Meet the 28 Republic Venture Partners Leading Through This Crisis

Friends, mentors & leaders coming together to support startups with Republic.

We have all seen resources floating around: the guides, the care packages, the cheat sheets on how to survive & thrive in this COVID-19 era. However at Republic, a community-driven investment platform, we know that the best resources are the amazing members that make our Republic universe unique. We're a global & diverse community of 500,000+ accredited and non-accredited investors. Republic’s ethos lies in the crowd so we want to enlist our most active and giving partners to aid in this fight.

After a successful pilot Venture Partner program with 4 women of color in VC, we decided to scale the program further with a diverse group of 28 leaders.

Republic’s Venture Partner program is a curated community of mission-aligned individuals across America focused on supporting startups both inside and outside the Republic ecosystem.

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Breaking the mold, they are Ironmen Triathletes (Christy Brown), former hip-hop producers & songwriters (Brandon Hoffman), and aspiring American Ninja Warriors (Brandon Andrews). The Venture Partners, who range from venture capitalists to founders to ecosystem builders, are all making an impact in their respective communities and embody the Republic mission: fostering entrepreneurial excellence irrespective of background, race, gender, or location

Especially in this day and age, the Venture Partners are coming together, sharing ideas, opportunities, events, and news that will not only assist startups in our community, but also actively support them as they individually face the realities of operating in this pandemic. They are taking time out of their day to vouch for founders, mentor and prepare startups pre-Republic investment campaign, and, in particular, focus on getting underrepresented founders the capital they need to survive and thrive in a post-COVID world. Our Republic Cities initiative (launched in February) has already helped foster City Leads in Austin & Atlanta, eight of whom are part of the Venture Partner program today.

Republic’s Venture Partners are charging the path to bring together the US entrepreneurial community and help us emerge on the other side of the shutdown stronger than ever.

These are the builders, mentors, and mavericks that will help Republic build the inclusive future we all hope to one day see.

Please welcome them as the new vanguard of Republic.

Kofi Ampadu

Kofi Ampadu is a startup investor and advisor with previous experience as an operator, consultant, and founder. He co-founded two businesses: the first was H2Melon, a health and wellness beverage company and the second was Par, a marketplace for airline miles. Kofi currently advises and invests in consumer product and retail-related startups. He also serves on the leadership team of the Startup Leadership Program (NYC Chapter), a highly-selective six-month program for startup founders, and as a Venture Scout for Prototype Capital and Indie VC. Prior to entrepreneurship, he was a strategy consultant at Accenture.

Brandon Andrews

Brandon Andrews is co-founder of Gauge; an AI-driven mobile market research platform connecting brands to consumers and influencers to identify opportunities and avoid mistakes. As Senior Consultant at Values Partnerships he leads the company’s work on technology and entrepreneurship, including leading a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to ABC’s Shark Tank and building inclusive ecosystems. Named a Global Innovation Fellow by the U.S. Department of State, he has traveled the world speaking and hosting events on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Namrata Banerjee

Namrata is an early stage investor and advisor, passionate about supporting founders, especially women and underrepresented minorities. She serves as a Venture Partner with Republic and Venture Associate with AVG Basecamp Fund, sourcing investments in future of work and consumer products. Before VC, she worked in an incubator in Zimbabwe supporting startups in Southern African subcontinent and in product development in startups and large organizations in B2B, B2B2C, and B2C. She co-founded 3 startups, two of which she took from idea to revenue. In her spare time, she serves as an independent consultant and as a mentor to startups at the Carnegie Mellon Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. She holds a BS in Biology and a diploma in Software Engineering from India, MA in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Greg Bennett

Greg joined Kapor Capital in 2019 and focuses on Agtech, Energy, and Infrastructure investments. Prior to joining Kapor Capital, Greg was a consultant for several funds, foundations, corporations, and family offices. Greg was also previously on the investment team at Village Capital, an early-stage venture fund and accelerator, and was focused on finding, training, and investing in founders working to solve big global problems. Greg began his investment career at Unitus Capital, an investment bank based in Bangalore, India. Before moving into the investment field, Greg worked as a product manager for FINCA International, a global microfinance bank, and as a grantwriter and researcher at the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies in Amman, Jordan. He also was a SAT/ACT tutor for students in the United States and Jordan. Greg received his B.A. in International Political Economy the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Outside of work, Greg enjoys boxing, playing soccer, building things out of wood, and hiking the trails of northern California

Avoilan Bingham (Atlanta City Lead)

Avoilan Bingham is the Partnerships Director for music tech company MyMyMusic and CEO and Director for The Bingham Agency. In his role as Partnerships Director, Avoilan conducts outreach and creates business relationships with artists, brands and influencers in media, tech and entertainment to drive artist discovery and user engagement on the MyMyMusic platform. As CEO of The Bingham Agency, Avoilan supports small to medium size businesses with IT solutions including website and app development and support in blockchain, AI, AR/VR and other emerging technologies.

A 2008 Guilford College (NC) graduate and an Atlanta native who resides in the Greater Atlanta area, Avoilan is a devoted husband and proud father of two daughters.

Eric Brook

Eric Brook is an analyst at Big Rock Partners, a cannabis, food and beverage, and hospitality-focused venture fund based in San Francisco. He helps in fund operations, business development, due diligence, deal sourcing, and business analysis, having previously worked as a jr. analyst at Ceres Group Holdings, a cannabis-focused venture fund founded by Scooter Braun. Prior to that, Eric worked in the policy and finance departments for Kamala Harris’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign and subsequently for the New Hampshire Democratic Party before joining as a Digital Director for Yes on 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also in 2016. He is a graduate of Tufts University and holds degrees in Philosophy and Political Science.

Christy Brown (Atlanta City Lead)

Christy has held a number of executive leadership roles over the past 20 years but in 2019, became the Managing Executive Partner of Loeb.atl, a venture collective. This unique model of venture capital pairs traditional venture capital with shared services to scale and grow companies at a faster pace. Prior to assuming the executive leadership role with Loeb.atl, Christy was the Executive VIce President through acquisition at a Fortune 100 human capital management software company where she lead the business transformation & client success organization globally. However, Christy is a rabid founder & visionary and has scaled three service-based companies to exit with business focus on digital marketing, human capital and security consulting which she exited across a 12-year interval.

You can find Christy in midtown Atlanta where she is close to her alma mater, Georgia Institute of Technology, where she earned her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Joy Carerra

Joy Valerie the founder of CarreraDigital.io, an analytics and advertising agency focusing on impact driven businesses partnering with social impact artists and creators. She aims to bridge the gap between social impact and technology by taking a human-centered approach to technology and media. She’s previously led operations at RTK.io, acquired by The Rubicon Project, worked with programs at Americans for Immigrant Justice, and strategy at Grameen America. She is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and Americorps Fellow.

Jackie Di Monte (Austin City Lead)

Jackie joined Hyde Park Venture Partners in 2016. She began her career as a consultant at Accenture in the Business & Technology practice, focused on ERP (enterprise resource planning) software and SaaS enablement projects. After Accenture, she joined Silver Spring Networks, an IoT company for critical infrastructure, driving development and pilot projects for emerging smart city technology. Jackie serves as a board observer for HPVP portfolio companies RoadSync, Podchaser, Fixer and PartySlate and is on the board of organizations for Chicago Blend and The Starting Block Madison. She holds a B.S. with honors in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Zayan Faiyad

Zayan currently leads due diligence and portfolio management on a 2-member team at Harvard Square Labs, a social enterprise incubator launched out of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. Previously, she worked across operations, deal flow origination and diligence at Alumni Ventures Group, a $200MM sector and stage agnostic venture firm. Zayan graduated from Harvard University in 2018 with a degree in Economics and a secondary in Psychology. While at Harvard, Zayan founded an agritech startup and a social enterprise for improving STEM learning outcomes in Bangladesh. She was a Social Innovation Fellow at the HKS Center for Public Leadership. During her free time, Zayan advises both for-profit startups and social enterprises, dabbles in standup comedy and street photography.

Allie Felix

Allie Felix is the Platform Director at Embarc Collective. Previously, Allie led community at Work-Bench, an enterprise technology venture fund, and business development at 37 Angels, a women’s angel investing network in NYC. Prior to that, Allie managed marketing and partnerships for Tim Draper’s pre-accelerator program in San Francisco, Draper University. Allie currently serves on the board of Emerging Technology Leaders Tampa Bay and previously with the Smith College Business Network Advisory Board. She is a graduate of Smith College.

Jay Freeman

Jay Freeman is the Founder & CEO of Bourn.io, an AI-powered visual commerce platform that lets consumers buy whatever they see. Jay recently led Global Product Strategy and Management for PayPal focused on mobile growth and customer experiences. He previously founded TinkerGrowth, a venture studio of product architects, designers and engineers from Google, Nike, Uber, and Spotify. They are committed to helping founders drive their mission, create digital products, launch companies and gain access to capital. As a product leader, Jay embodies strategic vision and leadership with the ability to tactically execute across product design, digital growth, and technology deployment.

Bill Gorham (Austin City Lead)

Active investor in technology and residential real estate, including with the Republic.Co platform. Cannot help from connecting businesses that will benefit from each other. 20+ years of B2B business development, sales & customer success experience in mobile/digital, software, wireless, & telecom industries in Fortune 500, small company and startup settings. Grown business in transportation, state & local government, education, healthcare, finance, CPG and retail sectors. Record of introducing new technology and landing initial logos. Experience repairing strategic ‘at-risk’ accounts and making them profitable. Executive MBA from IE Business School in Madrid.

Chante Harris

Chante Harris is a champion of scaling innovative companies and solutions across the fastest-growing industries through successful go-to-market strategies. She successfully drives long-term expansion for startups by leading them through the complex processes of winning procurement opportunities, securing pilot projects, undertaking design challenges, and launching community impact initiatives. She is an expert in advancing Citywide and Statewide initiatives that advance climate change and the built environment through the deployment of emerging technologies and the creation of successful policy and regulations. Recently named by America on Tech as an Innovator and Disruptor and Women E-news as a Pioneering Woman in Sustainability, she is passionate about civic engagement and a fierce advocate for women and people of color’s representation in urban innovation. Additionally, Chante was selected as part of Summit’s inaugural Impact Fellowship class and currently serves a Senior Summit Fellow. She is based in New York City, where she serves on the Board of Directors at The Kota Alliance, as Vice-Chair of Diversity for Teach For America-New York and an Emerging Leader for New York Women’s Foundation. She is an alumna of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and a graduate of American University.

Melissa Herman

As Founding Partner of Left Tackle Capital, Melissa up-skills, connects and designs community for a cohort of emerging funds led by women and people of color. She serves on the executive board of The Sumaira Foundation for NMO, a nonprofit that raises global awareness for an extremely rare autoimmune disease. A true wanderlust, she is a founding member of purpose-driven organizations like Escape the City NYC and Campowerment. She is also a Champion for a global movement called Thank You Small Business. Melissa currently resides in Brooklyn, thrives in tribes and treasures her vinyl collection

Brandon Hoffman

Brandon Hoffman manages the Innovation & Research team at Samsung NEXT, where he works to create the thought leadership agenda on behalf of the Chief Innovation Officer delivering insights on disruptive trends relating to Industries, Consumers & Technologies, and Geographies. In this role, he leverages his expertise to educate Samsung NEXT, Samsung Electronics’ leadership, and the wider Samsung community on both the challenges and opportunities facing the organization, all while driving collaboration with the broader startup ecosystem. He also co-founded and is co-head of the Diverse Founders Initiative, which is focused on identifying, empowering, and investing in startups founded by diverse entrepreneurs.

Harold Hughes (Austin City Lead)

Harold Hughes is the Founder and CEO of BandwagonFanClub, Inc. Before starting Bandwagon, Harold spent nearly a decade in Corporate America working in the barcoding, RFID, and two-tier distribution industry. He received Bachelors degrees in both Economics (B.A.) and Political Science (B.A.) from Clemson University as well as an MBA with a focus on Supply Chain and Information Management. He is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Stanford University). Harold is a Founder Institute graduate (2015) and led his company through the Capital Factory Accelerator (2018) and the IBM Blockchain Accelerator (2019). He takes pride in his role as a contributor and supporter in the startup ecosystem as he serves as a mentor for founders (primarily Black founders and women) while also being transparent about his founder journey. He is an advisor to two Austin-based startups: Heirlum, a social memory company creating the augmented remembrance space, and myCoffeePass, a monthly subscription-based mobile app that connects coffee lovers to local coffee shops.

Andrew Khalatov

Andrew specializes in early-stage healthcare and
technology companies that are just beginning to find their traction. Outside of Republic, he works with the
Alumni Venture Group on their First Check Fund, and acts as a strategic go-to-market advisor for his portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Republic, Andrew was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, Accenture, and Capco, working for industry leading clients in healthcare, finance, and technology. Andrew has received a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrations in economics and finance from
Babson College in 2009. Andrew also earned a M.S. in Risk Management from NYU Stern in 2017. In his personal life Andrew enjoys politics, foreign films, secondary markets (Craigslist, LetGo, etc…), and
spending time with his family.

Jesse Martinez

Jesse Martinez has over 20 years of experience in the Silicon Valley technology sector as an entrepreneur, founder and manager. Jesse has founded three tech companies, raised capital from a variety of investors and been through the growth pains of scaling. Jesse is a committed part of the Hispanic tech world as a founder of The Latino Start-Up Alliance. Jesse is currently Salesforce’s first entrepreneur in residence and a venture partner for Vamos Ventures. Vamos’ mission is to empower diverse communities through wealth creation, talent pipeline building social mobility and unique tech-driven solutions to challenges persistent in our communities. Jesse is a Texas A&M graduate.

Alejandra Molina

Alejandra Molina is the Co-Founder of Beepboop.us, working to break language barriers across the world, by making learning languages a fun and efficient experience. A part of the MetaBronx Accelerator, Alejandra is focused on bringing her startup and other initiatives to the world, including to her home country Peru. She has studied and lived in 7+ countries with 4 years of cross border professional experience.

Allyson Plosko

Allyson is currently a director at Vinaj, where she leads Telosity, which invests in Seed and Series A stage companies with digital tools to improve mental health and well-being in young people. Prior to Vinaj, Allyson led Village Capital’s US Health practice, where she worked with over 50 early-stage health companies, assisting them in designing and honing go-to-market and fundraising strategies. While at Village Capital, Allyson participated as a NSF SBIR Phase I commercial reviewer and served on the advisory board for TechEmerge, an initiative by IFC and Health 2.0 to match global startups with pilots in India.

Shaun Randolph

Shaunn Randolph is a serial entrepreneur, non-profit professional, grant writer, social enterprise consultant and innovative finance pioneer. He has become a venture capital/private equity advisor dedicated to harnessing some of the most profit-driven concepts from the private sector (private equity, venture capital and investment banking) and re-tooling them into vehicles for social impact.

Shaun brings 10 years of experience spanning organizational development, social enterprise consulting, project management, grant writing and innovative finance.

Courteney Real (Austin City Lead)

Courteney Real works in Investor Relations at Portfolia, a Venture Capital firm in Palo Alto, California. She also is the founder of RiseHER, a community that is championing female led companies all around the world. Courteney is the host of The Real Capitalist Podcast, a weekly show featuring female venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Courteney was born & raised in Denver, Colorado. She completed her undergraduate degrees in Finance, Entrepreneurship and International Business Management at Arizona State University. She was a member of the Draper University Fall 2017 cohort, with her company Trader Jack.

Courteney has a vast experience working within the Startup Ecosystem. She has done everything from being an early-stage entrepreneur to launching co-working spaces, with experience in seed-stage venture capital. Most recently Courteney worked on the Global business development team at silicon valley’s leading pre-accelerator Draper University. She is passionate about revenue models, early-stage investments, traveling the world and emerging startup ecosystems.

Helen Ruan

Helen Ruan is an investor, advisor, and entrepreneur. She founded thesabr.com (Startup Analysis Boardroom for Angel Investors), which is committed to helping investors make informed decisions and manage risks by providing high-quality deal flow and comprehensive analysis of each startup investment deal. Helen also advises companies on corporate strategy, product, marketing, business development, ecosystem partnerships. Based in Silicon Valley, Helen has helped B2B, B2C & B2B2C companies of different sizes in various stages grow, expand or exit. She helped two IoT connected car companies successfully exit within 15 months. Before that, Helen led the product management team responsible for the WebOS Smartphone product line, which attracted HP to acquire Palm at $1.2 billion within 3 years from product concept. Before joining Palm, Helen was Head of Competitive Analysis & Marketing at Intel, played a significant role in helping Intel secure №1 position in computing technology and global market share.

Helen received her BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) together in 4.5 years as an Intel Foundation Scholar.

Shane Sabine

Shane is a senior venture fellow at Alumni Ventures Group (AVG), a $250M fund that co-invests alongside such institutional VCs as First Round Capital, Index Ventures and Y Combinator. He has been active on both seed and Series A mandates across a span of verticals. For AVG portfolio companies, Shane has successfully identified CxOs and implemented pilot programs with industry players. Shane is a lead mentor to multiple Techstars startups and has equity in Alchemist Accelerator companies as a sales coach. He judges at both of these organizations. Additionally, he has recently begun helping Andreessen Horowitz’s staffing team by sourcing executive and engineering talent. Prior to his experience in venture, Shane ran an operational consultancy in Germany with enterprise clients such as Bosch, Deutsche Bank, and Deutsche Telekom. He is near-native fluent in German. Shane earned his bachelor’s in business economics from Brown University (and has been accepted to Booth’s and Kellogg’s MBA programs). Firmly believing in generosity, he has donated his bone marrow to a leukemia sufferer, regularly volunteers at his church’s Sunday school, and chairs Brown fundraising and interviewing committees.

Dustin Shay

Dustin Shay is Senior Director of Partnerships for Village Capital. In this role, he leads the development of critical partnerships among industry leaders to support the team’s primary mission: to create long-term prosperity and sustainability by backing the entrepreneurs of the future. He also supports the development of organizational strategy, serves as primary lead for all fundraising activities, and oversees the capture and organization of key impact metrics. Prior to joining Village Capital, Dustin was Senior Associate with the Sorenson Impact Center, leading teams to discover and conduct due diligence on seed-stage ventures around the world. He is a graduate of the University of Utah, and currently resides in New York City.

Justin Smith

Justin Smith serves as Director at Argo Ventures and is responsible for investments in Cadence, Mulberry Technology, Borrowell, Credijusto, and Yallacompare. He serves as a Board Observer at Cadence, Yallacompare, and Union POS. Prior to Argo Ventures, he was a Vice President at Tusk Ventures, a venture fund focused on startups operating in heavily regulated industries. While at Tusk, he executed investments in Bird, Lemonade, Care/of, Coinbase, Lyric, Nexar, and Roman. Before Tusk, he was an investor at Providence Equity Partners and an investment banker in the Leveraged Finance group at Jefferies. He began his career at Ernst & Young and is a licensed CPA in the state of Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin.

Brian Zwerner (Atlanta City Lead)

Brian Zwerner is an experienced investor, entrepreneur, and business advisor. He is a founding member and a leader on the investment committee of Beyond The Game Network, a group of athletes and business execs in Atlanta that work with and invest in startups. Zwerner is the founder of Sportal, a startup in the sports industry. He managed the growth of Aquina Health through a Series A capital raise. He has invested in or held senior roles with a number of companies and funds. Previously Zwerner spent 20 years in investment banking roles.

Republic’s Venture Partners will be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” on our blog starting next week so stay tuned for more.

Questions, ideas, want to be a part of this movement? The Republic Venture Partner Program is accepting limited applications on a rolling basis — please email Cheryl Campos (cheryl@republic.co) for consideration.

Head of Venture @ Republic, investing in private startups. Learn more at republic.co & follow me on twitter @modelvc

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