Now Anyone Can Invest in Your Startup

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Women 2.0 is excited to partner with Republic. Founded by AngelList alumni, Republic is one of the few, new equity crowdfunding platforms.  Republic-logo-transparent

 

This post is sponsored by a Women 2.0 Partner, Republic, an equity crowdfunding platform where anyone can invest as little as $10 in innovative, mission-driven startups.

 

Meet Republic: Anyone can be an investor in your startup’s journey Being an entrepreneur is hard. We know, we’ve been with you for 10 years. We’ve seen our community start new ideas, stop new ideas, fund new ideas, grow new ideas, change course, hire slowly and fire quickly. It’s never been the simplest of choices but always worthwhile, right? As we’ve seen the entrepreneurial journey evolve we’ve also seen changes in fundraising landscape. More women entering Venture Capital, more women becoming Angel investors. We’ve seen the launch of platforms like Indiegogo (In fact, we met Danae Ringelmann, one of the co-founders of Indiegogo, when she was launching Indiegogo), we’ve seen the launch of a Title II Platform, Angellist and here we are today, on the heels of a new change in the industry, an opening to Equity Crowdfunding -- where nearly anyone, the crowd, can put money into privately held businesses they believe in. The only constant we've seen is change, and it's looking good, up and to the right, maybe? ;-) Natural and Necessary Partnership When we met the Republic team, we knew the partnership was natural and necessary. There are more and more founders following their dreams, but the capital is limited as a whole, difficult to access and isn’t always the right fit with the increasing diversity of, not just founders, but business models and ideas as well. With Equity Crowdfunding, entrepreneurs can access a vast new source of capital: investments from the general public. And everyone – irrespective of her net worth or income – can share in the success of innovative startups they choose to back.   This is important to fuel new ideas - equity becomes a new way to connect with people that believe in your business the most. Where crowdfunding meant getting a nice t-shirt or mug in exchange for supporting an idea you wanted to see in the world, equity crowdfunding gives investors the gift of joining the entrepreneurial journey, the upside and the downside, but more importantly a deeper connection to the company and its founders.

How does this Women 2.0 + Republic partnership work? Simple, if you are a founder interested in raising operating dollars from the crowd, send us an email to social@women2.com and we will facilitate an intro to the Republic team to evaluate and explore the fit for your startup.

Already, companies from the Women 2.0 community have joined Republic to raise, including: 

  • RaceYa a startup building tools to inspire girls to embrace STEM
  • Maternova a women's health solutions company pioneering anti-Zika apparel

More startups will be added on a rolling basis, so, check back frequently. More than just a fundraising platform, a connected community

Republic is also launching with a unique network of venture capitalists including, Naval Ravikant, Jason Calacanis and social advocates including Shiza Shahid of Malala Fund and NOW Ventures, our CEO, Shaherose representing us, Women 2.0, Ramona Ortega of Latino Startup Alliance. The Republic team brings experience ranging from growth hacking to coding to legal and are committed to supporting the founder journey which we know is far from smooth. They are looking to leverage the expertise of their network, this connected community, to the startups that raise the platform.

We had the chance to sit down and interview Kendrick, the founder of Republic to learn about launch of the platform.  Women 2.0: What does the JOBS Act and Title III really mean? Kendrick: "This is a big deal. 80 years of legislation have essentially changed to allow nearly anyone to invest in privately held companies. Prior to this, if you wanted to invest in a privately held company, you had to be an accredited investor (Have a net worth over $1mi or make $200,000 a year) -- that is only 3% of the US population. This leaves out investors who could benefit and leaves money on the table for companies looking for operating cash. Now, with Title III, the rest of us, not just the rich, can invest in privately held companies - that’s exciting for founders and companies to grow." Women 2.0: What kinds of companies are best suited for an equity crowdfunding raise? Kendrick: "Equity Crowdfunding isn’t for everyone - but we’ve seen a few types of companies that it may be a good fit for -- companies that are new, and don’t have a lot of finances to disclose, this could be a good fit.

Companies with a marketplace component where, the very people that benefit from the business can also participate in the overall company journey. Imagine if every Airbnb Host or every Lyft Driver could, invest as little as $100 and gain equity in the company they work for and already benefit from.

Diverse founders benefit -- where they would typically be challenged to reach traditional forms of investing, equity crowdfunding is open to them.

Also, companies that have previously, successfully raised on Indiegogo or KickStarter and want to offer a new campaign for equity to existing and new backers, are a good fit.

Lastly, we believe, business that have deep social impact bend are also a great fit, and are the kinds of companies we want to see more of." Women 2.0: Looks like this process involves a lot of financial disclosure. What should a founder keep in mind? Kendrick: "Yes, this process involves making available company finances for 2 years. This can be scary at first for a company, but if you are running the business the way you should be, it shouldn’t be a problem, but this a very personal decision and should be done thoughtfully by founders." Women 2.0: How does equity crowdfunding affect your cap table and future fundraising Kendrick: "Yes, we get this question a lot, it can be confusing. At Republic we’ve created CrowdSafe which is a legal instrument that allows you to, in future funding rounds, remove the people on the cap table so that this doesn’t affect future rounds." Women 2.0: What world do you imagine with platforms like Republic empowering people and companies? Kendrick: "What excites me most about Republic is the opportunity to open up funding to all types of companies and new types of investors. That means two things: more money for entrepreneurship and a more leveled playing field for women and minorities.

republic infographic Currently, only 7% of venture funding goes to startups with women founders, likely because more than 90% of investment professionals hired by venture firms are male. At Republic, we believe in the wisdom of the crowd when it comes to picking innovations that matter to our future and supporting entrepreneurs equally across all backgrounds. The real power of transformation is held in the hands of the masses. The world I envision is one that gives every good idea a chance to grow into an impactful business. Something that works only for a few is but a glimmer of the real opportunity. Republic is here to convert that glimmer to full-on light."