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When it comes to finding startups to invest in, Republic is one of the top online equity crowdfunding platforms. Since 2016, the company has facilitated more than $150 million in fundings. There are also more than 800,000 investors on the platform.
The CEO and co-founder of Republic is Kendrick Nguyen, who immigrated from Vietnam to become a successful securities attorney in the U.S. But through this experience, he saw the challenges entrepreneurs had in getting financial backing. He thought an online platform would help to level the playing field.
The equity crowdfunding deals on Republic are structured as SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) instruments. This means that the allocation of equity is based on a trigger event, such as an acquisition, IPO (initial public offering) or subsequent funding. A typical deal has a minimum investment of $100.
So then, what are some of the interesting startups to invest in on Republic? Let’s take a look at these six:
- OTIS Dental
- Moku Foods
Now, let’s dive in and take a closer look at each one.
Startups to Invest In: OTIS Dental
Bruxism is a stress condition when people clench and grind their teeth, usually during sleep. This can ultimately lead to damage to a person’s teeth and jaw. Consider that an estimated 30 to 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from Bruxism.
One approach to deal with this is to have a night guard created. But such a device can be expensive and will wear out done over time.
So, what else can be done? OTIS Dental has an alternative. This startup has created a custom night guard that is affordable but still has the quality of one developed by a dentist.
Here’s how it works: OTIS will send a kit to a customer, who will then make an impression of his or her mouth. He or she will then send it back to the company in a prepaid envelope. A few days later, a night guard will come in the mail.
The company has various subscription plans, which provide replacements for every four, six or twelve months. As for the revenues, they increased 20X in one year (but there was no number provided). There is also retail distribution with Target (NYSE:TGT) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA).
The founder has personally invested over $150,000 of his own money in OTIS Dental. As for the equity crowdfunding round, he has raised over $71,000 from 209 investors and the valuation is $8 million.
The past decade has seen a revolution in plant-based foods that taste and look like meats. While a big reason for this has been the interest in better health, there has also been a focus on the environment and the humane treatment of animals.
So yes, for one of the startups to invest in on Republic, there is an offering for this category: Moku Foods. The company is the developer of jerky, which is made from mushrooms. This is the result of a partnership with a top plant-based chef.
The Moku Foods jerky has three flavors, which include Hawaiian Teriyaki, Original, and Sweet & Spicy. There are only 170 calories per bag and there are no GMOs or gluten.
Moreover, the plan is to launch early this year. The go-to-market strategy involves selling the jerky on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Thrive Market and mokufoods.com. The company estimates that sales will hit $1.3 million in the first year and reach $25 million by year four.
As for the equity crowdfunding campaign, the company has raised over $353,000 from 599 investors and the valuation is $8 million.
Startups to Invest In: Procertas
Upskilling and reskilling are major challenges for employers. This is especially the case for common office technologies like Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office, Salesforce’s (NYSE:CRM) customer relationship management platform and so on.
How to solve this problem? Procertas believes that the best approach is to leverage e-learning. To this end, the company has created the Legal Technology Assessment (LTA). It evaluates and identifies the skill gaps for legal associates and law students.
But this is just the start. Procertas will soon launch its Basic Office Technology Assessment (BOTA), which has a broader appeal.
Since 2017, the company has onboarded more than 80 schools — such as Yale Law School and Northwestern University — and 40 companies like Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) and NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP). More than 18,000 people have used the system and total sales have exceeded $650,000. These impressive numbers make it an easy choice for my list of startups to invest in.
About one in five Americans live with some type of mental illness. But unfortunately, many do not receive help from qualified professionals. Some of the reasons include the costs and the access to convenient locations.
But for Trusst, this startup is leveraging technologies to solve the problem with a specialized messaging app. It is based on the feedback of experts in psychology. The app is also built with HIPAA privacy and confidentially systems.
The service has two tiers. First, a user can get access to a bot that is based on interactive scripts. Next, there is a system to get matched to licensed health professionals.
Launched in 2019, Trusst is now available in 35 states and is generating more than $125,000 in ARR (Annual Recurring Revenues). The more than 100 therapists on the platform have exchanged over 13,000 messages with patients.
Trusst has raised over $1 million from angels and VCs. As for the equity crowdfunding round, the company has raised over $38,000 from 106 investors and the valuation is $6 million.
Startups to Invest In: Techtracker
Lead generation is always difficult. True, one of the problems is that people do not want to get pitched to. But there is something else: It can be difficult for salespeople to identify people who may need a new product or service.
Yet Techtracker believes it has an answer to this. And yes, it involves using AI. For example, Techtracker allows you to see what types of technologies a site is using, which can identify opportunities; monitor for technology updates; and get notifications when there are new installs. From all this, the software will produce a lead generation report that is based on more than 200 million domain names and over 8,500 unique keywords.
Since the launch five months ago, the company has signed up over 350 customers. The company has also forged partnerships with companies like Saleshub and ExactVistor.
The market opportunity is certainly large. Note that sales intelligence software is expected to reach more than $24 billion this year.
As for the crowdfunding campaign, Techtracker has raised over $12,000 from 66 investors and the valuation is $7.5 million.
When it comes to finding a quality nail salon, things can get dicey. The quality of service often varies and there are also the issues of cleanliness.
But for Snailz, this startup wants to make things much better. The company has developed a mobile app that allows for browsing salons, booking appointments and making payments. There is also valuable data sent to the salon, which should help improve the service.
Of course, customers can rate the service and provide reviews. There is even a rewards system. That is, customers earn Snailz points for bookings and they can be redeemed for discounts on future appointments.
So far, the company has coverage in over 350 salons in New York and New Jersey. A new partnership with Universal Process, which has thousands of nail saloon accounts, will help to go nationwide.
Snailz generated $1.3 million bookings last year, coming from the company’s 13.5% commission on the gross transactions. Snailz forecasts that, by 2024, it will have more than 8,000 salons in its networks creating over $70 million in revenues.
For the crowdfunding campaign, the company has raised over $171,000 from 301 investors and the valuation is $10 million.
On the date of publication, Tom Taulli did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is the author of various books on investing and technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, High-Profit IPO Strategies and All About Short Selling. He is also the author of courses on topics like the Python language and COBOL.