Milestone 100 - Meet Republic’s VP4 Venture Partner Cohort
The Republic Venture Partner program began with the vision to bring together VCs that were focused on leveling the playing field for underrepresented founders while also finding new partners to amplify their pursuits. Starting with an initial cohort of 30 partners, the Venture Partner program was remarkable thanks to the remarkable people that joined each incoming cohort. Since starting in April 2020, we have had Venture Partners hire each other, send deals that others led syndicates for, and celebrate wins when their peers raised funds or were promoted to new titles.
Thanks to the power of word-of-mouth growth and the popularity of the program, we had a backlog of venture capitalists that were eager to be a part of this movement. This influx of interest brought us to a fork in the road - do we grow this community exponentially to take the mission of inclusivity to the extreme? Or do we continue to build a curated community to which we can give our personalized attention, especially as we grow? For this, we needed a clear leader to take the reins and scale the program in a mindful way. We brought on Heather Buffo, Venture Growth and Partnerships Lead, to take the program to the next level.
With her guidance, we have rolled out new initiatives based on feedback from our VPs. We created the VP Living room to provide flexible space for VPs to exchange ideas and collaborate on solving the myriad challenges in the VC ecosystem. Thirty of our Venture Partners became mentors to our Venture Fellows, the inaugural cohort of undergraduate leaders who will be blazing new trails in venture.*
We are proud to announce that in less than a year we have reached an incredible milestone: with the introduction of the VP4 cohort, Republic Venture Partners are more than 100 strong. The 100 milestone is a major accomplishment in that it reflects the growing appetite for VC to be more collaborative than competitive. This newest cohort is stronger than ever, made up of veterans of the VC space adding to the diversity of the Venture Partner program, which is 43% women and 57% POC. They span generations and geographies, hailing from 40 cities in seven countries. They are makers and doers, and together we are on a mission to democratize private investing.
We cannot wait for you to meet them. Follow @joinrepublic on Twitter for upcoming VP4 partner spotlights - you don’t want to miss what these incredible leaders are working on.
If you are interested in joining these movers and shakers as part of the VP5 cohort, apply here.
*The next cohort of Venture Fellows will also include Venture Associates, MBA students ready to break into VC alongside emerging university graduates. Eligible students can apply for those programs here.
Adam started his first business as an undergraduate at Princeton and raised a small round immediately after graduation. It was his experience fundraising that inspired him to found Open Scout and build tools for founders with the mission to displace the need for warm introductions. As a first step towards that goal, Open Scout launched a non-exclusive scout program on 33 campuses where the scouts are focused on helping founders fundraise rather than helping investors source. The program is made up of students in leadership roles within their entrepreneurial communities and is non-exclusive in that they aim to share deal flow openly with whoever is relevant rather than with one firm or group of firms exclusively. Having noticed the logistical challenges of sharing deal flow at this scale early on, they set out to build their first tool for founders: OnePager. OnePager empowers founders to tell their whole story through a single URL with share settings and analytics built in. When he's not building tools for founders, Adam (almost) exclusively drinks pink cocktails and is thinking about his next meal.
Andrew loves working with people who have grit and want to build, regardless of what’s being built. Emerging technologies interest him the most (i.e., the application of quantum across financial services), but he specializes in FinTech and enterprise software. In a past life Andrew helped build a seed stage bio-tech startup, as well as focused on ecosystem development and corporate development across both Europe and the U.S. for Fidelity Investments. Externally he blogs (andrewcasey.me), hosts a weekly interview with FinTech founders on Clubhouse (shoutout to FinTech Fridays!), and is also a Scout for Clearbanc. Currently he is within the Corporate Development team at Vanguard.
Aneri manages Corporate Venture Capital partnerships at Elemental Excelerator - a climate tech growth accelerator based in Hawaii & California. She was the Founder and Executive Director of ENVenture (acquired by New Energy Nexus), an award-winning incubator that finances and trains rural cooperatives in Uganda to start clean energy businesses and has over a decade of experience working in 15 countries in Africa and Asia on technology adoption, focusing on clean energy entrepreneurship and Fintech. Formerly, she worked at Facebook on their Sustainability and Connectivity Lab, prototyping new social impact technologies. Previously, she served as an Energy Access Officer at the United Nations Foundation, spearheading grassroots entrepreneur mobilization for the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. She is highly skilled at creating and managing strategic partnerships, building community & networks, and running business development. She has been recognized for her contributions as Renewable Energy World’s Top 40 under 40 in solar, winner of the Vodafone Wireless Innovation Prize, Nasdaq Milestone Maker, an American Express Emerging Innovator, Cordes Fellow, and member of Forbes Nonprofit Council. She has a Masters in Environment & Development from the London School of Economics and a Bachelors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Brian is the Founder of Crowdwise.org and VentureWallet.co, works as a part-time software developer for Kingscrowd, and is an active angel investor in over 110 startups through equity crowdfunding. Brian holds a dual M.S. degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. After working as an engineering lead and manager at a Fortune 500 company for 10 years, Brian left the defense and aerospace industry to embark as an entrepreneur and founded Crowdwise in 2019. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA) and also on the Board of Directors for ingenuityNE (NE FIRST), whose mission is to support and inspire the next generation of innovators in STEM fields. Brian is an advisor to various startups in the equity crowdfunding industry. Brian loves learning new subjects, traveling the world, being outdoors, meeting new people, building software products, and investing in startups.
An Alabama native, Cordelro Brown joined Founder Gym in 2017 as the company's first Fellow. Founder Gym is the first online training program specifically designed to help underrepresented tech startup founders raise money to scale their startups. Cordelro has advanced to playing key roles in the company's cohort operations, marketing, and digital engagement activities.
David is an investor in emerging consumer product and retail brands. As an Associate at Alliance Consumer Growth, a consumer-focused growth equity firm, David works with partner companies to grow their businesses from early-stage all the way through exit. Previously he worked as an investment banking analyst in the Consumer & Retail group at Rothschild & Co, where he advised clients on mergers and acquisitions. David attended Princeton University where he studied History and played on the Sprint Football team. In his spare time he enjoys trying out new food & beverage products and experimenting in the kitchen.
Esham is an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company. He graduated from Princeton University concentrating in Politics with certificates in East Asian and African Studies and recently finished his Master's in China via the Schwarzman Scholarship. He has previously worked in investment banking and venture capital and is a Venture Scout for Rarebreed VC. Esham is 23 years old, was raised in the United States, and has strong roots in West Africa and Scandinavia. He is an early admit to Harvard Business School and plans to enroll sometime in the next few years.
Eugene Yi is currently an Associate at Springdale Ventures, an Austin-based CPG fund investing in Seed/Series A companies. He is also a Venture Fellow for Blue Ivy Ventures, an Alumni Ventures Group fund, and a Principal for GoingVC Partners. Previously, he was a Program Manager at Google working on developing large enterprise cloud workloads and worked very closely with venture partners and startups through the Google Cloud for Startups program. Prior to that, Eugene began his career working in technology at Amazon. He received his BA in Economics from Yale University. In his free time, Eugene can be found playing golf badly and reading.
Henry was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in English, and worked as an intern at ICONIQ Capital in California before joining Palm Drive Capital in New York City. He has 3.5 years of VC experience and is excited to work with Republic to democratize startup investing access.
Hunter is a first-generation graduate of Claremont McKenna College and Venture for America Fellow passionate about supporting entrepreneurs, economic development, and advancing technology through investment. Hunter has worked across the world as an investment and operational analyst for mission-driven startups and firms which include CrowdStrike, Pago Rural, the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator, Kata Capital Partners, Tuesday Capital, T-Bird Capital, and Red Cedar Ventures. Hunter hopes to utilize these experiences and insights to support Republic in democratizing the venture capital asset class.
Jeremy is a Chicago-based author, entrepreneur and business builder that believes entrepreneurship and innovation are the catalysts of a sustainable economy. He is fortunate to have had a dynamic career that includes growth-focused roles in the professional sports, retail, commercial real estate, and startup innovation industries. He has also been a team manager, P&L leader, corporate strategist and startup mentor. Jeremy is also pursuing his MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson College.
Jessica is a big picture thinker who excels at working across disciplines to solve complex problems through innovation and empathy. She spent 6 years designing and launching the Impossible burger where she joined the team as the 12th employee. Jessica recently led the investment team at DuContra Ventures, an impact-focused fund founded by Adrian Grenier. Passionate about working with talented founders to launch novel design-forward products, Jessica has consulted with 10+ startups internationally on business and product strategy. She also advises several incubators and venture-backed startups. Jessica holds an MS in Biochemistry from UCSD, an MBA from Presidio Graduate School, and a BA in Philosophy from Texas State University.
Jesús is from the northside of Fort Worth, Texas and is the son of Mexican immigrants. Jesús graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Science, Technology & Society and a minor in Latin American studies (2013). At Stanford Jesús explored the public and private sector through internships and even his own startup. Upon graduation he joined Deloitte Consulting as a Business Analyst in Dallas, Texas. After Deloitte, Jesús worked in Nicaragua and Kenya for a nonprofit impact investor. These experiences led him to Columbia Business School (CBS) where he graduated from in 2019 with his MBA. While at CBS Jesús was Co-President of Microlumbia, the student-run impact investing fund, and held internships with Credit Suisse and Rethink Education. Jesús is currently an Associate with the Omidyar Network where he supports the sourcing and evaluation of venture investments and influence tools that catalyze the supply of purpose-driven technology.
Katie Russel is the co-founder and CEO of Draper Startup House USA, a global network of co-live and co-work spaces for entrepreneurs and innovators. She previously led Business Development and Marketing at Draper University and was an investor with Draper U Ventures, focusing on pre-seed founders. Katie comes from the tech world previously working at Facebook and RetailMeNot in Product Operations and Project Management roles. She is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs to take the big jump into creating their own companies and opening up the world of entrepreneurship to everyone.
Leandro Pisaroni Gerbaldo
Leandro Pisaroni Gerbaldo is Kalei’s Cofounder and General Partner leading operations and deal sourcing in Latin America. He contributes with his investment experience in early stage technological startups, as well as his extensive knowledge and networks with LAC founders. He was Fund Manager and Operations Director at Incutex Company Builders in Argentina. He served as Ambassador for ASEA and contributor to Shaper Impact Capital. As a Global Shaper selected by the World Economic Forum, he has led projects on gender equality and STEM entrepreneurship. Leandro holds a degree in Industrial Engineering, and He is currently based in Argentina.
Liz Oertle is passionate about leveraging emerging technologies to solve the real-world problems of everyday people – especially parents and families. As CEO and Co-Founder of Nanno, she has grown the company from bootstrapped startup in her dining room to a nationwide platform of thousands of sitters across every major metro area in the U.S. She’s raised over $2 million in investment capital for Nanno, and was one of the first female founders to raise the statutory limit for crowdfunding. Before starting Nanno, Liz was a startup lawyer, working with the founding teams of dozens of startups, from early stage through Series C. In 2016, she founded the Independent Law Group, a consortium of business attorneys who utilize disruptive startup practices to revolutionize the business of law. Liz received her bachelors’ degree in English and Creative Writing from Binghamton University and her JD from the University of Michigan Law School. When she’s not busy building technology for families, she can be found adventuring with her two daughters, usually in Denver or San Francisco.
Lynn-Ann Gries has spent her career in the financial arena. From investment banking to venture capital she has experience working with a wide range of companies, from start-ups to those in the Fortune 1000. In 2001 she began working in venture capital, managing a small venture development fund with a mission to invest in tech-based start-ups. Over the course of 12 years she and her team invested $30M in 80 companies, including CoverMyMeds (sold to McKesson for $1.1 billion), CardioInsight (sold to Medtronic for $90 million), Wireless Environment (recently sold to Ring for an undisclosed amount) and OnShift. Recently, she was the Founding Managing Partner of the First Check Fund, a focused pre-seed/seed fund that is part of the Alumni Ventures Group fund family. She received her MBA from New York University (Stern School of Business) and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College where she majored in Economics.
Madeline Keulen is an investor and advisor to early-stage consumer companies. Madeline currently serves as a VP at Victress Capital, where she drives fund investments in seed and series A consumer companies led by diverse teams. Prior to Victress, Madeline worked as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman (OW), where she advised some of the world’s largest firms on growth, M&A, and post-merger integration. Prior to OW, Madeline held operating roles at Apple and The Walt Disney Company. Madeline is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is actively involved in organizations that support inclusion and diversity, including Subiendo Academy, Forte Foundation, and JumpStart. She currently serves on the boards of the HBS Association of Boston, Synergist, and Crimson Bikes.
Matt Schaar is the Senior Director of Portfolio Engagement at Accion Venture Lab, where he spends his day developing programs and tools to support the leaders of dozens of inclusive fintech companies around the world. Prior to joining Venture Lab, Matt led Product Marketing teams at Salesforce and Civis Analytics, and also was a founding member of the Product Marketing team at GitHub. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. When not working with startup founders, Matt can be found on long runs or bike rides around the Washington, DC area with his wife, Stephanie, or petting their rescue cat, Dakota.
Melissa is Founder and Managing Director of Context Leap, an impact-focused agency providing founders and executives with strategic foresight and innovation, people and culture, and leadership development. Previously, she was Director of Customer Experience at Idean x Capgemini specialized in global customer experience strategy and digital transformation. Melissa began her career in product marketing and brand management for media and entertainment before transitioning to product-service development. With over a decade in technology, she supports founders and corporate executives with making critical decisions on customers, partners, and people (insights, development, experience, success) and how to integrate that understanding to create shared value. She is an active angel investor and mentor and is passionate about coaching, advocacy, and empowerment. Proudly from metro Detroit, she's currently based in San Francisco.
Mych is an Alabama native and startup enthusiast, with a driving mission to build bridges between purpose and resources, especially for non-traditional founders and those who have been historically overlooked. As a former founder and operator, Mych enjoys the building process and helping founders solve problems in the trenches. In addition to working with Republic, he also scouts for a number of different venture funds and is a Chapter Director with Startup Grind.
Raul Rosas is a Chicago based multi-hatted plate spinner. Raul is a serial entrepreneur, founder, investor, and ecosystem builder with over a decade of experience as an operator in the small and medium-sized business, tech, and nonprofit space. Raul proudly serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Latinx Incubator (a partnership between the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and 1871 Chicago). Raul advises various small and medium-sized businesses and startups on financial viability, growth, and entrepreneurial business management. Raul is driven by legacy and impact. This fuels his passion for building equitable wealth within underrepresented communities by investing in youth, small businesses, and underestimated founders. Most recently, he has begun centralizing a curation of resources, templates, best practices, and everything in-between "I wish I had when I first started my entrepreneurial journey" at firsttimefounders.com for first-time founders and entrepreneurs. Connect with him on Twitter with the handle @raulrosas.
Ryan Kriser is an American angel investor, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. Ryan serves as the Founder and CEO of Helios Capital and is an advisor at Allocations. He started investing in 2007, funding 30+ companies in private markets, as well as donating to nonprofits including SENS Research Foundation, The Planetary Society, Space For Humanity and Syracuse University. Ryan invests in disruptive breakthrough technologies with focus on industry 4.0 and special interest in the space sector to ensure technological advances are fulfilled within his lifetime. He has invested across space, biotechnology, AI, future of work, robotics, transportation, infrastructure, and 3D printing. Some investments include: SpaceX, Mojo Vision, Axiom Space, Relativity Space, Luminous Computing, Astra Space, Orbit Fab, VolumetricBio and more.
Suma is a mission-driven serial entrepreneur, focused on the intersection of entrepreneurship, innovation, community and progress. She has co-founded companies in agtech, cleantech, waste management, and LGBTQ arts and advocacy. She is currently CEO of Future Acres, an agricultural robotics company developing farm tools for the toughest chores. Prior, she has worked on distributed indoor farming, and development of utility-scale solar, small hydro and biogas projects, including India’s first sugarcane-waste-to-RNG project. Suma started her entrepreneurial journey at a microfinance startup-turned-unicorn that provided loans to women micro-entrepreneurs in India. She began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali. Suma is also an educator, and teaches the “Future of Food: Entrepreneurship as Activism” at NYC’s School of Visual Arts, and is an Advisory Board Member of Scale for Climatetech. For her work in LGBTQ activism and advocacy, she received the White House Champions of Change Award. Suma is a graduate of The Wharton School (MBA), Flatiron School (iOS), General Assembly (UX Design), and University of Rochester (BA).
Taz Patel is a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits over the past fifteen years who continues to support the startup ecosystem via mentorship, advisory and investing. Most recently, Taz co-founded Captiv8, an Influencer Marketplace and SaaS platform funded by Social Capital, Liquid 2, Visionnaire and numerous strategic Angel Investors like Jason Calacanis and Cyan Banister. Before this, Taz was the Chief Revenue Officer of Republic Project, a startup funded by Google Ventures then acquired by Sizmek. Taz started his sales operator roles while still a student at UC Berkeley where he joined BlueLithium followed by Interclick, both of which were acquired by Yahoo!. Taz understands the challenges early-stage leadership faces ongoing and is eager to engage both founders and investors to help scale.
Tessa is the Director of Platform at Rosecliff Ventures. At Rosecliff, Tessa manages all-aspects of post-investment support, including founder relationships, business development opportunities, and corporate partnerships. Previously, Tessa was Platform Manager at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA), a seed-stage startup accelerator and investment firm in NYC. Tessa is a former entrepreneur herself. She founded a sustainable fashion e-commerce brand that sold online and in boutiques across North America. She successfully ran the business full-time before joining ERA. Tessa has worked in community and operations for 37 Angels Investment Network. Tessa is originally from Montreal, Canada. She earned a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University, where she graduated with distinction. During her student days, Tessa helped organize three annual TEDxMontrealWomen conferences. She is passionate about materials innovation, closed-loop systems, and bringing visibility to female founders and investors.
Tobias Bauer is the Head of Partnerships at Blockchain Founders Fund which invests in and venture builds top tier startups. In addition, Tobias is a Startup Mentor for APX, PlugAndPlay and Alchemist Accelerator. He works with mSE Solutions, a leading Supply Chain End-2-End consultancy, on business development and strategy projects and supports the investment team of Chinaccelerator, one of the global elite accelerator programs operated by the venture fund SOSV with $750M+ AUM in China. Furthermore, he worked for the German Government in Thailand where he co-organized the NSTF, a career fair with 1.1M visitors, in order to enable students to build their professional career. In the past, has lived in 8 different countries across 14 cities and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, English and German.
Tobias holds a MSc. in Management + CEMS Master’s in International Management at National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University and a Bachelor’s in Management and Law with Distinction from Management Center Innsbruck and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics.