Queer Tech History / Arlan Hamilton

Anna R.
January 16, 2024

Arlan Hamilton is a brilliant author, venture capitalist, founder, tech icon, and perhaps most importantly, the world's biggest Janet Jackson fan. Her nontraditional background has allowed her to approach tech in uniquely impactful ways. 


Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Hamilton got her start as a touring manager for a Norwegian pop-punk band. She continued her career in the music business going on to produce and manage tour productions for major artists, including Toni Braxton, Pharrell Williams, Chromeo, and CeeLo Green. But things would change in 2015 when she founded Backstage Capital

Her journey into the world of venture capital was unconventional and driven by a relentless passion for leveling the playing field. In 2015, Arlan Hamilton founded Backstage Capital, a venture capital fund with a groundbreaking mission: to invest in underrepresented founders, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. This visionary approach aimed to address the equity gap in the tech and startup ecosystem, making it more diverse and inclusive. Arlan Hamilton went from being homeless to building one of the most prolific VC firms. Since its inception, Backstage Capital has invested in over 170 companies- and counting. 

In 2020 Hamilton published, It's About Damn Time, a book aimed at helping you find your voice to achieve your biggest dreams. The book wasn’t her first time writing; she had gained prior notoriety as a blogger on Your Daily Lesbian Moment and creating INTERLUDE magazine. In 2024 Arlan also released her second book, Your First Million.

In 2018, Hamilton received the 40 Under 40 award from Fortune. And in 2021 and 2022 was named as part of the Queer 50 by Fast Company.  Arlan Hamilton's remarkable career and advocacy work have made her a trailblazer in the venture capital world, redefining the industry's landscape and advocating for a more diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem. 

Readings & References

‘I’ll be doing this for decades’: Arlan Hamilton’s challenging the status quo of VC

Memo to the Silicon Valley boys’ club: Arlan Hamilton has no time for your BS

Persistence, Abundance, and the Power of Capital

VC Arlan Hamilton's Plan To Grow 1000 Black Millionaires