The resignation comes nearly three months after Backstage Capital narrowed its investment strategy to only participate in follow-up rounds of existing portfolios. This staff reduction underscores once again that the venture capital firm is struggling to grow, both externally and internally.
“It’s not that I feel like there’s any kind of failure on the Fund side, on the Company side, on the Backstage side, it’s that this could have been avoided if the systems were different. if the system we work in had been different,” Hamilton said during the podcast.
Hamilton did not respond to londonbusinessblog.com’s email request for further comment.
Backstage announced in March that it would revolve around financing only existing portfolio companies and would no longer make new investments. At the time, Hamilton said that “there will be people who will take this negatively or take this as that we are not active, and that is anything but.”
It’s rare for a company to say it’s growing assets while refusing to make new investments, especially given Comcast’s fresh capital and plans for a $30 million Opportunity Fund. Now we know that Backstage doesn’t have a lot of dry powder left, so it shows a general slowdown at the company.
Speaking to the podcast, Hamilton said the changes have “taken a toll; it’s been a depressing, draining time.” She also said she had been medically burned for at least three years.
Hamilton said she’s grateful for the support so far, but also expressed frustration with LPs, adding that Backstage is in a “purgatory-like position” as some investors feel it already has all the support it needs. However, that is not necessarily the case. Hamilton said Apple told Backstage the fund was too advanced to invest in, while JP Morgan said it wasn’t far enough.https://open.spotify.com/episode/5hUiQN7zj7dZlL2IK8U6To?si=6c10ce7f461748a5
Without more support, it will be difficult to close new investments, put more assets under management and make more follow-up investments, she said.
“Someone asked me, ‘why don’t you manage more?'” she said during the podcast. “You have to ask these LPs, you have to ask these family offices, you have to ask these people who ask me ‘how can I be helpful’ and I say ‘invest in our fund’ and I never hear from them again.”
londonbusinessblog.com has noted that LPs need to take more responsibility for where and to whom their money is spent. Such an impact could be seismic, especially for companies like Hamilton, which specialize in financing overlooked founders. But unfortunately, the lack of support from the top of the VC food chain is creating a knock-on inequality effect – with several fund managers not receiving enough capital, which means several founders are not.
Speaking on the podcast, Hamilton said she still plans to grow Backstage’s assets under management to over $100 million. Because the company “doesn’t have any dry powder at this time,” Hamilton told the founders to look at some of the 26 funds she has invested in as potential investors.
To date, Backstage Capital has invested in 200 companies, all led by historically overlooked founders, and has raised more than $20 million in assets under management in six years. Most recently, Hamilton founded recruiting startup Runner, which raised approximately $1.5 million from a variety of investors, including Backstage Capital itself.
In addition to Hamilton, general partners Christie Pitts and Brittany Davis will remain employed by the main fund. Hamilton said the duo are working on a special project, which she will be announcing shortly.
Current and former Backstage Capital employees can contact Natasha Mascarenhas via email at [email protected] or on Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, at 925 609 4188, or Dominic Madori-Davis at dominic.davis @londonbusinessblog.com.com or on Signal at 646 831 7565.