND

“Arlan’s challenge and her enthusiasm set the state and the tone for the rest of the Summit, helping to energize attendees and inspire deep conversations about the future of our profession.”

Kevin R. Keller
CEO at CFP Board

“Arlan was great. Obviously very knowledgeable, honest and candid and challenging in her remarks - while also being inspiring and thought-provoking.“

Tammy Nolen
Development & Communications Coordinator, Center for Economic Inclusion

“Arlan is what's now, and what's NEXT in entrepreneurship.”

Theo Edmonds
UofL Center for Creative Placehealing

“Arlan Hamilton was amazing. She delivered a great message for our joint Pride/Juneteenth event. She was also very personable at the meet and greet.”

Audrey Fernandez-Elliott
PayPal, Inc.

“Arlan was amazing! The audience would've loved to hear more of her backstory , but everything she said was captivating.”

Ki Williams
Hubspot Inc.

“Arlan's fireside chat was immensely impactful.”

Jordan Carlisle
Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce

“Arlan showed up with enthusiasm, even after a long day of appearances. She was fun, thoughtful, and engaged, volunteering to stay after her talk to chat with members of the audience (over and above her contract.) The audience was thrilled, still talking about the event many days later.”

Lisa Durnford
Venture Out

“We were thrilled! The turnout to hear Arlan's fireside chat was impressive and the audience was very engaged. Arlan is a great speaker - she was articulate, funny, relatable and insightful. We were so glad to have her at our event.”

Alana Davicino
Village Capital

“Everyone absolutely loved Arlan's fireside chat! Her chat was the highlight of our event.”

Charmyse Tillman

“First and foremost, Arlan was fantastic. Her insights, honesty, charisma, and candor made her one of our best speakers at the summit. We're very thankful she participated!”

Jess Matley, VP Program and Event Operations
Ellevate Network