“I’m in.” Two words that proved to be the catalyst for Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital. Hamilton once wondered when, if ever, she would find the success she was searching for, especially after multiple nights sleeping on a hard floor or going without food. But this didn’t stunt her desire to build a venture capital firm and provide funding for underrepresented minorities and women. As a woman of color, and a lesbian, Hamilton saw early on the need to fund companies whose ownership didn’t necessary fit into the perfect box. Some of the best early stage tech companies she came across had owners who were diverse, part of the LGBT community, or women and couldn't secure funding for various reasons. As a smart business woman, she knew that investing in diversity in the tech field likely would have a high return as many traditional venture capital firms in Silicon Valley simply overlooked these companies.
Since the time we received a “yes” from Hamilton, agreeing to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Innovate Raleigh Summit on Nov. 9, she has quickly become a household name across the country for entrepreneurs looking to fund their dreams. Similarly, the city of Raleigh and the Research Triangle region are on a fast trajectory of recognition. An Inc. magazine article published in June 2018 titled, “Why Raleigh Will Be the Next Startup Hub,” shows the region’s focus on startups and entrepreneurship and how early stage companies could potentially propel Raleigh further into the spotlight.
It makes sense that someone like Arlan Hamilton will open the 7th annual Innovate Raleigh Summit which will focus on funding, talent, and inclusivity. Hamilton will speak to all three topics as these are core elements of her venture capital firm. She promotes the importance of funding underrepresented startups, believes talent should be diverse, and has built her life around inclusivity in entrepreneurship. What more could we want for our Summit?
The only question remains—are you in? Register today for the Innovate Raleigh Summit.
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