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How Arlan Hamilton Went From Homeless to Wall Street


The Black gay venture capitalist is also one of The Advocate's Women of the Year. 

Lizzo is one of The Advocate's Women of the Year. View the full list from the current issue of the magazine.

No one should underestimate Arlan Hamilton.

Hamilton founded Backstage Capitol, a venture capital firm, in 2015, when she was homeless. The firm seeks to address funding disparities in the technology industry by investing in companies started by undervalued but high-potential entrepreneurs who are women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ. To date, Backstage Capital has raised more than $10 million and invested in more than 130 startup companies.

"I've said before that I'm a triple threat -- and not in the Beyonce way," she tells The Advocate. "Every part of my identity is important to me. It's what makes me who I am and gives me my unique standpoint. As a Black gay woman, I am often underestimated, especially within the industry of venture capital. Luckily, I know that my difference is my edge."

She continues, "I know that listening to and valuing the experiences of those who don't always fall into the mainstream is incredibly worthwhile. For me, my biggest achievements will always be lifting up others, sharing the mike, and helping to create a world where we are all provided with equal opportunities and dignity."

Hamilton chronicles her journey from food-stamp recipient to venture capitalist in her book, It's About Damn Time, out in May. She'll also be speaking, leading workshops, signing books, and making investments during a national tour in May and June.

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