It’s a story that sounds like a movie trailer. Homeless woman with a dream teaches herself about investing and launches her own venture capital company which provides funds to under-invested people. She fights unconscious bias and wins big, winding up on the cover of Fast Company. Cue the applause. Close curtain.
If you haven’t heard of Arlan Hamilton, you need to go look her up. Now. Not only is her story amazing, but her call to action is real and profitable and open for you to join. Here is a link to her blogpost that went viral in 2015. Here is an excerpt but please do yourself a favor and read the entire thing. Then share it with your friends.
I’ll speak to you in a universal language most seem to understand: Drake.
Dr. Drake says: “If you’re reading this, its too late.”
“In 2014 venture capitalists invested nearly $1.33BILLION in 976 SEED deals. I would argue that in 2015 there needs to be something around 50 DEALS in minority-led startups. There’s an entire ecosystem of newly educated minority coders and marketers and writers and financial wizards who are brilliant and nuanced and have different backgrounds and opinions and feelings…and all of that will inevitably lead to staggering innovation and profit. If you’re still doing sound bytes for TechCrunch and VentureBeat talking about how many black friends you have, or Periscoping yourself bumpin’ that new Lil’ Wayne joint in your million $ office, but aren’t writing checks to black founders — and checks the same size as your other deals at that — you’ve dropped the ball, my friend.”
She isn’t challenging investors to donate to a charity. This is about making money. This is about providing funding to a diverse group of people who will bring more innovation and different thinking into each of their companies. Study after study has shown that diverse groups of people outperform homogeneous ones. She has a group of diverse founders who are bringing diverse thinking and they need funding to get their businesses launched. Invest in new ideas. Invest in new thinking. Invest in new people.
If you’re reading this and you aren’t a venture capitalist, you can still make your own change by investing your time and resources into talented people who are very different than you. Be aware of your own blind spots. Hire the best talent. Find a mentorship program. Speak up where you see injustice.