Funding a Clear Crypto Future [Interview with Bryan Myint of Republic Crypto]

New Value, New Funding

At its core, crypto is a new way to secure your money and understand exactly where you place it. So it only makes sense to create ways to use this new foundational currency to fund blockchain projects as this ecosystem self-fuels and evolves. 

But the landscape of starting and funding decentralized projects today is fraught with obscure regulation and miles of red tape, not to mention the anxieties with building on a technology that is barely 10 years old. Blockchain entrepreneurship needs facilitators, ones that are well prepared to navigate new initiatives from ideation to proper execution.

Republic is poised to do just that, already helping major crypto initiatives like the PROPS Project raise capital through public crowdfunding and guiding investors to find promising and legitimate new startups. We got to speak with Bryan Myint, Managing Director of Republic, concerning his experiences and the companies goals in the blockchain space.

The Creative Crypto (CC): Thanks for joining us Bryan! Tell us about yourself and how you found yourself in crypto. 

My path towards crypto is a bit unconventional. I started off a career as an engineer, working on medical devices. I like getting my hands dirty with tech and after working on projects like pacemakers, I got exposed to startup life in San Francisco and joined a new company Breeze. We leased cars to drivers so that they could work for Uber and Lyft. I managed operations and the engineering team there for a while, learning how companies worked.

We eventually sold that company to Ford and I moved to consulting in order to learn how companies worked at an operational level. This is where I was introduced to crypto and bought my first ETH back in May 2015. From there, I did a ton of research and was drawn towards the energy of the community. A group of friends and I started to systematically invest and co-founded a crypto fund called Taureon. I started attending more crypto meetups when gatherings at the time were much more informal. We met in company offices at 7pm on random Wednesdays, talking about different consensus algorithms. 

I was eventually introduced to Ken, the CEO at Republic and former General Counsel at AngelList. At the time, he and his team were just launching Republic Crypto. They had been in the equity crowdfunding space for the past three years that allows both non-accredited and accredited investors to invest into young startups. Republic operates under particular securities laws that allow household investors to get involved.

When I joined the company, they were beginning to apply that methodology to crypto. Before, anyone was throwing Bitcoin and ETH at any potential blockchain or company, all highly illegal.

What makes Republic a bit different from what people are accustomed to with Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and how does blockchain mix in there?

Most other well-known platforms like Kickstarter and SeedInvest operate under similar guidelines as us to allow unaccredited investors to get involved with companies. What differentiates Republic is that we actually have a crypto arm that is dedicated and focused on blockchain-based deals. We’ve also expanded our activities to include other regulatory guidance than just fundraising, for example, compliant airdrops for companies that want to distribute their token to a broader public. 

We also support larger sales that fall under Regulation D for companies to raise more money in successive rounds. Republic has a syndication arm that helps syndicate part of the deal for projects as well as a compliance component for the regulatory needs. We’re looking to be a one-stop shop to get crypto-focused companies off the ground and operating along clear legal guidelines.

There are already a number of successful fundraises on the platform that are not blockchain related. Why do you think some ‘normal’ products are moving over from Kickstarter?

Republic has a number of qualities and key differentiators that are shaping to be very attractive for new initiatives. First, we’re keen on helping create a community of people that includes both the entrepreneurs and the people that help fund their projects. Overall, there is a lot more engagement between founders and people that believe in their work enough to buy equity.

Second, we go the extra mile to also support the teams and founders to find strategic partners, investors, vendors, etc. Starting a business isn’t just about capital and we strive to make sure projects are properly executed within the best networks.

Lastly, the level of quality we’ve set with the application process makes for a good marketing tool. We have a strict diligence process that heavily vets the applicants, so many companies see Republic support as a stamp of approval that helps them raise in future rounds. Many companies have already leveraged Republic like a badge of honor to galvanize their community and mobilize their product for further support.

Walk us through the syndication and compliance arms. Especially in the US, many entrepreneurs are nervous about the changing regulatory landscape. Give us a sense of how you work with companies when they join to raise on Republic. 

Companies that approach us have different needs and we’ll work with them to achieve their specific next steps. For example, some have already raised $5 million and don’t necessarily need more funds, but instead want a way to reward their stakeholders. Republic helps provide different avenues for those particular needs, for example creating an airdrop solution to distribute to its users and incentivize a growing community. 

We determine the needs and goals with the founding teams and tailor the product for them. Our suite of products fits together almost like a puzzle and we search for a product fit that combines the most relevant resources for their various stages of fundraising and compliance procedures. We have a brand new [website resource] that brings all these options together for aspiring companies to explore. 

Our team strives to understand each project, understand the needs, and walk them through the process. We don’t shove anything down companies’ throats. Republic strives to stay market competitive and most of the initial services are free, usually up to a certain point of fundraising and legal work.

We’re looking to be a one-stop shop to get crypto-focused companies off the ground and operating along clear legal guidelines.

Not every project gets through to the platform however, as we have a robust vetting process. Projects that do make it to the marketplace tend to do very well and we ensure a high level of quality across all the projects on our main page. This is great for entrepreneurs to be in good company as well as for the investors that know that we don’t let just any project through.

Do you have a sense of how many crypto-based projects have applied and have been successfully funded?

If you explore our website, there are currently about ten campaigns live. In the past we’ve funded several more. We have many things in the pipeline for 2019 and expect a very strong first quarter for this year.

Ongoing Campaigns

Are there any particular types of blockchain products that you’re especially excited about? From your position as a crowdfunding platform, what is your perspective on the crypto space that others might not see?

That’s a great question, and what I always tell others is that we’re only focused on the quality of founders and the quality of projects, both of which have been rising tremendously in recent months. If you only follow the price movement of crypto, you might actually believe that the technology is on its way down. But if you actually are seeing what is being built, we’re seeing a big shift in the caliber of serial entrepreneurs as they enter the blockchain space. From our standpoint, we actually think the crypto industry is flourishing with an incredible amount of innovation. I still think there is a great deal of innovating left to do, but looking at the marketplaces does not give an accurate representation of the tech’s progress today.

I’m really lucky to be alongside the Republic team and to see the bright growing community that is impacting the sector more than ever. 

I want to stress that the route to successfully executing a blockchain product is clearer today than ever. Anybody today can compliantly and safely invest in good crypto projects. Conversely, any blockchain projects can properly open their fundraising rounds to the general public. It has always traditionally been great to receive big investments from high net worth individuals, but it’s a new opportunity to allow fans and users to access investment as well.

For new entrepreneurs who really want to step into the blockchain space, what would your words of encouragement be?

I think it’s a great time to do it because we’re still early in the tech and absolutely no one is an expert, no matter what you see on LinkedIn. If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to do things in this space, you can start today and in a few months, you can be well-known and respected for your work. Things are not as complicated as they first sound and the community is still small and welcoming. If anything, come to Republic and we’ll help you guys out. 

Thank you Bryan for the great discussion and for anyone looking to build and invest in blockchain, be sure to check out their website and their list of resources!


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