Republic Crowdfunding Platform Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
November 10, 2022
Republic
Overall Rating:
securely through Republic's website

Republic is an online crowdfunding platform that offers investors a chance to buy equity startup companies and opportunities across a wide range of fields. Republic is run by an experienced group of financial professionals who also invest the platform’s own money into their offerings.

Best For
  • Investors looking for startup opportunities
  • Investors looking to diversify
  • Non-accredited investors
Pros
  • Offers early opportunities to invest in start ups
  • Offerings across wide range of fields
  • Open to non-accredited investors
  • Low investor fees
  • Buy-ins as low as $50
Cons
  • Startup investments are inherently risky
  • No secondary market

Republic Ratings at a Glance

Fees
Ease of Use
Investor Education
Offerings
Mobile App
Could Be the Startup Platform You’ve Been Waiting For

Startups need startup retail investors - that's just a fact. But finding the financial resources that investors bring can be a challenge. That's why crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways of raising startup capital for startup owners. Benzinga reviews Republic Crowdfunding to help you understand if this platform is right for your fundraising efforts.

Everyone knows that the earlier you get to the fishing hole, the better your chances of making a big catch are. Once a dozen other fishermen have lures in the water, the big fish will move on.  

This sentiment also applies to investing. Almost every retail investor can name an investment opportunity they wish they’d been able to get in on before the IPO drove share prices through the roof. The general rule is that early investors reap the largest share of the spoils if the investment goes well.

Unfortunately for retail investors, most early startup opportunities require such high investment minimums that they are almost exclusively in the domain of connected venture capitalists and private equity firms.

The Republic platform seeks to solve both of those problems. Republic funds startup opportunities in a number of fields with a combination of its own funds and investor contributions. It allows them to give retail investors a chance to buy equity in startups before the share price becomes too expensive. 

How Does Republic Work?

The Republic platform was created by the same people who started AngelList, which is one of the world’s foremost platforms for accredited private investing. Republic’s founders realized there was a gap in the market between startups and investors whose lack of accreditation and inability to make 6 and 7 figure bets on startups basically blocked them from getting in early at hot startups. 

Republic’s team is headed up by a diverse group of financial professionals with experience in multiple fields. As a result, they don’t just focus on 1 particular type of startup. Republic offers equity crowdfunding opportunities in a variety of fields, which include:

  • Video games
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Real estate
  • Startups

Where Republic separates itself from other similar platforms is its vetting process and investment minimums. Before companies can raise money through Republic, they must apply and submit themselves to an intense vetting process. Republic only accepts less than 2% of applications from companies seeking funding. 

Once that application is accepted, Republic puts some of its own money into the company and then makes equity in the startup available to its investors as a crowdfunded offering. If the offering hits its funding target, both Republic and its investors receive an equity share in the company, which will theoretically pay off if the company is successful. At that point, everyone gets paid based on the amount of equity their original investment purchased. 

Republic Fees

Republic collects its fees from the companies that have offerings on the platform. Every company or startup that passes Republic’s vetting and appears on the platform pays a percentage of the funds collected to Republic to cover the cost of maintaining the platform and paying for Republic’s workers. Investors don’t have to worry about ancillary fees or extra costs aside from the principal they put into investments. That’s why it gets a full 5-star rating. 

Republic Ease of Use

In spite of the fact Republic offers a wide variety of investments in a number of fields, the platform itself is easy to use. Republic does a wonderful job of offering investors a lot of options without confusing them. Sign-up is easy and comes with a quick debrief/introduction page that walks new members through the basics of crowdfunding. 

The first part of the orientation specifically advises investors that crowdfunding startups and new investments are inherently risky. It goes on to lay out that the platform has an annual contribution limit of $2,200 for non-accredited investors and specifically touches on the fact that once an investor buys in, there is no refund or secondary market where they can liquidate their shares. The transparency is refreshing.

Browsing the many offerings on Republic is also easy because you can just choose from a scroll-down list or type in your preferred investment into the search bar under the “Invest” section. So, if for example, you’re into cryptocurrency, you can go straight there as opposed to scrolling through dozens of real estate or biotech offerings. Overall, the platform is incredibly functional and simple enough for even a novice investor to use. 

Republic Investor Education

The investor education section of any online investment platform is a key indicator of how well designed the platform is and how much the platform’s operators value their investors. When it comes to platforms like Republic, which raises money for unproven ventures like startups, it’s mission-critical that investors be properly educated as to the potential risks and rewards involved. Additionally, investors need to understand how the entire process works. 

Republic does an excellent job on all of these fronts. At the top of the landing page, there is a Learn tab, which will direct users to a treasure trove of resources. Perhaps the best of these resources is the Podcast section, which is a weekly series of Podcasts from different heavyweights in the field of investing. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Investing in private vs. public markets by Scott Graham, Portfolio Manager for Republic
  • Investing in crypto by David Gan, General Partner, OP Crypto
  • Investing in a diversified portfolio by Spencer X Smith, Angel and Crypto Investor
  • Investing in the new virtual economy, Michael Wagner, CEO Star Atlas
republic-podcasts
Source: Republic website

The Republic platform produces podcasts from industry insiders on almost every type of offering available so that inexperienced investors can gain specific knowledge about the current state of the industry they choose to invest in as well as the long-term future for the field.  

The well-stocked blog section is packed with information on a variety of subjects. The Superheroes section includes blog posts from some of the founders of the startups currently raising funds on the platform. Investor education walks new investors through the ins and outs of investing in start-ups, what they can expect and how the process works. Crypto and real estate sections have industry-specific information about those particular fields.

Finally, the How it Works section is a simple explanation of how the Republic platform works, including how it chooses startups, how to invest and understanding deal terms. The bottom line is that Republic does an outstanding job of covering just about every aspect of investor education, and that’s key for a platform like this. A 4.5-star rating is well-earned here. 

republic-how-it-works
Source: Republic website

Republic Offerings

Usually, when crowdfunding platforms have offerings for non-accredited investors, it’s a limited number of offerings in just a few fields. Republic is almost the polar opposite of that. It has offerings with $250 to $500 buy-ins for startups in an incredible variety of fields. One of the platform’s main points of focus is getting investors to realize that since funding startups is so risky, the best way to mitigate that risk is to have a diverse spread of investments. 

It’s a relief to see a platform go the extra mile and actually provide affordable investment opportunities in fields like real estate, crypto, bio-tech, gaming and more. You will even find a section for accredited investors who wish to invest more money than the typical Republic platform user. 

republic-offerings
Source: Republic website

Historical Performance

Republic was only founded in 2017 and has thus far raised over $700,000.000 for its startup offerings. However, a majority of these deals are still in their hold periods or have yet to mature to the point where they are paying dividends to investors. There is no information on the platform regarding the historical performance of any fully funded deals at this time, so it’s impossible to give them a grade here. 

republic-stats
Source: Republic website

Mobile App

Mobile App

Republic has a mobile app that allows users to invest, track their portfolio and basically run the platform from their mobile phone. It’s a smooth functioning app that works as well as the on-line platform and the only downside of it is that the Republic mobile app is only available for I-phone users. So, if you’ve got a Samsung Galaxy, you’ll just have to use the desktop version until it releases an app for you. With that said, Republic deserves a lot of credit for having developed an effective mobile platform. But if you really want to use it, you’ll have to get an I-phone or  trade your Android in for one the next time you upgrade your mobile. 

Republic Could Be the Startup Platform You’ve Been Waiting For

In what is becoming an increasingly crowded marketplace of online investment platforms, Republic is truly a breath of fresh air. A quick review of the team it has put together to run this platform reveals an incredible depth of experience, knowledge and success in high finance. This group of people has made a lot of money for their investors in the past, and they have obviously put a lot of money, time and brainpower into creating an investment platform for the rest of us.

Whereas most crowdfunding platforms try to wow investors with potential rewards, Republic is very up-front about both the risks and rewards of investing in startups. The annual investment cap for non-accredited investors speaks to Republic’s genuine concern for potential investors. On top of that, you have a platform with an incredible diversity of highly vetted startup opportunities in almost every field you can imagine. All in all, it’s difficult to find too many negatives about this platform. If you’re a non-accredited investor who is thinking about buying into startups, Republic should be one of your very first stops.

Q

Can you crowdfund a startup?

A

Yes, crowdfunding a startup is one of the easiest ways to get connect with investors who are enthusiastic about your product.

Q

What are the downsides to crowdfunding?

A

The main downside to crowdfunding is that the startup costs to create and run the campaign can be expensive.

Q

How do crowdfunding investors get paid?

A

Crowdfunding investors get paid by receiving shares of the business or annual dividents from the business.

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