Valued at $31.2 billion, Yale’s endowment is a huge win for many investment managers.

However, at the beginning of October 2020, the university’s endowment chief Dave Swensen added a condition to the privilege of managing their money: fund managers have to demonstrate efforts to increase diversity within their firms. He said he wants to see “a level of diversity in investment management firms that reflects the diversity in the world in which we live.”

Since the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, companies and institutions have responded to the call for justice in varying degrees. …

A Black woman speaking at a conference, sitting in a chair, Dana Peterson
A Black woman speaking at a conference, sitting in a chair, Dana Peterson
Global economist, Dana Peterson — photo by Yuri Gripas

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global economy, it has also highlighted the racial inequities that permeate our country’s financial infrastructure.

In an effort to help businesses keep employees on payroll and cover necessary expenses, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) enacted the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The road to recovery (or at least stability) was paved with good intentions.

Instead of distributing the funds themselves, the SBA made private banks in charge of the process. As a result, PPP loans were quickly granted to larger, wealthier companies that had the resources to expedite the application process. …

We took a look at JPMorgan Chase’s new announcement to give a balanced breakdown of what it means.

JP Morgan Chase, which holds $2.82 trillion in U.S. assets, announced a pledge of $30 billion on October 8, 2020 in order to achieve greater racial equity over the course of 5 years. Their efforts consist of five pillars:

Promote Affordable Housing and Homeownership for Underserved Communities

What they’re doing: in anticipation of 40,000 home purchase loans for Black and Latinx households, Chase is allocating $8 billion in mortgages and $4 billion to refinancing loans over the next five years. …

Say it with me: IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME!

Yes, that’s right, your eyes and ears aren’t deceiving you — Harry and I finally (fintally with a T, yall) got to sit down and talk with each other for his podcast, The 20 Minute VC, a pod that gets millions of downloads each month, and has been rocking and rolling for years now.

We have tried to make an interview work for what seems like years, but something always got in the way for one of us. You could say that timing is everything, though, because I think this episode really…

Over the past nearly 5 years, I’ve seen what bold things can happen when someone gives you your first ‘YES’. After several years of looking for help and resources for my investment fund, Backstage Capital, an angel investor named Susan Kimberlin (MIT grad) came through! And since then, I’ve taken that vote of confidence and turned it into 6,000 startups screened, 130+ investments made, millions of $ raised, generated, and invested, hundreds of jobs created, and countless dreams realized.

Late last year, my mother, Mrs. Earline Sims, and I announced the Arlan Hamilton & Earline Butler Sims Scholarship, which…

Hi, Backstage friends!

We’ve all seen the impact of COVID-19 on live events, especially over the past few days. As a result, we’ve decided it’s best to evolve Backstage Tour 2020 into a series of virtual, city-focused events. Our first and utmost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our community at large and our teammates. With thousands of attendees anticipated in over a dozen cities, we’re needing to adapt just as every community and organization is right now.

We believe this is best for everyone involved.

We’re speaking now with our City Leaders, who are working with us to…

The following is from my pov and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of all Backstage’s employees, investments, investors, or community members.

While I don’t pay much attention to trends in venture and startups, I have been paying close attention to waves and patterns of sentiment and intent since I discovered Silicon Valley. In the summer of 2015, before I had raised a penny towards the more than $10mil I’ve raised to date for my fund Backstage Capital, I wrote a blog post called “Dear White Venture Capitalists…”. …

We at Backstage Capital celebrated our 4-year anniversary on September 15, and it made me reminisce and reflect on what it has taken to get here, our hits and misses, and everything in between. One of the things I often get asked is, “Are there any companies you regret not investing in?”

This question is a hard answer, because I know what the person means when they ask it. They’re saying, “Is there a company who you had a chance to invest in but passed on, only for them to go on and do well and you later regret it?”…

These were all taken on an iPhone X and printed at Fedex :-O

If you didn’t read the above photo’s caption, do so now…I’m still astonished by it.

I’ve been in love with photography half of my life — nearly 20 years. There was a burst of energy around it in my early 20s when I first discovered my eye for it. I purchased a 1980ish manual Minolta SLR from a pawn shop for $100 to start a photography class, and again in my late 20s when some places were still developing and printing film, I fell back into the groove once more, again using an inexpensive manual SLR. …

The Cake

In this new exclusive column for ZORA, Backstage Capital maven Arlan Hamilton and her team offer entrepreneurship, tech, and business wisdom for women of color

A portrait photo of Backstage Capital founder and CEO, Arlan Hamilton, at The 2019 MAKERS Conference on February 7, 2019.
A portrait photo of Backstage Capital founder and CEO, Arlan Hamilton, at The 2019 MAKERS Conference on February 7, 2019.
Arlan Hamilton. Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty for MAKERS

My name is Arlan. I’m 38. Black. Woman. Incredibly homosexual. Used to be on food stamps. Used to have a negative bank balance. Used to have no place to live for weeks and months at a time. Today, I am a venture capitalist with more than 130 tech companies in my portfolio that span several industries and are disbursed all over the United States. Every company I invest in is led by women, a person of color, and/or an LGBTQ founder.

I started a boutique venture capital firm called Backstage to begin to close the gap between the amount of…


Venture Capitalist + Tour Manager for Janine & The Mixtape

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