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This week, the Backstage Crew met with 48 founders through our virtual Office Hours. In group sessions, we had conversations about fundraising, customer journey mapping, how founders can respond to the COVID-19 crisis, hiring, and more

After each session, we shared with attendees some of the resources that were discussed as part of the call, and we thought that it might be helpful to share these resources more widely. Some of them are very timely to today’s environment, while others are fundamental resources for startups at any time.

Investment Resources:


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There’s strength in numbers!

Brittany and Christie here from the Backstage Capital team! Together with Arlan, we attended the 2019 All Raise Summit earlier this month and wanted to share about our experience.

About All Raise:

All Raise is a nonprofit organization in venture that is focused on elevating women, founders and investors, in the venture capital ecosystem and in tech at large. Their annual Summit is a gathering of women in VC focused on connecting with other women in venture, workshops and hearing from inspirational speakers.

We left last year’s summit feeling encouraged, and this year we can say that we are excited by the growth of the event and the All Raise organization. Where women are drastically underrepresented in VC, it was amazing to see an entire conference filled with women in this field. About 600 women attended, making this a historic event — the largest number of women VCs gathered in one room! …


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Celebrating underestimated founders in cities around the world

We are super excited to announce Backstage Tour 2020! 🚍 That’s right. We’re bringing Backstage to cities in the US and beyond to celebrate underestimated founders and the ecosystems that help them grow.

In each city, we’ll host an event featuring a pitch competition where vetted underrepresented founders will present to a live audience and a panel of investors for the chance to win an investment from Backstage. Attendees will also be able to join premium workshops where founders can build skills to accelerate their business progress, and existing and aspiring investors can boost their investment acumen.

We want to get the whole community out — investors, founders, and ecosystem builders and experts. It’s going to be an incredible place to make valuable connections in each local ecosystem. We plan to kick off the tour in May 2020. Stay tuned for more details! …


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Accelerating Underestimated Founders

Originally published Jun 6, 2019 on The Keyword, Google’s official blog, by Lisa Gevelber, VP, Global Marketing.

Supporting underrepresented founders with Backstage Accelerator

As a first-time Black founder from South Carolina, Harold Hughes isn’t your stereotypical startup CEO. Despite his infectious enthusiasm and extensive sales experience, more than 140 investors passed on Bandwagon, his analytics company for sports venues, teams and fans. But after three years of no’s, Harold finally received a resounding yes with funding from Backstage Capital at the 2016 Google for Startups Black Founders Immersion Program. …


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Christie Pitts is the Head of Backstage Accelerator, a 3-month program designed to give underrepresented founders the support they need to reach their next critical milestone launching in 4 cities around the world.

In September of 2018, we announced Backstage Accelerator. At that time, we had 100 companies led by underestimated founders in our portfolio — our Headliners — and learned so much from investing in and supporting them. …


Starting Spring 2019 in four cities around the world.

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Diversity is Strength

Diversity is core to who we are at Backstage. Arlan Hamilton, our Founder, is a Black gay woman who recognized early that underrepresented founders were being overlooked and underestimated. Investors were leaving money on the table. At Backstage, we’ve put this thesis to work and invested in 100 companies led by underestimated founders (in our case founders who identify as Women, People of Color, and/or LGBTQ). Every company in the Backstage100 exemplifies “grit” and does more with less.


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I’m so excited to share that we’ve recently launched a special mini-series of The Bootstrapped VC! We’re focusing on blockchain and spotlighting three of our portfolio companies — Seeds, Bandwagon, and Filament — who are all using the blockchain in different ways.

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of hype around blockchain. At Backstage Capital, we’re bullish for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a fundamental, underlying technology that can be used for nearly endless purposes.

Arlan introduces our new podcast mini-series, Blockchain for Startups

The Blockchain for Startups Backstory

Earlier this fall, I was greatly inspired by a conversation with one of our founders, Rachel Cook, CEO of Seeds. We talked about her philosophy of a “system of abundance,” which is enabled by crypto and ICOs (initial coin offerings). In less than an hour, I went from feeling serious confusion to excitement and anticipation. …


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A Macroeconomic Argument for Investing in Diverse Founders

I’m not the only one out there who is appalled, annoyed and frustrated by the diversity statistics in venture capital. It’s a problem on all sides of the table. VC firms are consistent in their uniformity — over 90% of partners are white men. Diverse founders aren’t in their networks and consequently don’t get meetings and don’t get funding.


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By Christie Pitts

Consumer services are transitioning from broad solutions for mass markets to a more personalized experience serving customers’ exact needs. Listen to the female founders of Ringly and HopSkipDrive discuss some of the challenges consumers face in the working world and how their products create sustainable solutions:


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As millions of people have integrated mobile into every aspect of their lives, much of our daily activities and associated tracking are now housed inside of the smartphones in our pockets, purses and hands. It is no secret that there has been an explosion of services leveraging this new area of connectivity. The next step in the mobile evolution is moving information, decision making and functionality off of our smartphones and into the world around us. …

About

Christie Pitts

GP Backstage Capital

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