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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 a million 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 seven:
- Relay On Demand
- Moku Foods
- COI Energy
Equity Crowdfunding: Relay On Demand
For trucking companies, one of the biggest challenges is finding qualified drivers. The recruiting process can be expensive and time-consuming. Something else to keep in mind: the turnover rate for truckers is close to 100%.
To help out with this, Relay On Demand has developed a digital marketplace. The network includes over 1,000 pre-certified drivers who are looking for contract opportunities.
The Rely On Demand platform includes a web portal as well as an iOS and Android app. Yes, it is similar to Uber (NYSE:UBER). The app is also easy to use, only requiring three clicks.
The user base has been growing at about 20% month-over-month and the ARR (Annual Recurring revenue) is at roughly $2 million. The business is also profitable.
Regarding the equity crowdfunding round, the company has raised over $200,000 from 479 investors and the valuation is $8 million.
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. 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 $55,000 from 176 investors and the valuation is $6 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.
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 $459,000 from 818 investors and the valuation is $8 million.
Energy waste in the U.S. is enormous, estimated around $55 billion per year. And that doesn’t even include the climate costs of carbon emissions.
Part of energy waste is due to the understandable convenience needs of consumers. Hey, when you switch on a light, it should turn on. But this also poses major issues when it comes to “peak demand.”
Utilities have developed energy efficiency incentives, but these are often unknown to consumers and businesses. But COI Energy sees this as an opportunity. The company is developing a platform that uses sophisticated technologies like machine learning to take advantage of these benefits and provide for better management of energy — all done in real-time.
COI Energy has forged partnerships with utilities like Tampa Electric Company and New York Power Authority for a white-label solution. There is also an integration with SAP (NYSE:SAP), which is has an ERP system used by many energy companies.
The business model for COI Energy is based on a subscription model. The company also projects that its revenues will hit $25 million by 2022.
Regarding the equity crowdfunding campaign, the company has raised over $459,000 from over 1,336 investors and the valuation is $18 million.
When it comes to startups to invest in, the cannabis sector is quite popular. After all, the market opportunity is enormous. The election of President Joe Biden may also lead to loosening of the laws and restrictions.
On the Republic website, an interesting cannabis deal is Cannabox. The company, which was founded in 2013, provides a subscription box services for accessories. It’s a way to help customers discover new products and essentials.
Each of the Cannabox’s boxes are hand-selected by experts. There are also various exclusive items.
Since inception, the company has generated over $11.5 million and the year-over-year growth rate is 65%. There is also a loyal customer base, with more than 800,000 followers on social media channels.
Customer service is incredibly challenging, as it can be expensive to hire and train qualified support reps. There is also the issue of turnover. Moreover, customers have come to expect seamless digital experiences.
This is where Relay comes in. It’s a simple application that allows for effective communications between service professionals and customers. It helps to automate scheduling (that include reminders), messages (there are pre-written scripts), video sharing, reviews and payments that integrate with PayPal’s (NASDAQ:PYPL) Venmo and Intuit’s (NASDAQ:INTU) QuickBooks. There is also a dashboard for analytics.
Rely has signed up 20 customers (the service is currently in beta) and the app is available on Android Play and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes. The company has a subscription service that has two tiers: one at $189 per month and another at $289.
Relay has raised over $300,000 from angel investors. As for the equity crowdfunding campaign, the company has raised over $186,000 from 430 investors and the valuation is $3 million.
The countertop industry is massive, estimated at $30 billion. But there are inefficiencies. For example, countertop fabricators have to purchase oversized slabs. In the end, this means that the wastecosts are passed on to consumers.
But CountertopSmart, is a startup focused on streamlining the industry. It has built an app that allows a person to make a purchase for a partial slab from local fabricators. There is also a wide selection of offerings.
The CountertopSmart marketplace has thousands of fabricators. The system also makes it easy to search by dimension, color, species and so on. There is even an instant quote and the setting of an appointment for an installer. As a result, the savings can by anywhere from 60% to 80% versus the traditional approach. But fabricators are also able to realize improvements in their bottom lines (the sale of slabs is not core to their business).
The company has seen momentum, with the run-rate at $720,000 (on an annual basis). The company takes a 50% cut of the sales.
As for the equity crowdfunding round, the company has raised over $64,000 from 104 investors and the valuation is at $8.5 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.