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VC Firm Backstage Capital Releases Five-Year Recap Detailing Its Impact on the VC World and Its Communities

The venture capital world can be quite intimidating for ambitious founders looking for funding, especially those among underrepresented groups that are often left out of those opportunities. Back in 2015, Backstage Capital founder, Arlan Hamilton set out to create a venture capital fund that offered more opportunities for people like her –– Black, people of color, women, LGBTQIA+. In turn, she founded a company that in five short years has invested in over 150 underserved founders. As Backstage Capital celebrates its fifth impactful year in business, the firm has also released a five-year recap report — developed by The Plug and its contributors Sherrell Dorsey, Ashley Black, and Gizelle Clemmons — detailing all the progress it’s made in the venture capital world and its communities. Commissioned by Backstage and prepared by @Sherrell_Dorsey and @tpinsights , our 5 Years of Impact Report is live! It details our impact from 2015-2020 and what’s next for us. Check it out:...

Njera Perkins

Nov 25, 2020

Engineer and Entrepreneur Launches $50M Fund For Black-Led Tech Startups

Jet Constellations, a Milwaukee-based software company founded and run by Nadiyah Johnson, has embarked on a mission to raise $50 million for Black-owned tech startups. Johnson, a product manager at General Electric Healthcare, holds a B.S. in computer science from Marquette University and is currently studying for a master’s degree in computational science there as well. She founded Jet Constellations in her spare time as “a way to address lack of diversity in Milwaukee Tech. ” Initially, the company offered consultation services, however, it has morphed into something much bigger. According to their website, Jet Constellations is focused  “on helping industry experts in the community to start, launch, and fund the next wave of high-growth tech companies in their space. ” Jet Constellations also runs The Milky Way Tech Hub which is focused on advancing diversity in the Milwaukee tech ecosystem. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, The Milky Way Tech hub has already put its...

Colleen Williams

Jul 1, 2020

Kobe Bryant, The Basketball Legend and Venture Capitalist

Kobe Bryant was a basketball legend. In his 20-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he won five championships, was an All-Star 18 times, and was selected to be on the All-NBA team 15 times. On Sunday, he — along with eight people — died in a helicopter crash. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, was one of the victims. While Bryant was best-known for his career on the court, many are unaware of his deep involvement in the tech scene in LA. He was an active entrepreneur who found a talent in “ storytelling for brands ” — Bryant said, while talking investments with USA TODAY. He began his VC career before he retired from basketball as the co-founder of Bryant Stibel & Co. According to their website: “Bryant Stibel was founded in 2013 to provide strategy, capital, and operational support to businesses with a focus across technology, media, and data.” Here are some of the legend’s off-court successes: ringDNA ringDNA is a “sales engagement platform that helps businesses...

Colleen Williams

Jan 28, 2020

Los Angeles is the New Home of Large-Scale Venture Capital Funding

While Los Angeles has long been known as a prime locale for seed funding, the latest financial trends reveal that times are changing. Tinseltown is now becoming a place for startups to pursue more expansive venture capital funding , a distinction previously unique to the San Francisco Bay Area. A look at performance statistics of LA venture capitalists offers some insight. California early-stage ­funder Amplify notes that within the last decade, LA startups have raised more than $35 billion , ranking second only to their Silicon Valley counterparts in a 10-year U.S. venture capital funding overview. According to Pitchbook, Los Angeles funders have now raised approximately $12 billion in venture capital from 627 funding efforts in 2019 , landing fifth place in national ranking. Pitchbook noted one of the reasons for the emerging trend. “Until recently, the city’s venture capitalists have been best known for seed rounds in a region that is home to only a few large firms. However, the...

Emily Adeyanju

Dec 17, 2019