Arlan Hamilton was homeless, sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco International Airport and couch-surfing for months when it finally happened.
The 38-year-old launched Backstage Capital in 2015, a venture capital firm that invests in under-invested founders, like women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Hamilton isn’t your stereotypical venture capitalist. She’s the first black, queer woman to create her own venture capital firm — and she did it with no investing experience, no college degree, and little money to work with. “Whatever I do, I know I’m going to achieve it,” Hamilton recalls thinking before she launched her firm. “It’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to be really, really difficult. So whatever it is, I really have to mean it.”