About Cover

It all started with a tweet...

Access to Books

Cover 1.0 came about when Arlan Hamilton, Founder + Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in underrepresented tech startup founders, decided to give away copies of startup and investing books to help more people gain access to content that could change their career path.

She recalled, "early on, I wasn't always able to afford a book I wanted, so oftentimes I'd sit for hours at Barnes & Noble and read them, or save up for weeks to buy a particular title."

With a tweet draft completed to kickoff a giveaway to her followers on Twitter, she decided to reach out to Bryan Landers, now a Design Principal + Podcaster at Backstage Capital, to turn the idea into a more robust app with an application and selection process.

Together they launched the project as part of Backstage Capital with the help of Dianne Cherrez, now Special Ops + Videographer at Backstage, handling fulfillment and recipient correspondence, and have given away dozens of books from notable authors and investors to help support entrepreneurs and aspiring investors.

Access to Anything

Cover 2.0 is an independent non-profit organization, which allows us to accept tax-deductible donations from anyone who believes in our mission to extend access to more people.

After receiving a modest estate inheritance, Arlan decided to gift $500 to 10 people to support them in their efforts to achieve something meaningful in their life. The response was overwhelming and beautiful.

The experiment inspired us to model Cover around the idea of gifting $500 to recipients to help them reach their goals. With this new approach, Cover will seek to allow access to knowledge (books, courses...), networks (introductions, memberships...), and opportunities (events, job applications...) to those who are working hard to achieve great things.

Arlan Hamilton

Arlan built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a fund that is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started from scratch in 2015, Backstage has now invested nearly $5m into over 80 startup companies led by underestimated founders. 👊🏾

Dianne Cherrez

Dianne is a wanderer, currently based in Los Angeles. She travels around the world documenting behind-the-scenes at Backstage Capital and how Arlan created a thriving venture capital fund from nothing in our web series, The Bootstrapped VC TV. Dianne received her degree in film production from Full Sail University and has been working in film, television, theater, and misc. arts for over a decade. She met Arlan during a magical night out at their favorite venue in Hollywood, the Hotel Cafe — well, actually they met in the alley behind the Hotel Cafe back in 2005. They have been empowering each other and working together in some capacity ever since. 🤷

Dianne Cherrez

Dianne is a wanderer, currently based in Los Angeles. She travels around the world documenting behind-the-scenes at Backstage Capital and how Arlan created a thriving venture capital fund from nothing in our web series, The Bootstrapped VC TV. Dianne received her degree in film production from Full Sail University and has been working in film, television, theater, and misc. arts for over a decade. She met Arlan during a magical night out at their favorite venue in Hollywood, the Hotel Cafe — well, actually they met in the alley behind the Hotel Cafe back in 2005. They have been empowering each other and working together in some capacity ever since. 🤷

Bryan Landers

Bryan is a Design Principal at Backstage Capital. He also produces + co-hosts Backstage's podcasts. Bryan's past work with startups ranges from helping the early Pinterest team with HTML email campaigns to leading visual design and co-leading product at Zapier (YC S12). He holds a BFA from CalArts and has been a touring + recording banjoist in Nashville, a film/TV composer, and a music editor for the Reba McEntire sitcom.