Backstage Capital Is Still Raising For It's $36 Million Fund
Photo Credit: SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 05: Backstage Capital Founder and Managing Partner Arlan Hamilton speaks onstage during Day 1 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 5, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Backstage Capital Is Still Raising For It's $36 Million Fund

Update: 

Hamilton has announced that she will be stepping down as CEO of Backstage Studio. Backstage General Partner Christie Pitts will step into the role. Hamilton will remain as Managing Partner for Backstage capital and will focus on fundraising.

Last May, Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton announced that her firm  would be launching a $36 million fund geared toward supporting black women founders. A perfect way to fight back against the white, male dominated tech space.

The fund however, hasn’t closed, according to Axios.

Axios reports that two key investors for the fund have fallen through, and that the company also lost a $5 million operations deal with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance two weeks before it’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested.  Hamilton confirmed to Axios that some layoffs have occurred at Backstage Capital as well.

Moving forward, Backstage will focus on its accelerator, which has expanded to 4 cities since the firm was founded in 2015. Hamilton told Axios that raising money for the fund has not stopped, but is suspended for the time being. She echoed those sentiments this morning in a back and forth with Dan Primack, the Axios reporter who broke the story.

Hamilton was quick to point out on Twitter this morning that Backstage has invested in over 100 companies and raised $50 million since it launched in 2015. 

The fund is the firm’s second. It’s first was for $5 million in 2016 and took about 16 months to complete. According to TechCrunch, this most recent fund was supposed to be completed in 8 months.

Backstage Capital is an anomaly in Silicon Valley. A firm, led by a Black woman, dedicated to investing in companies started by people of color. In 2018, $130 billion in venture capital was distributed to U.S. based companies. Hamilton created the fund as a way to  make sure companies run by black and brown people see some of those dollars. 

We don’t know what the future holds for Hamilton’s fund, or what it means for those who are involved. Hamilton told TechCrunch that they’ve had to essentially start from scratch.

Hamilton is adamant that the mission of the fund — to put money into businesses owned by black women —  is still very much alive.