Hire, then Wire with a Twist

Arlan Hamilton has invested millions in more than 195 startups founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs since starting the venture company Backstage Capital in 2015, ranging from a partnership taking on car insurance to a team rethinking how we study electronically. Despite the industry’s diversity, Hamilton says her portfolio firms constantly ask her two questions: “Could you assist us in raising funds?” “Can you assist us with hiring?”

While Hamilton’s fund is a response to the former, her most recent venture is a business that examines the latter, which she established herself. Runner is a labor marketplace that links companies with part-time operational personnel. It aims to alleviate some of the most pressing pressures in early-stage business development, such as determining whether to recruit your first full-time employee, or deciding whether to contract out or create in-house when it comes to hiring. It’s going to start with an emphasis on operational positions.

“If you want to learn how to code or get a career on the more technical side of things,” Hamilton adds, “there are so many places you can go.” “However, where do you go now if you want to be someone’s right hand, COO, or whatever…? Most [businesses] treat it as an afterthought.” Runner isn’t a contrarian in terms of concept. On top of the freelancing economy, Upwork and Fiverr have developed robust companies. What sets the firm apart is who it targets — tech operations professionals — and how it employs them. Every “runner,” or part-time professional looking for a new job, is classified as a W-2 employee by the corporation. Today, there are around 200 runners on the platform.

And, according to Hamilton, the approach has received $1.5 million in pre-seed funding only weeks before Runner is slated to hit the app store. Read my TechCrunch piece for the whole story, including how one group of investors in the firm is raising some fascinating questions: Arlan Hamilton wants to change the way companies employ. Our hearts will flutter for the rest of this message, and then we’ll ride the crypto tidal wave. We’ll also go through the newest SEC filings and my call notes from the previous week. You may help me by sharing this message, following me on Twitter, or subscribing to my personal blog, as usual.

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