Republic is one of the leading platforms for equity crowdfunding, which allows all investors to invest in early-stage companies. And even with the impact of the novel coronavirus, the growth has continued to be strong.
From March 2020 to April 2020, there was a 42% increase in investments made on the platform. In all, the user base is more than 500,000 and there have been over $100 million in investments since inception.
The CEO and co-founder of Republic is Kendrick Nguyen, who is a securities attorney. He is also an immigrant from Vietnam and one of his goals is to help underserved entrepreneurs.
I recently had a chance to interview Nguyen – and here’s what he had to say.
Kendrick Nguyen on Republic
Taulli: What was the inspiration for starting the company?
Nguyen: Talent is universal; opportunity is not. The inspiration for starting Republic was to give people a voice in shaping the next generation of companies that play such a large role in our daily lives. 75% of Fortune 500 companies by 2030 do not yet exist.
Rather than leaving it to a lucky few to profit from these wealth-building and world-shaping institutions, Republic allows people to have a say. We want to make sure everyone has a chance at chasing their dreams, whether as an investor or as a founder.
Taulli: How have things changed since the early days?
Nguyen: Republic has evolved tremendously since its inception. Founded by AngelList alum instrumental in the passing of the JOBS Act, our mission remains to provide startups access to the capital they need to grow while allowing non-accredited investors the opportunity to invest.
Since 2016, we have grown immensely, expanding our presence from coast to coast, with offices in San Francisco and New York. We have made significant strides in boosting access to capital for founders from different backgrounds and cities in the U.S., while still able to source and bring high-quality venture-backed deals to our base of over half a million investors.
Taulli: What sets apart your platform from the others?
Nguyen: Ours is a complex business framework — comprising a retail platform for non-accredited investors and a private platform for family offices and high networth individuals. We have a focus on diversity, equality, and inclusion, and we offer a variety of assets on our platform.
Republic acquired Sheworx (the largest community of female founders in the US) in Q3 2019, Fig (a game financing platform backed by Greycroft and Spark Capital) in Q1 2020, and launched Republic Real Estate in June 2020 with the acquisition of Compound, a real estate platform backed by Founders Fund and NEA. Having seen an 8x growth in 2019, Republic is poised to scale, both in the U.S. and beyond.
We want to offer startups the best opportunity they can have while offering our investors the best experience they can have. All of the companies that raise on Republic are highly vetted and undergo a meticulous process to ensure that they are ready to raise capital.
Between our powerful marketing engine to help startups raise capital and grow their brands, and our legal advantage with our founder-friendly Crowd SAFE which results in just one line on the cap table, Republic has a clear advantage over other players in the space.
Taulli: What are some of the interesting trends you are seeing in the crowdfunding space?
Nguyen: The crowdfunding space has seen many changes since its inception. What started as a nascent investment pathway has seen a tremendous increase across the board in the last few months. In addition to startup investing, Real Estate crowdfunding, and Video Game investing have seen an uptick. We are seeing more founders turn to crowdfunding as more traditional investors widen the gap in the landscape, and investments made on platforms like Republic have therefore increased.
Taulli: You’ve seen a 42% increase in investments made on your platform over the last two months. What does that say about the equity crowdfunding space right now?
Nguyen: With the current public market’s volatility, I think that investors are looking for a sense of normalcy. This is also a good time for people who have been interested in investing but haven’t committed yet. Private investing is a great alternative to the public markets, with minimum investments being much lower and with a longer time horizon.
People who have never invested before are able to spend a fraction of what they would spend on shares on an investment. Also, there is a sense of unity and support that comes with investing in smaller, private companies. Investors are able to back companies they truly support, which is what makes private investing so incredible.
Taulli: What does the future hold for Republic?
Nguyen: The future holds many things for Republic. We are looking to become the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) of private investing. With our recent acquisitions and breaking into new spaces, we aren’t holding back. We are extremely passionate about what we do at Republic. We want to be the go-to for private investments and we plan on continuing our growth.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor and author of various books and online courses about technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook and Learn Python Super Fast. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.