Republic Cities is a program that says it chooses high growth, up-and-coming cities that are working to level the playing field for entrepreneurs. Launched by Republic, a private investment platform that allows greater access to early-stage startups, the Cities initiative aims to drive fundraising for companies built by their own communities.
Up next for the program? A launch in Dallas.
Our city was chosen as Republic Cities’ newest locale based on its fast momentum to becoming a “hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.” The team said it recognized that Dallas is overflowing with talent, but the availability of funding for early-stage startups is lacking. And it wants to change that.
“While not always thought of as a startup hub, we fundamentally believe Dallas will become one of the greatest centers for entrepreneurship over the next few years,” James Jang, who is on the Republic Dallas Launch Team, told Dallas Innovates. ” DFW’s tech-talent labor pool is the fifth largest nationally at 179,570 workers, which amounts to 4.9 percent of the overall DFW workforce (national average is 3.7%) and is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies. Lastly, it is no secret that Dallas is one of the top cities taking in talent from the ‘techodus’ that has accelerated over the past few years.”
Jang, also the founder and CEO of optab, was integral in bringing the program to Dallas alongside Eduardo Zaldivar, a Republic venture partner and lead of the Dallas Launch Team, and Shrina Kurani, Republic’s VP of Business.
The team partnered with the Dallas Entrepreneurship Center, Southern Methodist University, Integrative Ventures, and Worklodge for the initial local kickoff, though Jang says anyone looking to grow and support the Dallas-Fort Worth ecosystem are welcome to get involved.
Republic Cities hopes to start building an inclusive program for entrepreneurs here in Dallas—one that can drive investments for homegrown success.
Republic Cities Dallas aims to connect with the local startup community while highlighting the companies that are raising on Republic. Part of that effort means educating Dallas on Republic’s online fundraising, especially considering the team has to-date facilitated more than $200 million in over 250 companies.
“In 2019, Republic companies raised over $500K on average, and our portfolio companies have gone on to raise from Halogen VC, Bain Capital, Bullpen Capital, Foxconn, LAUNCH (Jason Calcanis), and Techstars,” Jang says. “Republic has deep expertise in building powerful and curated innovation communities for both startups & investors. With its recent acquisitions in 2020, Republic is looking to not only bring startups but also real estate investment opportunities to the booming Dallas community.”
Republic’s platform allows startups to raise up to $1 million, and the next year $5 million, but from anyone and everyone. That literally means the general public—customers, friends, family, supporters are all invited to become stakeholders in a budding entrepreneur’s business.
At the crux of the Republic platform is getting the word out that founders can raise up to $1.07 million using regulation crowdfunding. The company believes it’s a great option for many, and “certainly more attractive than using credit cards or predatory short-term high APR loans,” its team says.
Here’s how it works: Once a startup applies to raise, it must undergo diligence and be approved by Republic’s investment committee to begin. Founders from virtually any industry, from edtech and blockchain to cannabis and retail, are invited to apply.
Those selected are then given a dedicated account manager to support their fundraise and can tap into Republic’s marketing to raise capital.
“Republic spun out from AngelList in 2016 to open up access to curated, high growth potential deals to everyone, something which had previously only been accessible to accredited investors,” Jang says. “Republic acknowledges the gap in the investment landscape, and is fighting to change the perception of what it means to be an entrepreneur and what it means to an investor.”
That’s a main reason why Republic dubs itself “your next growth hack”: In addition to potential capital from its 500,000 investors and some 1 million site visitors, entrepreneurs can use a campaign to increase their user base, sell more product, get press coverage, or connect with a venture capital firm.
The method allows for company control to be maintained, no impact on traditional rounds, and investments to be made by credit card. Don’t mistake the platform as a “replacement” to VC, though—the company says that more than 200 VCs and investors have backed companies running a Republic campaign.
“For investors, Republic is making investing as easy as possible,” Jang says. “Anyone, regardless of accreditation status, can invest as little as $50 into deals on Republic, and can even invest with their credit card.”
And, to celebrate and spread the word about the Republic Cities Dallas launch, a virtual event hosted by Republic and local organizations is being held on Nov. 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The evening will feature panel discussions from founders and community partners, along with a pitch session for Dallas startups that want to raise on Republic.
In filling out the online application, startups will be submitted to Republic’s investment team and evaluated from there.
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