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2018 Keynote Conversation 

Arlan Hamilton

Founder + Managing Partner
Backstage Capital

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.

Arlan is also tour manager to Atlantic Records recording artist Janine. Having founded and published the internationally distributed indie magazine INTERLUDE, and toured extensively as a live music production professional, she enters the venture investing world from an unconventional path. When she’s not writing about herself in the 3rd person, she enjoys yelling at teenagers from her porch, writing the ‘L Word’ fanfic twitter page @ModernLWord, and watching the [heck] out of some ‘General Hospital’. 

Conversation with 

Cheryl Watkins-Moore

Director, Bioscience & Entrepreneruial Inclusion, BioSTL


Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore is Co-Founder and previous CEO of Accelerated Rehabilitation Technologies, LLC a technology development company focused in the rehabilitation market. Dr. Moore currently serves as the Director, Bioscience Entrepreneurial Inclusion for BioSTL. In this role, Cheryl is responsible for creating processes and programming that will increase the mission impact of BioSTL and the regional bioscience ecosystem by improving the performance and contribution of underrepresented populations in the regional bioscience sector. BioSTL is a nonprofit organization that builds regional capacity, nurtures a collaborative environment, and focuses community leadership and resources to capitalize on the unique convergence of St. Louis‘ corporate, university, and entrepreneurial strengths in medical and plant bioscience. Cheryl was recently appointed Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University Law School, in their Masters of Science in Law Program.


Previously, Dr. Moore served as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) with BioGenerator, a private investment firm created by BioSTL to identify promising technologies/services and facilitate the formation of successful, sustainable life science companies in the St. Louis, MO region. Cheryl has identified and provided mentoring as well as due diligence to early stage organizations with unique technologies in various markets such as asthma, cancer, rehabilitation and physical therapy markets, raising initial capital funding. She was invited by Washington University’s Skandalaris Entrepreneurial Program and Capital Innovators to mentor early stage companies in business analysis and business plan development. Dr. Moore has also served as a judge in several local and national business plan competitions including Washington University’s Skandalaris’ Business Plan Competition, Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest National Tour (St. Louis) and Global Startup Weekend HEALTH:Bio (St. Louis).


Dr. Moore has also served as Vice President/General Manager for the Integrated Biomarker Solutions business initiative of EMD Millipore, the U.S. subsidiary of Merck KGaA. Prior to this role, she served as Vice President/General Manager for EMD Merck Analytics Division, a +$100M chemical and specialty analytics business, where she had full P&L responsibility and managed marketing, sales, technical service, pricing as well as distribution.

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