2020 has been wrought with change — political, cultural, biological (+ murder hornets). We are fighting systemic racial injustices, economic downturns, and a virus that threatens a comeback in the U.S.
As the world has caught on fire, one thing remains clear — we need everyone’s collective brainpower more than ever to continue fighting for change.
At Republic, it is entrenched in our DNA to focus on democratizing access to founders and investors — to work with underestimated founders that have few options for funding. and the 97% of America that have been locked out of a valuable asset . We launched our Republic Venture Partner program at the very beginning of this new era to bring our fiercest friends and allies into the fight. Yet our mission only became more relevant as the VC industry as a whole began to collectively have more honest discussions about topics we’ve been championing such as race and equity. This was not news to us, but it was about time to bring these inequities to light and take action.
So let’s be clear on what we accomplished with our inaugural VP1s in the past 3 months:
- Inspired & contributed to the $75k Republic BLM pledge to support black founders that raise on our platform. For transparency, $25k has already been allocated to black founded companies currently onboarding in the past month alone (corporates interested in supporting underrepresented founders, please let us know).
- Advocated for SEC changes (shoutout to Brandon Andrews & Harold Hughes!) & spreading the word about the COVID-19 Offering changes.
- Sourced dealflow that have been accepted to the Republic platform (less than 1% acceptance rate) with ~65% underrepresented founders and hailing from our Republic Cities, Atlanta & Austin.
- Celebrated internal wins! Ex: Namrata became Director of VentureBridge Accelerator at Carnegie Mellon Swartz Center, Christy became President of Launchpad2x for women founders, and other wins not publicly disclosed).
- Promoting access for all founders to explore alternatives to VC
- Had an alpaca party (see below)
And we’re just getting started.
When we launched the program. we received a wave of support from the community and influx of applications (I will not list my email this time, the form is at the end). I had virtual lunches with folks across the country who were in such diverse ecosystems that eagerly look for alternatives like Republic to offer their companies. Prospective candidates booked all my meeting times of the following months and we accepted less than 20% of folks that were interested in the Venture Partner program. Several folks are slated to join our final cohort in the fall.
Our VP2s are truly those that have embodied the Republic mission from day one. They are challenging norms, some just by being themselves and giving back to founders that are underestimated. Further expanding our Republic cities effort through our second cohort, we now have Republic City Leads in Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. They are joining us in a time when we cannot be physically connected across the U.S. but we virtually represent.
TLDR? Less talking, more action. And with that, please welcome the incoming 30 new venture partners of Republic.
Ana Gonzalez (Miami City Lead)
Ana Gonzalez is the Head of Global Ecosystem Development at 500 Startups, where she leads accelerator programs and other tech ecosystem development initiatives in partnership with corporates, governments and foundations around the world. Previously, Ana spent 4 years at New Ventures helping to build out the impact investing field in Latin America.
Ana started her career at BCG working mostly in Private Equity both on the buy, sell sides and performing and DD for LPs. Ana holds an MBA from Columbia Business School with honors and a Bachelor in International Business from Tec de Monterrey with honors.
Chaarvi has woven her professional journey extensively around social entrepreneurship, impact investing and ecosystem building. Chaarvi is currently a VC associate at the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. While fulltime assessing impactful investment opportunities for AmFam, she also mentors women entrepreneurs in South-East Asia and curates/develops content for a podcast geared towards social entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
She has led diligence of companies in Vietnam, created social impact measurement standards for a venture fund, led accelerator-corporate partnerships and fundraised for a social incubator and impact investment fund. She also co-founded a company that worked with handicrafts people in rural and semi-urban India to increase their access to markets for better livelihood opportunities.
Chase Ross Emanuel
Chase is a former founder turned business developer with public and private sector experience across the future of work spectrum. He recently joined the East Coast Partnerships team at Carta where he is responsible for building strong channel relationships with VCs, accelerators, law firms, accounting firms, founder-focused communities and service providers.
Before joining Carta Chase led partnerships at Galvanize NYC, a 60,000 sqft technology hub that housed over 50 venture-backed startups, four VC firms, three F500 innovation labs, and two accelerator programs all under one roof. Chase also served in strategic partnerships roles in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech + Innovation and The Knowledge House before taking a shot at his own startup, TravelQ, which combined savings automation and metasearch data to calculate when you and friends could afford to take a trip together.
Claire has worked in impact investing for more than a decade, serving in research, investment, product management, and sales roles in London, Toronto, Singapore, Amsterdam, and San Francisco. She is currently a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners and serves on the Fintech Selection Committee for EvoNexus Silicon Valley. As a member of the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center’s Young Executive Advisory Board, she drove the mission to support entrepreneurs globally, with a particular focus on social enterprises.
Claire was most recently Director of ESG & Impact Product at OpenInvest, a venture-backed fintech startup. Prior to OpenInvest, she led the Wells Fargo Social Impact Investing team’s ESG work, and held research and sales roles at MSCI ESG Research and Sustainalytics. Claire holds an MBA from Berkeley-Haas, and MA From King’s College London, and a Licence from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She speaks French and Spanish fluently; her Mandarin is a work in progress.
Desiree Vargas Wrigley
Desiree Vargas Wrigley is founder of Pearachute, a company that helps parents and children drop into the best family activities in town. Prior to launching Pearachute, Desiree co-founded GiveForward, the world’s leading crowd giving platform for people facing a major life event. Under her leadership, the company helped friends and family contribute nearly $160M to loved ones in need.
After graduating from Yale, Desiree worked at the Kauffman Foundation as a specialist in entrepreneurship and at Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors. Most recently, she taught New Venture Discovery at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Desiree has been named Inc’s 30 Under 30, Crain’s 40 Under 40, one of Parents Magazine’s Most Inspiring Moms, one of Forbe’s Women to Watch, and has appeared on Shark Tank, closing one of the largest deals on the show to date. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her 2 young sons, stepdaughter, and crime-fighting husband.
A NY native, Dimitris Kouvaros is currently the Director of Strategy at Stojo, the first collapsible & portable lifestyle brand, making reuse easy. Previously he was a VC at the Creator Fund (WeWork’s VC arm) and also worked closely with startups at WeWork Labs.
Prior to that, he was a VC at Newark Venture Partners where he also ran their accelerator. Dimitris also co-founded a media company called Live! From Tomorrow, worked at a startup called Placemeter (Techstars NYC ‘13), and was at Silicon Valley Bank working with early stage startups and investors. He loves to build communities and helped grow Startup Weekend NYC in its early days.
Eduardo Zaldivar (Dallas City Lead)
Eduardo is a Texas native, born and raised just outside Fort Worth. After feeling the entrepreneurial itch, Eduardo left Deloitte and joined, as one of the first employees, Zyston — a high-growth cybersecurity startup. He worked with and reported directly to client C-Suite executives at organizations as large as $5 billion in revenue and across multiple industries including healthcare, cloud computing, retail, private equity, and real estate. Eduardo helped grow Zyston to over $10M in ARR before joining TXV Partners, an early stage venture capital firm based in Texas.
At TXV, Eduardo brought his significant experience developing executive-level strategies, building high-tech companies, and working with global organizations across multiple industries. He primarily focused on portfolio company management, investment due diligence, and building out the firm’s strategic partnerships. Eduardo invested in companies alongside firms such as Founders Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Studio VC. He currently deferred his start at Stanford Business School for 2021 and will be working with the Republic team on sourcing more companies from the area.
Enyi is a founding member of the Imaginable Futures team, an impact investing firm spun out of Omidyar Network, and is focused on for-profit and non-profit education investments in the US, Latin America, and Africa. Prior to Imaginable Futures, Enyi worked on the investment team at Village Capital, an early-stage impact-focused venture fund and accelerator. As an Impact Fellow with Bridge International Academies, Enyi drove the development process for Bridge’s first cohort of primary schools in Nigeria.
Enyi began his career by founding a social enterprise, Legendary Tutors, focused on providing high-quality test prep and college admissions consulting to underestimated high school students in the south side of Chicago. Enyi received his MBA from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard University. Enyi is based in the Bay Area, and enjoys baking, longform journalism, and tennis.
Erika co-founded StitchCrew and partnered with their local NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder to launch an accelerator and to connect entrepreneurs with capital, resources and networks.
Erika began her career facilitating the establishment and in-country operation of several international manufacturing companies in Mexico. Prior to launching StitchCrew, Erika worked at a private equity firm with investments in the U.S. and Europe. Before that she was Global Director at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, where she helped establish the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) unit. She often speaks about the missed opportunity of investing in women and people of color, how technology is making a large portion of our workforce obsolete as well as the economic contributions of immigrants.
Gerald is currently an investor at Aflac’s $400m strategic fund, focusing on insurtech, fintech, and digital health, investing in Series A/B rounds. He spends most of his time in the healthcare and diagnostics space. Previously, he was a Fellow with Towerview Ventures, the Duke affiliate of the AVG network.
Prior to that he led strategy and corporate development at a biotech manufacturing firm, and raised capital on the founder side of the table as the COO of a startup in the proptech/real estate space. Gerald received an LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship from Duke Law and his JD and International MBA from the University of South Carolina. He plays basketball and soccer and enjoys travel, writing and figuring out what the future might look like.
Jackie Hyland (Los Angeles City Lead)
Passionate about solving the world’s largest problems, Jackie has worked with startups and venture capital investing for the last 10 years in emerging markets and the United States. She currently is a fellow at On Deck, working on her next entrepreneurial endeavor.
Over the last two years, Jackie launched the Mexico City operations for a55, a Series A revenue-based lender in Latin America, supporting the underwriting of over $20M in loans to high-growth technology companies. Prior to a55, Jackie was Director of Latin America at Silicon Valley Bank where she managed relationships with over 400 technology and venture capital funds in Latin America and supported a variety of venture debt deals. Prior to SVB, she led seed-stage fintech investments in Latin America with Accion Venture Lab, the leading impact investing fund focused on financial inclusion. Jackie Hyland is an active startup mentor and currently serves as an angel investor and advisor to a variety of technology companies.
John is a Senior Associate at Owl Ventures where he focuses on venture and growth investments in education and workforce businesses and supports several portfolio companies as a board observer. Previously, John was an investor with Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) where he focused on control investments in middle market software businesses. John was also an investor at KEC Ventures focused on seed, Series A, and fund-of-funds investments in the education, healthcare, and supply chain sectors.
John began his career as a robotics application developer at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a hereditary disease research organization, where he developed software used to anonymize, analyze and select cell sample donors. He serves as a mentor for several startups and accelerator programs including TechStars and Start Ed. He received a B.Sc in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University. John lives in Oakland where he supports a group of Nigerian technologists looking to build technology businesses in Africa. He is also an enthusiastic cook and football fan (Go Giants)!
Lee Fan is the Founding Partner of Hunter Pacific Fund and brings a unique blend of operational skills, financial expertise, and strategic advisory to venture investing. She was most recently the CFO of GrubMarket as a cross functional strategy executive, with over fourteen years of finance and venture experience on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.
Prior to her entrepreneurial calling, Lee was the Senior Vice President at ZZ Ventures, where she led investments in disruptive technology startups. And before that, she had a successful career in investment banking with Morgan Stanley, Evercore Partners, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York and Palo Alto.
Lee holds a B.S. degree in Economics from Duke University and an MBA from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania with dual concentrations in Finance and Strategic Management. Lee lives in San Francisco with her dog Panda.
Lolita Taub is a first-gen Latinx woman going on 14 yrs in tech, with +$50M of sales and 11 angel + 26 VC investments under her belt, and is on a mission to create a world where tech is created by and for the diversity of our population. To make it happen, she finds ways to use her superpower of connecting people and resources to get results for everybody.
That’s led her to all her current roles: tech startup investor, founder, operator, and side-hustler. She loves doing it all but it’s a lot of work. So, to refresh, she does walks-and-talks with her husband Josh, watch Netflix in my PJs, travel, and treat myself to quiet Sunday mornings accompanied by an extra-hot soy latte. You can read more or reach out to her on Twitter .
Mahoney is a people pollinator who plays at the intersection of emergent technology, circular systems and environmental impact. Mahoney sees the power of the crypto community in motion and is a part of a multitude of blockchain projects. She serves as an advisor to Blockchain for Science and also a founding member of Team Block Society.
Throughout her career, she’s helped numerous startups grow and create momentum in early stage venture + equity crowdfunding. She’s been all over the world, from China, Pacific Islands, Hong Kong, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and the US. She has traversed and speaks to the worlds of web3, climate, Fintech, government, law and open source tech, and is determined to get the world closer to a thriving, regenerative economy.
Manoj is an early-stage investor and former operator focused on helping exceptional founders build their businesses as apart of Type One Ventures. He focuses on working with companies seed-Series A who are looking to advance humanity. Outside of his work at the fund, he advises and supports talented young founders scale their companies and fundraise.
Prior to his work in venture capital, he worked as the Head of Operations for a social impact fund called Carbon Global Group scaling out internal initiatives and assisting portfolio companies. He also held product and growth-related roles at venture-backed startups like Esusu and Goodpoint. As a lifelong Bay Area resident, you’ll find him enthusiastic cheering on the San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors.
Melissa Hamilton (Chicago City Lead)
Melissa is a champion of innovation and emerging technologies and enjoys working with startups to develop solution scale strategies. She successfully teaches companies how to create and realize long-term value and communicate impactful stories by leveraging data and analytics.
Prior to working in the venture space, Melissa amassed expertise in investment strategies, as an executive who advised senior leaders of Fortune companies on organic and inorganic growth opportunities, and product strategies, as a leader who worked cross-functionally with business and technology teams on product launches.
Melissa has a passion for community service and is an engaged philanthropist. She currently spends her time and talents as a Board Director for two nonprofit organizations, MAPSCorps and Social Venture Partners Chicago. Melissa is an alumna of both the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is a licensed CPA in Illinois and Missouri.
Miki Reynolds (Los Angeles City Lead)
Miki Reynolds is the Executive Director of Grid110, an early stage startup accelerator and community development non-profit she co-founded in 2014. She has 15 years of experience working in tech, ranging from digital marketing and creative services to software development and e-commerce.
After managing digital projects at global entertainment corporations like MGM Studios and 20th Century Fox, and heading up operations/product for a software development startup, she launched the Downtown LA location for tech education company General Assembly. Miki’s current role at Grid110 focuses on building a more diverse startup ecosystem in Los Angeles, fostering community, and connecting the dots for entrepreneurs through access to mentoring and critical resources.
Miki has accepted commendations from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on behalf of General Assembly and Grid110, has been recognized by LA Biz Journal as a Woman of Influence, was named to Techweek’s #Techweek100 and sits on advisory councils for two of the Mayor’s diversity & inclusion initiatives: PledgeLA and WiSTEM LA. Miki is a proud UCLA alum, taco fiend, rescue dog owner x2, and passionate advocate for the Los Angeles startup community.
Natalia Martinez-Kalinina (Miami City Lead)
Natalia is an organizational psychologist & strategist focused on merging innovation, entrepreneurship, & community impact. She focuses on creating connected communities and vibrant ecosystems, most recently by leading the expansion of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) from Boston to Miami, seeking to deepen & nuance the conversation about entrepreneurship, & building tangible bridges to innovation hubs and Latin America.
In addition to her professional trajectory, Natalia is the founder of Awesome Foundation MIAMI, which has awarded $110K+ in grants to small, grassroots ideas across Miami. She is also the founder of Aminta Ventures, an educational vehicle focused on educating and empowering professional and philanthropic women to become angel investors. Most recently, Natalia has spearheaded the launch of a nonpartisan, grassroots campaign called Immigrant Powered. The mission behind the project is three-fold: to highlight the positive economic impact of immigrants in our communities, to empower ‘immigrant powered’ businesses, and to connect small/medium businesses with opportunities for advocacy around responsible immigration policy.
Noorjit is an early-stage investor at Plug and Play Ventures, based in the Bay Area. His focuses are around the future of work, financial services, and healthcare. Particularly of interest right now are how we build communities, both social and professional, and the infrastructural changes that are urged by this pandemic.
Current investments (sourced & led diligence on) include WorldCover, Join, Cobalt, Censia, Agentero, Macrometa, Golden, Coral, Brighthive, Clearlaw, EvolutionIQ, and Surround. He has a BA from UCSD and JD from UChicago.
Noreen is currently an early stage investor working at a fund in Silicon Valley and is looking for opportunities across any industry. Noreen graduated from UC Davis with a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry before moving into a product management position at ViVita Technologies. Her experience included a wide range of working in biotech, biodevice, and telehealth markets. These experiences helped translate to her current investing expertise and she continues to focus her efforts on energy investing. Noreen also works with a number of organizations, including Chemistry for the Globe, Virmani Education Trust, and Sangha Seeds, as they look to improve healthcare, poverty, hunger, and other problems in India.
Orrin Ailloni-Charas, MD, MBA
Dr. Ailloni-Charas is the CEO and Managing Partner of the Global Health Impact Fund(GHIF), a venture fund focused on investing in early stage healthcare innovation. The GHIN is physician-led and physician-driven and leverages the expertise of large networks of physicians and domain experts with its proprietary, data science platform. The insights and experiences of the physician leaders, filter through the analytical engine provide the basis for improved investing outcomes by allowing for better understanding of the clinical and business challenges early stage healthcare startups encounter.
Dr. Ailloni-Charas draws on his experience of 25 years in the clinical practice of anesthesia at top medical institutions as well as lessons learned as an investment leader and physician network builder in the early and mid-stage healthcare vertical.
Pedro Sostre (Miami City Lead)
Pedro Sostre is leading innovation and startups in Miami. He was an entrepreneur for 18 years and is a 3x founder focused on branding, growth, and product.
He recently led the early stage startup program for WeWork in Miami and is a regular speaker and author.After his last exit in 2016, he started mentoring startups and he’s developed a framework for getting from ideation to validation to product market fit. He currently implements these processes through a new startup incubator called WebLift for Startups, headquartered in Miami, FL, but working with startups globally. He also advises organizations of all sizes on branding, digital transformation, and innovation through his consulting firm, WebLift.
Peter is a founding partner with University Growth Fund (UGF), an innovative early and growth stage equity fund that gives students hands-on experience evaluating and making investment decisions. In that role, he assists with all operations the fund, but loves working with entrepreneurs and mentoring students the most. Prior to UGF, Peter helped run University Venture Fund as principal, a very similar student-run venture fund to UGF.
Over his investing career, he has been fortunate to invest in over 50 companies across a wide range of sectors, including firms such as Instructure, Spotify, Carta, Flexport, Simplus, Privé Revaux, etc. In addition to his work in venture, Peter has consulted non-profits, governments, and corporations on use of the microfranchise business model as a tool for poverty alleviation. This work has resulting in the launch and growth of over 10 microfranchises across Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, impacting thousands of individuals at the bottom of the pyramid. He holds an honors double major in Economics and International Business from Brigham Young University.
Pranavi is an Associate at Acceleprise Ventures — a pre-seed and seed stage B2B SaaS focused venture fund and accelerator in SF, NYC and Toronto. She works across the Toronto and New York City deal teams in evaluating new investments, managing the deal pipelines and sourcing new deals for the fund and supporting the accelerator.
Prior to Acceleprise, Pranavi was most recently doing early stage investing at VU Venture Partners, an early stage fund in the Bay Area and RBC Capital Markets doing sales & trading. Pranavi is deeply passionate about enabling and supporting minority founders and hopes to use her platform at Republic to be able to do more of the same. When she’s not on back to back zoom calls for work, she is busy binge watching the latest trashy TV show on Netflix, being a semi-professional lurker on Twitter, and screaming at her TV during presidential debates and election news cycles.
Rashida Bobb is the owner and managing director of Bricks Health, which advises investors and stealth startups on product-market fit, operations, and BD strategy. Rashida is focused on building companies that positively advance the digitalization of healthcare and other traditional industries. Rashida’s experience includes roles in VC and business growth strategy, with domain expertise within digital health, wearables, wellness, and SaaS.
After having a successful career with healthcare corporations both in the US and Europe (i.e., Bayer, Pfizer, ExpressScripts), she has shifted her operational expertise to exponentially scaling startups from the investment side or directly for startups. Rashida is passionate about diversifying the venture capital and start-up health system. Thus, she carves time to mentor start-up leaders that are female identifying and or people of color. Rashida has mentored and led multiple successful startups during crucial growth points and is currently an advisor to SXSW, Springboard Enterprises, CTIP and other startup ecosystems.
Shalini is a human centered designer & researcher, social impact consultant, angel investor and an educator with over 15 years of experience in diverse areas of design. Since 2014, her work is focused on gender equality. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors and SheEO, a global community of women transforming the way women-led ventures are funded and supported.
Shalini is also the founder of Impact By Women, an organization that helps women entrepreneurs succeed by matching them with values-aligned investors while providing the support they need during this process. As an investor, she saw the challenges and biases female founders face while raising capital which in turn discouraged new entrepreneurs to enter the arena. Wanting to change this experience, she created Impact By Women to help women find values-aligned investors and build an ecosystem of support.
Sherrick (Rick) T. Wassel
Rick is an experienced innovation, strategy, new ventures & corporate development executive with a career focused in healthcare and financial services. As a Board Leadership Fellow with the NACD, he supports innovative and transformative early to growth stage companies globally on boards and as an advisor.
Rick currently serves as a corporate vice president with AdventHealth headquartered in Orlando and is responsible for leading and managing the system’s innovation and partnering strategies. After working in financial services and banking with Merrill Lynch and Prudential Securities, he joined AdventHealth twenty-four years ago to lead various new ventures and corporate development initiatives. He’s had the opportunity to develop new international partnerships with leading healthcare organizations in Dublin, Berlin, Milan, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Riyadh. His specific interests are with transformational and system problems being solved at the intersection of AI, DLT/blockchain, fintech, deep tech, cybersecurity and healthcare, biotech & life sciences.
Terrance Orr (Chicago City Lead)
Terrance is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at SAP.iO, the venture capital arm of SAP that invests in small, entrepreneurial teams to build and launch products from the ground up. In this role, Terrance will explore, evaluate, and pilot solutions to big problems in enterprise software, using SAP’s unique position and differentiated data sources to transform industries. Prior to SAP.iO, Terrance was a Venture Capital Associate at Global X Ventures (now Eonxi), a startup studio and venture fund focusing on eSports, gaming, and immersive technology. Additionally, he advised early-stage companies on business development and growth at Techstars Chicago, the worldwide seed accelerator that helps entrepreneurs succeed across 150+ countries. He is an Advisory Board Member at The Entrepreneurial Suite, a committee member for BLCK VC Investor Relations, and was recognized on the HBCUvc 31 under 31 list in venture capital.
Prior to supporting founders and building ecosystems, Terrance spent nearly 7 years in the Northeast, working at Dell Technologies in Product Management, Business Development, and Strategic Consulting. During that time, he earned a reputation as an “”intrapreneur”” by helping executives start new business functions, conceptualize novel business models, and drive post-merger integration projects during the largest acquisition in technology history (Dell and EMC).
Will Stringer (Los Angeles City Lead)
Will Stringer is founder and CEO of Chisos, an early stage alternative investment company utilizing a convertible income share agreement to invest at the earliest stages of business ideation and formation. He is an angel investor and advisor in the fintech industry, specifically focusing on payments and blockchain companies.
Previously, Will was an advisor to a global payments company working to digitize gold and bring transparency to the gold supply chain. Will also worked on the investment team at Cockrell Interests, a single family office based in Texas where he managed all phases of illiquid investment execution including sourcing, diligence and ongoing portfolio management.
Prior to Cockrell, Will was an Analyst in the Energy Investment Banking Group of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Will graduated with high honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.B.A. in Finance and Business Honors.
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