Arlan Hamilton is the founder of Backstage Capital and the author of “It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage,” which was published in 2020.
Hamilton was born on October 30, 1980, in Dallas, Texas. Her first interest was the music industry. She got her start working as tour manager for Goldenboy, a Norwegian pop/punk group in 2002. The same year, Hamilton started Interlude, an online music and entertainment magazine. She gained notoriety as a blogger on “Your Daily Lesbian Moment,” and then began her own blog called “Arlan Was Here Productions.”
Hamilton worked as a tour manager and booking agent for singer/songwriter Terra Naomi (2002-2009), and then as a production and director’s assistant for the BET network show Sunday’s Best, Lifetime network’s One Born Every Minute, and NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Hamilton also continued her work as a tour manager with musicians, such as Kirk Franklin and The King’s Men, CeeLo Green, Amanda Palmer, Nico Turner, Pharrell Williams, Jason Derulo, Toni Braxton, and Floetry.
While working in the music industry, Hamilton began to pursue her dream of helping others achieve theirs by raising money to give would-be entrepreneurs a start. But in 2014, Hamilton put her career on hold in 2014 and began living off her savings, while pursuing her new goal. When she ran low on money, she slept on friends’ couches, in motels, and even became homeless.
Hamilton’s prospects improved when she met angel investor and startup advisor Susan Kimberlin at a women’s conference in San Francisco. Kimberlin became her first investor, allowing Hamilton to found Backstage Capital in 2015 to help “underestimated founders.”
The fund focuses on people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Backstage Capital has raised more than five million dollars since its inception and assisted nine founders in establishing their businesses, while asking for one percent ownership in those businesses. Her personal portfolio now includes Tinsel, a hardware company that makes necklaces that double as headphones and Radial, a music streaming app that focuses on Caribbean music styles such as calypso and soca.
Hamilton was recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2018, and as one of the 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech by Business Insider in 2019. Also in 2019, Hamilton announced she would be stepping down as CEO Backstage and passing the role on to general partner Christie Pitts. And that year, Hamilton married Anna Eichenauer, a German actress and composer.