Since its launch Backstage Capital Company in 2015, Arlan Hamilton has invested millions in more than 195 companies led by underrepresented founders, from two who took car insurance to a team that reconsidered how we learn. Aside from the scope of the business, Hamilton says he is frequently asked two questions by his portfolio companies:
“Can you help us raise money? Also, “Can you help us with the hiring?”
Although Hamilton’s bag is the answer to the first, his latest bet – made by Hamilton himself – is a start that checks the latest. Runner is a job market that links startups and jobs for people looking for a part-time job. It seeks to combat the biggest conflicts in the early stages of construction, such as deciding when to hire your first talent head, or deciding what to hire, or what to build in the house when it comes to staffing. . It starts with a clear focus on the functional areas.
“There are many places you can go if you want to learn to write code or if you want to get a job as a professional,” said Hamilton. “But where do you go right now if you want to be the right hand of someone else, COO, etc. … Is a recent view for many. [companies]. ”
In theory, the Runner does not argue. Upwork and Fiverr have built strong businesses in the freelancer economy. What’s different about launching, however, is who they are – people’s technological activities – and how they use them. Every “runner” or temporary professional who wants to get a new gig is employed by the company under category W-2. About 200 runners are on the platform today, including those familiar with corporate roles or former businessmen who are looking for alternative sources of income.
Many current executives in the company first joined as runners. For example, head of customer success Melanie Jones joined the forum after spending time as a product manager in the dental network. Less than a month later, he was hired as an executive, along with other athletes who made responsible decisions at the company. Separately, Boeing CEO Diana Moore joined as COO four months ago.
For Hamilton, Runner returns to the vision he was working on before he broke into. Prior to Backstage, Hamilton was a production consultant and tourist manager for artists (he continues to incorporate music references into his career as an investor). While in that role, he often worked with runners, or local experts, who could assist right away to make things happen while they were on the road. While building Backstage, he began using runners in his life, hiring people to get one-day help while meeting founders across the country.
After the investor saw the interaction between this role in the production world and the love of flexibility technology, he created Runner, with a logo and everything.
“We were building Backstage, we had no resources, because COVID had not yet happened, people were very confused about its vision,” he said. “So it was one of those white board ideas.” Now, almost two years into the ongoing epidemic, the market is ready.
The company’s business model is a 25% reduction in the runner’s hour value. Additionally, if a runner is hired by a customer to join him or her in full, the customer must pay 10% rent for the first-year runner.
Unlike Backstage, which seeks to improve the way money is distributed and to whom, Runner does not build under the guise of helping companies hire less well-represented talent – Hamilton’s choice, interesting, because he did not want to “pull the pigeonhole” company.
“It would have been really easy for us to just separate ourselves as a DEI leasing company, but we didn’t want to be responsible for that – it should be everyone’s responsibility,” he said. That means, today, all Runner executives come from backgrounds that were historically neglected.
Before moving to the waiting list model to better address the need, Runner protected 120 driver customers with a running price of $ 500,000. Its action plan will be launched on March 15, 2022.
In terms of financial support, Hamilton started the company and, within the first 100 days, raised an angel’s $ 500,000 circular fund. Recently, Runner extended its pre-$ 1.5 million seed cycle to SAFE note with an undisclosed amount.
Backstage of that round includes Precursor, Lunar Startups, Fadada Klein of Kapor Capital, 360 Venture Collective and Gaingels. A group of Backstage Capital, Backstage Flex Fund II and Backstage Opportunity Fund I, also invested in the initiative.
It is rare to see investors investing their wallet in the company they started, but, as Hamilton notes, it makes sense when you consider Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures investing in his company, Bright, or David Sacks’ Craft Ventures investing in his sound. company. However, it can create a conflict of interest if the company’s decision-makers feel pressured to invest in a medical company, because they are doctors.
Hamilton was part of an investment committee that decided to invest in Runner, but also gave each person the authority to make independent decisions, he said. He also added that the eight-page memorandum of understanding – which runs through challenges, opportunities and spaces – was written by Backstage partner Brittany Davis, and included Kelly Lei, without modification. The Runner Team provided a playground.
“It is my job to be honest with the company to bring back the returns, and it is my job as CEO of Runner to bring in the best investment partners as possible. I have done both, ”Hamilton added on Twitter DM. Another balance in consolidation is that any Backstage portfolio company that runs Runner does not have to pay a 25% service fee, or the amount that goes to the company’s revenue and operations.
“Our goal is to have 1,000 or more students by the end of the year and make an average of $ 40,000,” said Hamilton. “[Then] we are a billionaire. ”