Venture Firm Backstage Capital Laid Off Nine Employees, Reducing Its Staff to Just Three

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Venture Firm Backstage Capital Laid Off Nine Employees, Reducing Its Staff to Just Three
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Venture firm Backstage Capital laid off nine employees, reducing its staff to just three.

Managing partner and founder Arlan Hamilton announced the layoffs Sunday on her “Your First Million” podcast. General partners Christie Pitts and Brittany Davis, along with Hamilton, are the only remaining employees, TechCrunch reported. The move comes only three months after the Los Angeles-based firm said it would only fund existing portfolio companies.


“It’s not that I feel like there’s any sort of failure on the fund side, on the firm’s side, on Backstage’s side, it’s that this could have been avoided if…the system we work within were different,” Hamilton said during the podcast.

Hamilton founded Backstage in 2015 to highlight underrepresented founders and launched a crowdfunding campaign last year to draw in everyday investors. The company announced its plan to raise $30 million for a new fund, bringing in $1 million from Comcast. Having invested in 200 companies, Backstage announced in March that it would not be making new investments.

Hamilton said Backstage’s situation is a “purgatory kind of position,” with companies saying the fund was either too developed or not developed enough to invest in. However, in an email sent to stakeholders, she said she is “optimistic about the next 18 months.”

The firm still intends to grow its assets under management to over $100 million as Hamilton looks for backing from to the 26 funds she has invested in for backing. Hamilton said the company does not “have dry powder right now,” which points to the firm’s struggle to grow.

The news comes during a wave of layoffs across Los Angeles, with companies like Voyage SMS, Albert and Bird letting go of employees.

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