Meet the VP6s
It’s been 5 years and Republic has gone through waves of transformation. The first stage was our bread & butter CF platform we’re known for along with our early embrace of crypto. The second stage was leaning into the private capital markets with Republic Capital and the acquisition of many new verticals.
Republic 3.0 is far different than anything we’ve seen before: we are launching campaigns under new regulations that allow companies to raise up to $5M from their communities, we built a new HQ in Decentraland, and we’re harnessing the power of community with $500M deployed across the ecosystem. We’re at 200+ employees and we’re not slowing down - it was only a matter of time before we leveled up.
The Republic Venture Partner Program, our flagship community, has leveled up as well. To honor the VPs’ commitment to this work and double down on our mission, we took the summer to think about how we can amplify the offerings of the Venture Partner Program:
One-year program - Though we view our partners as partners for life, endless programs aren’t useful. The Venture Partner Program is now a year-long commitment to finding great companies, connecting with our network, and participating in our programming.
Alumni Community - After a year of service to this cause, most of our VPs will join the new Alumni Community so we can continue to grow our network of champions. They are active in the community, sending deals to invest in for anyone in the Republic ecosystem - Venture Fellows, Associates, Partners, and even portfolio companies.
Senior Venture Partners - We will invite up to 10 outstanding VPs per cohort that have gone above and beyond the mandate of the program to serve another year as Senior Venture Partners. The SVPs will be given grants to diversify their portfolios, investing in the founders they support.
Making these changes has helped us clarify the mechanics for living up to our mandate. It allows us to respond to the practicalities of being a professional in the venture capital industry, while growing our community to be inclusive of the best thinkers and boldest actors in our field.
Thankfully, our guiding principles and our community have been our saving grace. They serve as our north star with each new cohort:
To build and nurture a community where Republic VPs can connect and support each other in their professional and personal endeavors.
A community of mission-aligned individuals fostering mutual growth and amplifying our impact both within and outside the Republic community.
Get founders money. Whether it’s money from Republic investors or elsewhere, we care about funding exceptional founders with big ideas.
The Venture Partners have brought us opportunities to invest in companies creating systemic change, like Trusst (mental healthcare - acquired), Renewal Mill (upcycled food), and COI Energy (energy waste management).
Naturally, this incredible community also helped us look outside our network to find more remarkable humans working to change the startup funding landscape and using the tools of venture capital to create real impact.
The VP6 Cohort brings 30 new leaders to the Republic community from 16 cities, 7 countries, and 6 continents. They are funding companies serving parents, women-founded ecommerce, new cannabis brands, underrepresented founders, and more. By collaborating with our community of 120 VPs, 74 Alumni, and (TBA!) SVPs, our Venture Partners get high quality dealflow, a network of supportive friends, and fuel $$ for their investments.
Please welcome the VP6 Cohort to the Republic community. Think you’ve got what it takes to join our crew? Apply today.
To learn more about Republic's Venture Programs, visit www.republic.co/venture-programs.
Aaron is a partner in Africa focused founder backed pre-seed fund Sherpa Ventures and leads growth at emerging market inclusive tech focused Catalyst Fund. He also co-founded Venture for Africa, a fellowship for talent on the continent and beyond to gain experience and build careers with early stage African startups. Prior to the Catalyst Fund, he was the Managing Director of MEST, Africa’s Largest Pre-Seed Incubator, and Managing Partner for Africa at Nest.vc, a Hong Kong based venture fund, which he joined after a career in financial services.
A native of Kuwait City, Aziz was raised between Kuwait and the US. He is the managing partner of 308 Ventures, a new generalist US-focused seed stage VC based in Los Angeles, CA. In a previous life, Aziz built VC portfolios for a notable family fund in the Middle East, and was an investment banker in both equity and debt capital markets. Aziz is interested in founders inventing and leading new categories.
Adam H Phillips
Adam is the Managing Director of Venture Partners at Mox.E. He is an attorney and founder with extensive legal, training and consulting experience with an emphasis on advocacy, process-engineering, content development, and growth. Adam is an advocate, innovator, developer, content-creator, and change-manager. He is an experienced leader and savvy writer with the ability to explain complex topics to wide audiences.
Amber Quiñones is a former fitness instructor and startup operator turned VC. Before joining BBG Ventures as Head of Platform & Operations, Amber led Growth & Customer Success on the founding team of a seed-stage startup — developing the company’s early product and customer experience. Owing to her background in Product Design at Stanford, her personal mission is to help founders build beautiful, delightful, and sticky products that fill undeniable human needs and support underestimated communities.
Brian is the founder of FirstLook, a subscription box full of emerging, high-growth consumer brands for early-stage investors. Before starting FirstLook, he led BD & Strategic Partnerships at XRC Labs, International Operations at Victoria's Secret, and took a previous startup through a technology startup accelerator in his hometown Cleveland, OH. Brian believes founders are the dreamers in action who push forward innovation and create the bedrock of our economy. He’s passionate about helping them build exciting brands that positively impact the planet and community.
Charlotte is founder & CEO of Parenthood Ventures ('Parenthood'), the ecosystem for early stage ParentTech - i.e., startups building products and services for Parents and the little ones, fertility to teens. Companies in the community span caregiving (Otter), employee benefits (Mirza), physical goods (Cradlewise), digital health (Oath), education (Schola), media/entertainment (Zigazoo), and fintech (Kachinga). The objective is to fuel the next wave of innovation, for a new paradigm of parents and their little ones - via networking opportunities and content tailored to the needs of ParentTech founders, along with a directory of investors interested in the space.
Chetan is a General Manager in the Energy Business at SoftBank Group Corp. and brings a combination of domain knowledge, financial expertise and operating background. He is helping SoftBank expand its clean energy portfolio by investing in early stage companies and by developing clean energy projects around the world. Prior to SoftBank, he has done M&A for Bharti Enterprises and advised various companies in India as a consultant with Accenture Strategy. Chetan holds an MBA from Faculty of Management Studies, New Delhi.
David Vasquez, from Brooklyn, New York, is currently a lead expert consultant at the Bain Innovation Exchange where he specializes in corporate innovation strategy, venture capital investing, startups ecosystems, and disruptive technologies. David has extensive experience working throughout the private, public, and non-profit sectors. David has worked as a private equity investor at Ares Management, an Assistant to the Senior Advisor on Social Innovation for California Governor Gavin Newsom, and as a Program Manager at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). David has founded two venture-backed mental health startups (one currently in stealth) where he services as a principal founder and advisor. David holds an MBA and MPP from Stanford University, where he was a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, and a BA from Columbia University.
Dulma Atlan is the CEO & Founder of Makelane, a community for female DTC founders. She is building the MasterClass for women entrepreneurs. She accelerates women-owned DTC & ecommerce brands through courses, community & content taught by world-class founders and experts. Also the founder of Startup Stork, a side project encouraging people to throw women business showers. They were featured in The New York Times and Business Insider and publish a weekly newsletter profiling rising female founders called How She Built This.
Prior to GreatPoint, Earnest was a founding member at Prologis Ventures, the venture arm of the world’s largest industrial real estate owner. Earnest is also a founding Board Member of BLCK VC, a community built for and by black investors. Earnest is an alum of Columbia University and earned his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. He was also selected to Venture Capital Journal's Rising Stars 2021 list.
Eduardo Cabral is an associate at Bengal Capital, a cannabis private equity and hedge fund. Bengal Capital invests in “plant-touching,” publicly traded companies that operate in the legal marijuana sector. With a background in startups, finance, and political campaign organizing, Eduardo brings his passions together by supporting entrepreneurs through expanding capital and information access. Outside of work, Eduardo can be found volunteering at the local food bank or working with social equity applicants in the cannabis space. In his downtime, Eduardo enjoys building functional ceramic pottery, exploring different kinds of cannabis concentrates, playing video games, and hanging out with his soon-to-be wife and their little dog.
Erik is a successful founder, executive, and investor. He has been in the startup and corporate innovation space for more than 28 years, working with organizations of all sizes, from pre-seed startups to multi-billion dollar brands. Erik specializes in strategy, product, operations, customer success, fundraising, and leadership and advises startups, VC/PE firms, accelerators, and corporate ventures to drive growth and innovation. He has helped hundreds of founders to grow and scale their business, to develop actionable funding strategies, and to become better leaders. Erik is a member of TBD Angels and LP at Mendoza Ventures and AI Capital. He is on the Board of Directors of Vencapital and on the Advisory Board of The Capital Network, both of which provide training and resources for women and minorities.
Heather served in government relations, operations, customer success, and partnerships/sales roles in high-growth startups, including Rover.com (announced its SPAC/IPO), and DISCO (NSYE $LAW). Her focus thus far has been on "learning the ropes" on the operational side (i.e. how to make great early-stage leadership hires, balance the need to mature processes as you scale with limiting friction, position yourself for an exit, etc.), and supporting entrepreneurial ecosystems in Seattle (9 years), and now Austin (2 years so far).
Jaime Alejandro Matus Bonilla
Jaime is passionate about helping startups in pre-seed and seed stages and working along with experienced hard-working founders. He has been in the corporate telecom and technology world for 15+ years (Innovation/Product/Marketing/Growth/Sales/B2B). He also founded an Angel Investment and VC firm (Cacao Capital) where he supports amazing entrepreneurs. He has founded two companies, the latest a SaaS Financial Tool for SMB/Startups.
Janessa Harmon currently works as Chief of Staff and Investor at The Council, an angel investment group for women. In addition, she works as a tech operator at Vouch Insurance, where she works closely with accelerators to create a quality end user experience for current and prospective customers. Janessa worked at Kapor Capital, she managed various projects and initiatives including their annual People Operations Tech Pitch Competition, team operations and processes, and various sponsorship and business development opportunities for founders in the ecosystem. Janessa is personally interested in investing in diverse and driven teams building solutions for consumer products and services, the future of retail and work, and fintech (payments and banking).
Jennifer Piro is a recovering management consultant who spends her days mentoring, advising, and investing in tech and cannabis startups. She has a background in supply chain and running non-profits. She sometimes consults for comic cons across the globe.
Jonathan is the founder and CEO of Capacity, a strategic advisory firm focused on access to capital and growth resources for the underestimated. He is also the GP of Capacity Capital, investing creatively in small post-revenue businesses. Active primarily in the Southeast startup community, Jonathan is an 8x founder/co-founder in multiple industries (plus 3 non-profits), active board member, advisor, and connector. His work has been recognized by Techcrunch, CNN, Business Week, 4x Inc5000, Smithsonian Institution, British Parliament, and the Prince of Denmark (alongside Apple, Google, and Ford). Jonathan is a passionate ally of talented and overlooked founders.
Joy is a managing partner at LabEight, a venture capital firm that works with and invests in early stage African based companies. Joy also serves as Head of Investments for a private investment bank based in London where she is central to outlining and implementing sustainable strategies and niche private fund opportunities. Joy is actively involved in a diverse range of investment initiatives working with, and advising over a half dozen startups to create and implement operational best practices and transparency encompassing fundraising through scaling.
Polish born and American raised, Kaja Kuczynska is the cofounder of Skybrook Venture Partners, a boutique consulting firm focusing on bridging the gap between American and European companies looking to scale into new markets by raising capital, creating partnership opportunities and developing a physical footprint in their desired market. Kaja started her career in wealth management, later moving on to operations in mass market retail. She has a sweet spot for working with companies in the consumer goods and life science industries, but most importantly, enjoys creating unique solutions to complex problems.
Matt is a lifelong entrepreneur and has been at the nexus of venture capital and venture-backed startups since 1995, though always avoided taking VC money himself. He started a family that just kept growing (he has 6 kids) and he and his wife opened a community collaborative workspace in the Mission in SF that is one part incubator, one part landing pad for our investments. About 18 months ago he went to the dark side and became a full-time VC focused on early-stage deep tech climate solutions.
In addition to serving as a Techstars mentor, he has gained recognition by MM&M as a Top 40 Healthcare Transformer, by Techweek100 for his work in helping reshape healthcare through the novel use of technology, and was recognized by the Technology Association of Georgia for having the “Best Personal Brand” in the startup and entrepreneurship community in Georgia in 2018. He has also been featured by major media outlets including CNN, USA Today, and NPR as a subject matter expert in healthcare and technology.
Sarah is a Principal at City Light Capital, an early-stage investment fund focused on seed and Series A stage companies driving positive social and environmental impact in education, climate change, and healthcare. She also runs the US operations for Diversity VC, a nonprofit focused on increasing representation in the tech ecosystem. Finally, Sarah helps drive operations for a company in the clean energy industry.
Stacy Cumberbatch is the Managing Director of Blended Impact, a venture development firm and innovation lab based in Southern California. She focuses on access to capital the intersection of venture capital and economic development to power the future of how we invest, earn, and live. Previously, she served as an Executive in Residence for the County of Riverside crafting their Opportunity Zone strategy. Prior, she was a Principal on a seed stage venture capital fund and accelerator. Stacy has over a decade of corporate and consumer real estate finance experience, and has led teams focused on investor due diligence, loan origination and underwriting at Fortune 1000 financial institutions including First Republic Bank, Colony Capital, and Bank of America.
Taylor Rowe champions equitable climate solutions. Currently, she’s the Director of Corporate and Investor Partnerships at The Clean Fight, an accelerator that helps growth-stage climate tech companies scale in New York to speed the energy transition. She’s also the Climate Fintech Program Advisor at New Energy Nexus. Fascinated by behavioral economics and its role in policy and innovation, Taylor received her MSc in Behavioral Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Previously, she launched the first VC-backed credit card as a Product Manager at LendUp. She’s driven customers and capital to early-stage companies in her roles as Director of Business Development at Kairos, Co-Founder of Unreasonable at Sea, and as an Advisory Board Member at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner who is an artist.
Terrance is a co-founder, social impact investor, and venture capital contributor across several high-impact organizations that for him are not just about generating profit or reaching alpha, but a reflection of his passion for positively catalyzing humanity and leaving the world better than we met it. With over 10 years in business, he has held many leadership and management positions across domestic and global initiatives for rapidly growing and mission-driven organizations with an operating AUM of $1B+. He also has managed cross-functional teams to produce high-quality results through product-led growth and social impact investments in real estate, fintech, and edtech. He is obsessively focused on democratizing access to the innovation economy for underrepresented founders and diverse entrepreneurs.
Ting is a senior executive for an established Insurtech called Cheche Tech based in Asia, responsible for company strategy, fundraising, research and data analytics. Ting also works as an advisor/research fellow at AVG and the Digital Insurer as well as several tech startups. Previously, he worked in the financial services industry with experiences at leading asset manager, bank and insurance firms focusing on research, analytics and modeling. Ting is actively involved in the Asian Fintech ecosystem and supports immigrant and under-represented founders in the US startup community.
Trevor Jamari Nelson
Trevor is an Ecosystem builder in the midwest with a passion for helping emerging companies get to the next level. Trevor graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a B.S. in Accounting and Finance, where he co-founded the first student investment fund on campus. As one of the few HBCU students with experience in investment banking and private equity, and a beneficiary of Management Leadership For Tomorrow, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and the National Association of Black Accountants, he firmly values giving back and mentorship. As such, Trevor has remained active in supporting the university and severs as a mentor to several students.
Yetunde is currently a Product Manager at PWN Health and an Executive Council Member at Collaborative Gain. Yetunde is most passionate about engagement focused on increasing resources for diverse and/or underserved populations, with a focus on access and education initiatives. She also contributes this unique perspective to my passion areas of women’s empowerment initiatives, creative cultural development, and African economic development.
Yohei Nakajima is the general partner of Untapped Capital, a pre-seed VC firm investing in unexpected founders. Yohei has been around early-stage startups for 15 years, the last 7 as an investor - first with Techstars on the Disney Accelerator program, then as the first Director of Pipeline. He then helped Scrum Ventures spin up their consulting arm to work with corporates such as Nintendo, Dentsu, Panasonic, and Softbank. He is an active no-coder, NFT artist, and writes about startups regularly on his blog.