Amid all of the chaos and noise that 2020 has brought, we at Republic know that we still have a job to do. Republic was founded on the premise that it was high time to democratize private investing in America, in order to give more Americans access to growth capital that was previously exclusive to the wealthy elite. But I’m not here to tell you this work is more important than ever. It has always been important. The only difference is our world looks different than it did last year, and it’s time to face the music.
This year that music has been to the tune of a seismic shift in the balance of power. In theory, democratization of any system is intended to distribute power and include checks and balances to ensure harmony. But we know that within any system - especially one made of fallible humans - power is not evenly distributed.
Though it is true that there are various types of power, there are also various sources of power. And here at Republic, we believe the greatest source is community power.
Community is core to Republic’s identity. Founding and funding a startup is grinding, back-breaking work that isn’t for the faint of heart. But no matter how tough you are, having a supportive community of champions interested in watching you shine is crucial to any company’s success. Republic investors are a dynamic group of individuals with many levels of experience and backgrounds, but they all share one common trait: a passion for supporting founders.
It is therefore my great pleasure to introduce the third cohort of Venture Partners (“VPs”), a group of talented individuals who have agreed to support Republic in the course of their own impressive careers. They are mission-driven investors motivated to create more opportunities for diverse founders to access resources critical to their success. They make investments across verticals and stages, and have an acute focus on serving diverse founders to get more innovative companies off the ground. In addition to being supportive and energetic founder champions, they are also Olympians, veterans, world travelers, athletes, artists, and polyglots.
I have learned incredible lessons about community power from our Venture Partners, which started with a 2019 pilot followed by the VP1, VP2, and now VP3 cohorts. Here’s a taste of what they have helped us do, and their incredible achievements and contributions to the startup ecosystem since July:
VPs sourced 43% of Partnerships dealflow in Q3 at Republic in 2020. VPs not only find founders but ARE founders, and several have launched their own campaigns on Republic (and counting!)
Four VPs and I have become scouts for Lightspeed Venture Partners.
VP1 Lolita Taub launched the Community Fund to invest in early stage community centric companies.
VPs helped us highlight companies fighting climate change in response to recent environmental crises including the California wildfires.
This year, VP3 Kathryn Cartini and Chloe Capital have deployed $1.25M in funding in partnership with the ECMC Foundation to female founders on the forefront of work and education. The next signature #InvestInWomen program will be held in 2021 - women-led clean tech companies can apply at chloecapital.com/funding.
VP3 Melissa Herman at Left Tackle Capital kicked off The League of Extraordinary Funders in partnership with Grasshopper Bank, a series to amplify the funds and fund managers changing and investing in our future.
VP3 Ramses Villela launched the first Mexican STO for ECF Capital (raising funds in USD) and launched Cybermillions, a sweepstakes company connecting donors to nonprofits through valuable experiences.
VP2s William Stringer and Claire Veuthey raised $500k in pre-seed capital and is launching a $15 million fund to back idea-stage and side-hustle founders at Chisos.
VP1 Allie Felix organized the first Southeast CEO Summit for Series A and B startups across the region to connect with national investors and startup operators.
VP2 Rashida Bobb has joined the Board of Directors of the Women Heart Organization, a national heart disease awareness organization advancing awareness and treatment in women’s heart health.
VP3 Candice Cook Simmons was selected to serve on the Board of Directors for Greyston and the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center.
VP3 Marcia Chong has been honored as a 2020 Amplifier, a recognition by Amplify Latinx for 30 leaders in Massachusetts who are risk-takers, quiet disruptors, and outspoken advocates leading social change by amplifying in our communities.
VP2 Noorjit Sidhu writes his perspective about the Future of Communities in tech-enabled platforms on Medium. (Have we mentioned how much we love community?!)
And these are just the highlights.
Alexander is a principal at OCA Ventures with a focus on creative tools, communities, and emerging technologies. He spent most of his career as a builder - spending ten years as a product leader, engineer, and founder at a variety of New York startups - and likes to help companies with the practical work of building products. At night he makes net art inspired by New Age websites and the technical processes behind random number generation.
Amani Phipps is an Investor with RareBreed VC where he focuses on fund strategy, value-add opportunities and financial analysis. He has been recognized as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar, Next Gen Entrepreneurs to Watch, and has also been featured in the Washington Business Journal alongside Momentum Magazine. Previously, Amani was an analyst at The Rock Creek Group, where he evaluated private equity fund strategies; furthermore, he had a core focus on helping establish an emerging manager platform for public and private fund strategies set to launch Q4 2020.
Angela is a product manager based in San Francisco. When she started angel investing in 2020, she was amazed by the caliber of founders but was equally surprised by the lack of diversity in both founders and funders. She created the All the Angels newsletter to shine the spotlight on diverse angel investors and to inspire more women and POC to angel invest.
Having worked in product management at a construction technology start-up, she loves to support founders in traditionally antiquated industries ripe for disruption.
Austin is an engineer and has operating experience at multiple venture-backed startups, mostly at developer tooling companies like Cypress and Nylas. He is also a venture partner at Contrary where he has helped boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem at Rice University and has seen companies across all stages and sectors. Previously, he was a fellow at venture capital firms like 8VC, Bessemer, and Kleiner Perkins. Industry-wise, he is interested in the democratization of building software through emerging low-code/no-code tools, among other things. Austin studied computer science at Rice, where he briefly played tennis. He spends most of his free time reading, writing, and following professional tennis.
Ben most recently led the product development, strategy, and partnerships functions at an early stage fintech startup. Ben is a mentor at Village Capital, where he works with fintech companies who are on a mission to improve financial access and literacy. He is also a venture scout at GVC partners where he analyzes opportunities and creates investment recommendations in the fintech, enterprise technology, consumer technology, and artificial intelligence industries. Ben has founded a number of companies with the most recent company being Mediterranean Tech, a social impact focused platform that bridges the divide between the MENA+Turkey region and the United States.
Bo is a product-driven investor, writer, and advisor, empowering underestimated founders. She is currently the Head of US Ecosystem & Assistant GM at Samsung NEXT, the software innovation arm of Samsung Electronics. She helps grow, scale, and incubate startups in the North American tech ecosystem for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. Previously, she was a PM at Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. She writes, advises, and angel invests in early-stage startups.
Carolina Huaranca Mendoza
Carolina Huaranca Mendoza is currently a scout for Lightspeed Venture Partners and serves on the Board of Directors for Latinas in Tech, a network of 10,000 Latinas worldwide. She was a former Principal & Director of LP Investments at Kapor Capital, an early stage seed fund. Carolina originally joined Kapor Capital as a Principal in 2016 and while there she was a generalist investor, but had a particular interest in the future of work, future cities, logistics, and education. During her last year at Kapor Capital she helped devise an investment strategy to deploy capital in emerging fund managers. This strategy resulted in investments in Equal Ventures and Operator Collective. Prior to becoming a Principal, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at Kapor working on a edtech platform for teacher professional development.
Chinedu Enekwe is the general partner at Aux21 Capital, an early stage venture capital firm investing in the future of retail and finance for the next generation of internet users. As part of his role as GP, he also co-produces the Venture The World podcast and the Future of Money conference . He’s a Moonshot Fellow of the Kravis Lab for Social Impact and a founding member of the Forbes Impact Community. Prior to Aux21 Capital, he was a principal on the pre-seed & seed team of Exponential Creativity Ventures and managed AffinitiVC, an investment syndicate & consulting firm deploying over $15M since 2017.
Daisy Shobhana Garcia
Daisy is a passionate investment analyst at JetBlue Technology Ventures, where she optimizes investments by conducting in-depth analyses and due diligence of early stage startups. Her analytical focus is on startups that operate at the intersection of travel, hospitality, and technology. She previously lived in Sweden for over two years, where she worked with an early stage VC and acquired an international education. In her pursuit to explore the economic and social contours of the world, she has travelled to 72 countries to immerse herself in startup ecosystems and gain a global economic perspective to better understand the world we live in today.
A native New Yorker, Darren is a trailblazer working at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship. He started his career as a Venture for America Fellow in Philadelphia, working as a software developer for a seed-stage startup and then as an Analytics Manager for Seer Interactive, a bootstrapped digital marketing agency. A true side-hustler, Darren also advises early-stage startups directly and has developed a process to streamline his potential clients and measure their progress. When he’s not working on the next big thing, you can find him playing basketball, watching basketball, or volunteering his time in the community.
DeAndrea Newman Salvador
DeAndrea Newman Salvador is an energy expert with a background in economics. She previously founded the Renewable Energy Transition Initiative (RETI). DeAndrea’s nonprofit focused on helping people sustainably reduce energy costs and gain access to cutting-edge technology. Through RETI, she worked with the nation’s largest utility and local government to launch a first of its kind smart home program for local residents. She is also co-founder of FundBoard, a website that auto-generates targeted investor lists. As a social entrepreneur and advocate, Salvador has been featured by The Atlantic, Fast Company, the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Utility Drive and the Charlotte Observer.
Dennis joined UL Ventures in early 2019, focusing on B2B enterprise software investments. In this role, he leverages his technology and investing expertise to find strategic opportunities to further UL’s mission. He began his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, and later worked with different startup accelerators in the Bay Area, including StartX and the Alchemist Accelerator. Dennis later co-founded a VC-backed startup that uses autonomous drones to automate the inspection and fault detection process of power lines. He is Taiwanese Peruvian, and holds a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering and M.S. in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University. Outside of work, he enjoys dancing Salsa and learning about new cultures.
Doreen’s entrepreneurial spirit began in an R&D lab, which led her to a career working with startups, investors, and innovation ecosystem partners. She is passionate about connecting people, technology, and ideas. Her mission is to protect and sustain our environment by driving climate innovations and encouraging environmental stewardship. Doreen is currently an Innovation Strategist/Tech Scout with Booz Allen Hamilton's Strategic Innovation Group in San Francisco, California. Doreen is also a startup mentor with Techstars, Plug and Play Tech Center, and Cleantech Open. Previously, Doreen was with Alumni Ventures Group (AVG) and helped launch two of their venture funds - Social Impact Fund and Towerview Ventures, a venture fund for Duke affiliates. When she’s not meeting with founders, funders, and operators in the tech community, you can find her enjoying her time outdoors with her family and friends - hiking, camping, backpacking and snowboarding during the winter.
Gil X. Hernandez
Gil is the Founder of and is currently raising for GXH Capital, a venture capital fund that aims to invest in underrepresented founders and provide them access to capital that has historically overlooked them. Gil is also a Scout for Clearbanc connecting founders with an alternative to traditional venture funding. Previously Gil was a finance professional for Apple’s Software & Services department supporting all of the various Software offerings at Apple. Gil also worked at PwC as an associate in the Bay Area working with both startups and large tech powerhouses.
I'm a VC investor and former product manager passionate about CPG & frontier technologies, building startup ecosystems, and mentoring early stage entrepreneurs. At Rocana Venture Partners, I support the GPs by sourcing and performing due diligence on prospective portfolio companies. I also participate in the operational activities associated with the firm to build the firm’s presence. I'm also an advisor / mentor at Plug & Play, MassChallenge, Big Idea Ventures, and to numerous startups (a couple still in stealth).
Jules is an investor, 3-time entrepreneur, corporate executive and ‘intrapreneur.’ She is Partner and US Lead for Mindset Ventures, investing in seed - Series B enterprise tech startups. Jules co-founded and led two legal tech companies: Evolve Law (acquired by Breaking Media/Above the Law), a digital media and events company for legal innovators, and Hire an Esquire, a venture-backed tech startup providing attorneys on-demand to law firms and in-house legal teams. She also founded Carbonado Group, an environmental sustainability consulting firm, and spent 7 years as an ‘intraprenuer’ helping companies including EY, Salesforce.com and Tiffany & Co. to launch and grow new business units around environmental and social responsibility.
Kathryn Cartini is a venture capitalist with a proven track record of fundraising, recruiting top founders, managing portfolio companies, promoting the firm / Movement, and making investment decisions. She represents a new service-oriented VC who does what it takes to help others succeed. Her goal is to drive #InvestInWomen together with universities, foundations, and corporate innovators. She also works on Upstate Venture Connect that works to connect high-growth founders with people and resources.
Inspired by life as a Black woman and daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Keianna Dixon is passionate about racial equity, culture, and heritage. As Founder and CEO of Keianna Dixon Consulting, LLC, she advises startups and investors that are advancing health equity and social impact, with an emphasis on racial equity. She has more than a decade of health sector leadership and experience and was an Obama White House Intern. She is deeply vested in entrepreneurship and investing across the African Diaspora and has hosted panels on the Caribbean investment ecosystem. She gives back as a mentor including at Techstars and previously at First Round Capital. She is a Columbia alumna (MPH, BA).
Marcia Ximena Chong Rosado
Marcia leads Village Capital's Future of Finance Practice focused on helping startups addressing financial health and economic justice in the US grow. She leads fintech accelerator programs for startups and builds networks of early-stage investors, corporates, foundations, nonprofits, and supporters. Marcia also recently expanded her work to criminal and civil justice-oriented tech. Prior to Village Capital, Marcia was an early member of the Third Sector Capital team, where she structured the first series of Pay for Success/Social Impact Bonds in the U.S. and led the development of the field. Marcia is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador and holds a B.S. in International Business and double minor in Sociology and French.
Mark is passionate about emerging technologies, customer experience, and social impact investing. He has particular interests in veteran founded startups and has advised both investors and founders in early-stage capital raises. Mark is currently a fellow at Chestnut Street Ventures, 17 Asset Management, and Director of Business Operations at TPIRC - Southern California Food Allergy Institute where he oversees growth strategy for the innovative non-profit biotech that has leveraged AI/ML to successfully treat 7,000+ pediatric food allergy patients. Mark's post military career include Goldman Sachs, PIMCO, and most recently, the investment banking division of RBC Capital Markets.
Mckeever (Mac) Conwell
Mckeever (Mac) Conwell, II is the Founder and Managing Director of RareBreed VC, a pre-seed stage venture fund based in Baltimore, MD. Before starting RareBreed Mac worked at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) as the Portfolio manager. There his role was to find, help make investment decisions on, and help build Maryland-based startups. Mac works closely with many TEDCO portfolio companies to help them secure customers, partnerships, and funding. Mac also conducts extensive outreach to all of the tech communities and ecosystems in Maryland and does a lot of work supporting founders who consider themselves to be economically or socially disadvantaged. In 2017 Mac helped launch the Minority Business Pre-seed Fund and what was later transitioned to the Builder Fund which is the first state-backed pre-seed fund for women and minority-led startups.
As a multiple founder, startup advisor, and investor, Megan Groves has helped hundreds of early stage companies get to market or scale quickly and profitably. Previously Megan founded Modular Marketing, an acceleration team and growth advisory where she led a team who augmented dozens of Seed stage to Series C startups with core marketing functions, often doubling as interim CMO through their high-growth phases. She is currently developing her investment thesis as an angel and Venture Partner and is building a new company launching November 2020.
Mr. Villela is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience. He started his career working in Broker Dealers in Mexico as a stock broker, then moved to trade FX and specialized in SPOT, Forwards, NDFS and Options. After too many worldwide crises, Mr. Villela opted to start Consultix, a consultancy firm focused on developing GRP software. Being a serial entrepreneur and acknowledging that Blockchain and Smartcontracts will change our lives, Mr. Villela also founded Blockchain Revolution. Currently both companies have different Blockchain development projects, including Investment Bank Services for middle market companies raising funds via crowdfunding in the US and with regulator compliant vehicles, and the other a decentralized lottery and sweepstake platform with a social focus of donation of profits (Cybermillions). A passionate fan of hard work, disruptive thinking and exercise as a way to have a balanced life, he is also a UFC fan.
Rouhin is a Venture Capital Analyst at Builders VC. He works closely with the Partners and has gained exposure to all facets of venture capital. Prior to his time in venture capital, Rouhin was an Investment Analyst at ICONIQ Capital where he covered investments across a range of asset classes in both the public and private markets. Before that, he spent time at Wells Fargo Securities in their technology investment banking group where he provided M&A and capital raising advisory to technology companies. Rouhin enjoys playing and following sports, music festivals, magic tricks and traveling to new places.
Sydney Lai has been named an LGBT Technology Leader by The White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is a TEDx Speaker on startup ecosystem design and is now a Developer Advocate building dev tools for enterprise integrations. To date, she has helped early-stage companies raise $36M in venture capital. In 2020 she raised a debut private equity fund with GPs Dave McClure and Aman Verjee and now sits as an LP of the fund. All these wins also came with crazy hard times. In 2016, she faced 221 rejections for a Series A raise. Her career in venture capital started in alternative assets as a private banker managing alts portfolio for high-networth individuals and institutions. She then worked as an operator in a pre-seed/seed fund in Silicon Valley, built accelerator programs, lead strategy for founders at ConSensys and now co-invests as Squad Ventures where she had one portfolio company that flopped and another that had an exit.
Tapan (“Tops”) Kataria
Tops is a first-generation immigrant, 2x Founder, DJ, and Investor in 30 startups; who is obsessed with betting on founders building the future! Currently, he is the Program Manager for Metlife Digital Accelerator by Techstars, Scout at Indie.vc as well as Venture Partner at Venture Catalyst. Previously, he was the Director at Backstage Capital and can be bribed by Japanese Whiskey! Learn more about him at iamtops.com.
Venture Partners are leaders in their space who volunteer to work with companies considering crowdinvesting and those who have completed their crowdinvesting offerings and need guidance on their next steps. Venture Partners receive referral bonuses and benefits throughout their term. If you are interested in becoming a Venture Partner, please fill out the form here.