In this Interview with Ken Nguyen, CEO of Republic , he will talk to us about his Latest Project, the Token DPA.
1) Hi Ken, could you please tell our audience briefly about yourself?
I’m the CEO of Republic, an investment platform connecting tech startups and blockchain projects with global investors – both accredited and unaccredited. Prior to Republic, I served as general counsel of AngelList and Fellow of Stanford University’s Center for Corporate Governance. I’m a founding adviser to NOW Ventures and CoinList, an ICO platform. As an immigrant from Vietnam, I have a strong interest in improving access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs in the U.S. and beyond.
2) We had the chance to interview you before on your crowdfunding platform Republic, how is business going at Republic since then?
The company has experienced significant growth. Some of which includes tripled investor growth, 10x monthly transaction volume and growing from two startups raising per month to over 20. More specifically, 2017 was huge for us. We:
- Created the Token DPA — the first security instrument that allows blockchain companies to safely and legally offer a token pre-sale to non-accredited participants.
- Held our first offering using the Token DPA sale, which sold out (hit the SEC-limited max of $1.07M) in hours.
- Finished our most successful year ever with nearly $5M raised by startups from the crowd, of which half went to women and minority founders.
3) You created the Token DPA for a safe and secure token pre-sale, could you explain to us how this works?
The Token DPA was created first and foremost for small-check investors with a lower tolerance for risk and who warrant greater protections when investing in the blockchain space. The Token DPA (Debt Payable by Assets) is an alternative/complement to the SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens). Since the debut of the SAFT in mid-2017, accredited investors, who have a high tolerance for risk, have been able to purchase this security with the promise of future tokens at a advantageous pre-sale cost, but with limited-to-no protections if tokens never materialize.
The Token DPA is a debt instrument, meaning participants are lenders to the company for a set term. By lending money. participants take priority in event the company goes bankrupt, over equity holders and SAFT holders, generally. Participants’ loan to a company issuing a Token DPA can earn interest, payable in cash – but this interest does not begin to accrue for an initial period to give issuing companies an opportunity to develop their protocol without accruing interest looming over their heads. As the term of the debt nears, the company can either pay investors back in cash with interest or if they develop a token they can pay participants back with those tokens at a set preferential conversion rate. This allows participants, as early supporters, to receive all of the benefits of the SAFT with more downside protection.
As a securities attorney first and foremost, I most appreciate that a company can offer the Token DPA or a SAFT to accredited investors and the Token DPA to unaccredited and international investors allowing them to include everyone in their financing / pre-sale. By expanding the pool of participants, this potentially lessens the likelihood that tokens derived from these instruments are considered securities, due to the widely available pre-order effect allowing anyone and everyone to participate provides.
4) You just raised $1.07M in your first Token DPA sale, what made this successful and how excited are you?
We think this was successful because the PROPS team was able to capture massive demand that had yet to be tapped. By giving unaccredited members early access to its token sales, PROPS was able to accomplish something no other major compliant ICO conducted in the United States had managed to do.
We’re invigorated by what blockchain technology provides. It’s giving rise to one of the most transformative wealth-creation opportunities of our time. Opportunities that we’re eager to bring to everyone. We hope to bring more opportunities like this to unaccredited and international investors this year.
5) We learned that you recently helped starts raise over $5M from the crowd, could you tell us more about this?
We had one of our most successful years in 2017 with nearly $5M raised for 33 startups on our platform. Furthermore, more than half of of these startups are led by women and/or minority founders. We launched the company with the primary goal of bringing startup investing to everyone – regardless of gender, community or background. Good ideas exist everywhere, yet very few people have access to capital. It leaves out a lot of good ideas that, if given the chance, could become large, impactful companies and create millions of jobs.
6) How is Token DPA unique from other tokens?
The Token DPA is a securities instrument, not a blockchain token, but stay tuned, as Republic does have plans to help companies digitize and tokenize the securities they offer through Republic.
7) How will investors and token holders profit from Token DPA?
They can either receive interest in the form of cash on their loan to the company or they can receive Tokens at a discounted price, which will likely hold great utility value, hold value through their developers protocols and may be tradeable through registered exchanges.
8) For those who missed the Token DPA sale, Is there more opportunities to invest and how?
Republic welcomes companies that believe they are appropriate candidates for hosting a Token DPA offering on Republic Crypto to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We plan to host more offerings in the near future.
9) Would you like to share the exchanges where Token DPA will be traded?
Each companies Token DPA will be not be freely tradeable for 12 months or until they are converted to tokens. If the tokens are freely tradeable is yet to be determined, but there are currently numerous token exchanges operating – participants should consult their securities counsel to ensure tokens received through a Token DPA can be legally traded on a non-registered exchange.
10) Where do you see Token DPA Value in the next 5 years and why?
The value is in its use – the Republic team hopes to see this instrument adopted throughout the industry, meaning in 5 years we hope to see companies issuing Token DPAs, redeeming them for Tokens or repaying them in cash when blockchain projects don’t materialize. We hope that the built in protections the Token DPA provides, allows participants not familiar with the blockchain space to become more comfortable investing in this exciting area, and therefore the value of the Token DPA is only limited by the pervasiveness of its adoption and the growth of the industry.
11) Could you tell us a little about your team and customer support?
Our team is well balanced in technical capability, investment experience, and business aptitude, having worked at companies like AngelList, McKinsey, Merrill Lynch, Zynga, and Leo Burnett. We value nothing more than feedback from our customers, and each of us leverage our own experience to solve problems for customers and instill trust in those who choose to invest on Republic. Collectively, we also speak more than 8 languages, which makes supporting international customers a tad easier.
12) Do you have more information for our readers?
Anyone with $10 can invest in startups they believe in on our platform. They’ll not only get a chance to earn a return, but also get involved with mission-driven purposes and talented entrepreneurs.