Deep Dive #8 - Hidden Figures

Cataylysts of entrepreneurship everyone should know.

Hey everyone!

Startup Exchange Deep Dive is a newsletter sharing interesting links and resources we find about various topics in the startup world. We also hope to provide opportunities for people looking to break into startups and tech.

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This week we will be diving into some interesting people building and helping build the next big thing.

Arlan Hamilton 💸

A person that doesn’t understand the word “impossible”. Someone who has been underestimated time and time again. An individual who is relentless in bringing about equality and change. These are all characterizations of Arlan Hamiltion.

Arlan’s journey into VC started with her being a production manager for celebrities and through an encounter with Ashton Kutcher she learned about the world of tech entrepreneurship. Although she initially wanted to start a company of her own, that all changed when she found out only 10% of VC money goes to non-white men. Mind you Arlan had no formal education or experience in entrepreneurship and VC, and dealt with poverty as recently as 2015. But nothing could stop Arlan on her mission to change how VC money was invested.  

She went on to found Backstage Capital to invest in what Arlan coins as “underestimated” founders. This means the fund invests exclusively in women, people of color, and LGBT founders. Arlan is so passionate about helping the underestimated she wrote a book about the many hardships she encountered to break into VC. 

With Arlan leading the charge, many minority-led VCs have launched in recent years such as Harlem Capital and The Zane Venture Fund. With Arlan at the helm, underestimated founders will feel underestimated no more. 

Naval Ravikant 🜎

Philosopher tech bro is the best way to describe Naval Ravikant. Naval is best known for his roles as co-founder of AngelList and as an angel investor. 

The importance of AngelList cannot be understated for how it has changed the tech startup world. Initially, AngelList made it 100x easier for small startups who couldn’t afford to hire recruiters, to be accessible to top talent. But over the years, AngelList has also created new ways for making startup investing more accessible and easier through the development of AngelList Syndicates and AngelList Rolling Funds.

Naval in recent times has also gained quite the reputation as a modern philosopher with his thoughts on everything from wealth creation to happiness to AI. What’s been most interesting about this is that people actually have started living by some of the principles that Naval has outlined. So much so that someone took the time to compile all of Naval’s interviews, tweet storms, etc. into a book.  

Garry Tan 👓

Garry Tan is another example of someone who has persevered to become a prominent figure in the tech world. A son of immigrant parents, Garry got his first job at age 14 to help support his family. 

Where Garry’s entrepreneurial journey really takes off is when he was the lead designer/engineer as an employee  for a company you might have heard of -  Palantir (in this video he actually explains the design thinking behind Palantir’s logo). After that Garry made quantum leaps in his journey. He founded Posterous and joined Y Combinator. Then he would go on to becoming a partner at YC.  And today he is the founder and managing partner of Initialized Capital, through which he has invested in companies such as Coinbase, Instacart, and Reddit to just name a few. 

However another exciting endeavor of Garry’s (that we at SX are big fans of) is his entrance into the world of content creators. For just over a year now, Gary has been distilling his experience and knowledge into YouTube content to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. Highly recommend checking it out!

Jewel Burks Solomon ✨

Jewel Burks Solomon is a force to be reckoned with in the world of startups. An alumna of Howard University, Jewel first started her career at Google where she worked as an enterprise sales associate for Google Cloud. She then left the company to found the Atlanta-based company (!!!), Partpic, which was acquired by Amazon in 2016.

Now Jewel’s startup journey has come full circle it seems as she is now the Head of Google For Startups, U.S. (which is based in Atlanta). Through Google for Startups, Jewel hopes to help build the type of startup ecosystem found in Silicon Valley in other regions as well. By doing this Jewel believes that Google for Startups will be positioned to help more underrepresented founders have breakthroughs in their ventures. 

The Best Roles This Week 🎮


Bloomreach - Software Engineering Intern | The digital experience platform purpose-built for commerce 

Openfin - Product Design Intern | Democratizing app development and distribution in the finance space

Blissway - Software Engineering Intern | Solving highway congestion

Plato - Growth Engineer Intern | Helping engineering + product leaders build soft skills to better lead teams 

Full Time

Initialized Capital - Head of Community | The honey badgers of venture 

a16z - Marketing Coordinator | It’s time to build 

Airtable - Mobile Engineer (iOS) | A no-code backend for your apps

Vanta - Sales Manager | Automated security and compliance readiness