Backstage Capital Launches Fund for Black Female Founders

May 9, 2018
Updated 7mo ago

By Britt Terrell

Too few women, and even fewer women of color, receive the support they need to get start-ups off the ground, so a new venture fund started by Backstage Capital will try to raise $36 million to invest in companies founded by black female entrepreneurs.

"The numbers are just sad," said Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital. "So that's why we decided to do this."

Women received only 3 percent of venture capital funding in 2017, according to a study by First Round Capital, and women of color received 0.2 percent.

So Backstage, which invests in companies started by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, established its "diversity fund" to give $1 million at a time to start-ups founded by black women.

"I tried for three years to get people to understand and to ask very nicely for other investors to come along," said Hamilton in an interview Wednesday with Cheddar. "It wasn't moving fast enough for my taste so we said, 'O.K., we'll open this fund and we'll do it ourselves.'"

Hamilton said she wants to make it easier for women to get opportunities that they would not otherwise get because traditional VC firms overlook them or dismiss their ideas.

"If they get into the room, they are often times grilled on their background and their credentials in a way that is not very similar to the way a man or a white counterpart would be, " said Hamilton. "We're trying to get people to understand that it's not always a woman building a business for other women and it's not always a black person building a business for only black people."

For the full interview, click here.