From Sleeping on the Floor at SFO to Venture Capital Founder: The Inspirational Journey of Arlan Hamilton

by Gee NY
Arlan Hamilton. Image Credit:@arlanwashere on Instagram

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is a bustling hub for travelers, but for Arlan Hamilton, it holds a deeper significance.

In 2015, it served as both a workplace and a makeshift home as she tirelessly worked to establish her venture fund, Backstage Capital.

“I spent a lot of time here in 2015 when I was homeless, trying to raise my venture fund,” recalls Hamilton, reflecting on her journey from homelessness to success.

Living out of her carry-on bag, Hamilton navigated the challenges of Silicon Valley’s venture capital scene by day and returned to SFO by night. Despite the uncertainty and discomfort, she remained resilient, using a rolled-up pair of jeans as a makeshift pillow.

“It was a difficult time, but I always held onto the belief that I could make it,” Hamilton reflects.

During her time at SFO, Hamilton found solace in helping others, often assisting travelers with their flights. These small acts of kindness brought purpose to her challenging circumstances.

Today, Hamilton’s perseverance has paid off. Backstage Capital, the venture fund she launched while homeless, has raised $30 million since 2015.

With a focus on investing in startups founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs, Hamilton is making a tangible impact in the tech industry.

“What would happen if there were a venture fund where everyone who was a woman, Black, Latinx, etc., knew they could have a fair chance?” Hamilton asks. “That’s the vision behind Backstage Capital.”

Hamilton’s story of resilience and success has inspired many. Through books, podcasts, and live events, she continues to share her journey and empower others to pursue their dreams.

“Your First Million Live” is Hamilton’s latest venture, bringing together aspiring and current millionaires to learn, network, and inspire each other.

Reflecting on her journey, Hamilton’s mother, Earline Sims, shares, “To go from sleeping on the floor of the airport to where we are now, everything has changed. But the mission remains the same.”

Indeed, Hamilton’s story serves as a reminder of the transformative power of perseverance and determination, inspiring others to reach for their own dreams, no matter the obstacles they face.

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