When we first launched this program, we created a robust educational opportunity for eager undergraduate students who wanted to learn more about VC and from one another. The original program just started out with 30 Venture Fellows and, since then, we’ve been able to expand to 95 Venture Fellows & Associates. Our first Venture Fellow program proved successful as three of our Venture Fellows joined full-time Venture firms and internships; congratulations again to:
- Spencer Chemtob at Station F
- Weilyn Chong at Advaita Capital
- Raquel Scott at Harlem Capital, Munich Re Ventures
- Bijon Keswani at Antler
- Amanda Irizarry at Harlem Capital
- Jeremy Navarro at General Catalyst
- Nafisa Istami at Mercury Fund
- Jacky Huang at Dell Technologies Capital
- Sophia Naqvi at Hatzimemos / Libby
- Jarell Mason at Mercury Fund
- Su Wern Khor at Coyote Ventures
- Emily Herrera at BBG Ventures
- Kyle Hairston at The Chernin Group
- Zehra Naqvi, our Partnerships Intern (and the mastermind behind the program), is now joining Republic full-time as an Investment Associate.
As time has passed, the demand for VC educational opportunities grew, and so, we launched the Republic Venture Associates in early 2021 for mid-career professionals looking to learn or to pivot into the industry. These Associates and Fellows are eager to bring about change in an industry that needs plentiful diversity and disruption.
During the program, we hosted Masterclasses to educate our VFAs on topics such as Valuation, Investment Theses, Due Diligence, and Terms. We had an incredible array of speakers join featuring: Randi Zuckerberg (a legend), Alexandra Lundin (Insight Partners), Geri Kirilova (Laconia Ventures), Mercedes Bent (Lightspeed Venture Partners), Anita Rehman (GSV), and Lucy Guo (Backend Capital). With these lessons, the VFAs each worked tirelessly to create their own theses and build a unique perspective. We are so proud to introduce you to the second cohort of Republic Venture Fellows and the first cohort of Republic Venture Associates! Get to know them and read their investment theses below.
There is more on the way for the Republic 2021 venture programs! If you’re interested in being a Venture Associate or Fellow, fill out this interest form, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest news.
- Sean Lo: MLOps
Sean is a Product Associate at Wayfair, currently working on the Notifications team where they build internal MarTech tools. His workstream generally sits in the middle of product management, data science, and growth marketing. Sean grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and spent the majority of his pre-college life in Asia. He graduated from USC in 2019 with a BS in Business Administration and is currently pursuing a part-time master’s degree in data science from UC Berkeley. Right after graduation, Sean spent a year working at Ernst & Young in their advanced analytics consulting practice where he mainly advised financial institutions around business intelligence, machine learning, and cloud applications. He wishes to utilize his expertise in product/data to help VCs both on the investing and operating side; specifically at funds investing in consumer tech, B2B SaaS, and the entertainment space.
- Dominic Nguyen: Crowdsourcing Innovation
From data science and manufacturing at ExxonMobil, research at NASA, and leadership at venture-funded startups, Dominic has seen innovation at various scales and is exploring how to better foster it. He is passionate about helping others create good in the world through entrepreneurship, deep tech, and sustainability. Dominic received B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is pursuing a MS in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. After co-founding Yumaroo (NMotion accelerator ‚Äò18), which raised $20K in VC funding to help people with diet restrictions eat out, he is excited about the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table at Republic. To him, VC is a medium for creating more good — he realizes he can‚Äôt execute all the ideas he has but he can enable others with the tools, connections, and guidance to bring their visions to reality. In his free time, Dominic enjoys learning new languages, coding, and dancing (latin, country, chicken dance — you name it).
Crypto and Blockchain
- Larissa Liburd: Foundational & Forward-Looking Investment
Larissa Liburd is currently a global program manager at AWS, building and managing the partnership operating model for AWS’ newest 5G / mobile edge computing product. Prior to AWS, she managed partnerships, drove fundraising, developed resources for + supported young entrepreneurs and nascent startup ecosystems, and built DEI programming at Venture for America. And before VFA, she drove corporate social responsibility initiatives at international law firm White & Case. Thanks to her varied background she picked up a broad skillset and experiences ranging from marketing and product management to negotiation and financial modeling, and then some! She is broadly interested in cloud computing, fintech, and emerging technologies (IoT, drones, edge computing, continuous intelligence, etc.), especially potential applications in emerging markets.
- Pryce Adade: Crypto and the Multiverse
Pryce is a junior at Washington University studying Computer Science with a minor in physics. While at WashU Pryce runs a community that supports black students in computer science majors/ minors and serves as the Teaching Assistant to the Academic Director for entreprenuership at the Olin School of Business. Pryce also helps out at NewStack Ventures (the coolest seed-stage micro VC around) with tech infrastructure and the Forage a startup that helps students find their dream opportunities. Committed to creating wider access and opportunity for people from marginalized groups, Pryce is thrilled to continue that work through supporting Republic.
- Nicole Harr: Blockchain Technologies: NFTs
Nicole is a junior at Columbia University majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is originally from Southern California and is a D1 athlete on the Women Rowing Team at Columbia. Her passion for startups and venture capital stems from her experience working at VC firm Swing Ventures last summer, where she collaborated with portfolio companies across various industries to generate growth strategies. Nicole is particularly interested in identifying investment opportunities in the biotech space, having previously worked in a biomedical engineering lab at Columbia focused on programming bacteria as a cancer therapy. She also serves on the Executive Board of Columbia Womxn in Venture, a VC club that seeks to educate and empower women interested in venture capital and provide exposure to other dedicated women in the VC community. In her free time, Nicole enjoys cooking, snowboarding, reading, and running, and she hopes to run a marathon one day. She is very excited to join the Republic community!
- Ishika Mukerji: Blockchain in Healthcare
Hey, my name is Ishika, I am currently a product manager at a stealth startup and a sophomore Electrical Engineering student at Rutgers University! My overlaying goal is to help¬†build, innovate, and work with other startups to uniquely build products that systematically streamline current processes, and bring social good. I‚Äôve fallen in love with startups as I immersed myself in building and scaling products, and I plan to continue exploring this field while spreading ethical awareness and fostering a conscious capitalistic mindset. I‚Äôm specifically bullish about the application of blockchain or artificial intelligence in medicine and I’m looking for opportunities to contribute to data-driven cancer biology. Down the line, I would like to work with a deep tech venture capital firm or a venture builder that help incubate and scale prominent startups, and I plan to combine my passion for cinema and film with my love for tech to build a parallel tech media ecosystem full of inspirational content for technological progressives.
Health, Wellness, Food, and Sustainability
- Felicity Lin: Sustainability
Born in the bay area, raised in Taipei, and based in Atlanta, Felicity is a senior at Emory University Goizueta Business School studying Marketing and Strategy & Management Consulting. At Emory, Felicity led the school’s entrepreneurship organization called Emory Entrepreneurship & Venture Management (EEVM) in building the largest hackathon in the Southeast, HackATL. Along with academics and campus involvements, she has been a Product Marketing Intern at Mailchimp for three semesters where she works to democratize marketing technology for small businesses. After graduating in May 2021, she will be joining Deloitte as an associate in the SHINE Marketing Program. Felicity’s passionate about anything creative — how it intersects with social impact, the way we interact with one another, brands, and our surroundings. Most importantly, she’s inspired by how powerful brands can make a difference in the world. Apart from that, I love crafting my morning routines, visiting aesthetic cafes, exploring new sustainable brands, and eating (too much) Asian food.
- Sabina Jia: Autonomous Vehicles Autonomous Food Delivery Health, Wellness, and Sustainability
Sabina is currently a junior at Columbia University majoring in economics and astronomy. On campus, she is involved in Columbia Women’s Business Society and Alpha Kappa Psi, and also does research in the Astronomy Department. She is interested in a lot of different industries, from space tech to beauty, but above all is passionate about working with companies led by underrepresented founders. In her free time, Sabina likes to explore restaurants in the city with her friends, job along the river, and do crossword puzzles!
- Zeenia Framroze: Virtual Clinical Research
Zeenia is currently the Head of Sales and Customer Success at doc.ai, a health tech company focused on mobile, decentralized clinical research, which was recently acquired by Sharecare, a digital health company. Prior to Sharecare and doc.ai, she was the first business hire and the Head of Sales and Business Development at Smartcar, an automotive API company. Zeenia enjoys working in cross-functional roles to test product-market fit and bring new solutions to the market. Zeenia studied political theory and Italian at Harvard University and attended the University of Oxford as a Keasbey Fellow to study welfare systems in South and South East Asia. She cares deeply about data privacy, diversity and inclusion in healthcare, with a particular interest in the social determinants of health, diverse representation of participants in clinical research and the building of AI models in healthcare. Outside of work, Zeenia loves to garden, travel and is training to become a volunteer EMT.
- Sohum Shah: Healthcare- Value-based Care
Sohum Shah is currently a management consultant at Oliver Wyman focused on healthcare strategy and edtech PE investment advisory. Sohum’s understanding of the immobility of incumbent businesses in highly regulated industries has driven his interest in empowering startups through early-stage investing. Over the past year, Sohum has sourced, performed due diligence, evaluated, and advised numerous startups for a well-known VC and as a fellow for Angelfund.ai. Through the Republic community, Sohum is eager to connect with diverse thinkers, learn more about fundraising, and take the next step to becoming an early-stage investor. Passionate about philanthropy, Sohum also actively participates as a global-NGO representative to the UN Economic and Social Council and is working on building a social platform that makes donating easier and more habitual. In his spare time, you can often find Sohum in the kitchen cooking fancy vegetarian meals that he features on his blog, ChefSohum.com and Instagram @chefsohum. Sohum graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Neuroscience and a concentration in Business Management.
- Whitney Griffith: USA Cannabis Opportunity
Avid Learner. Tech Enthusiast. Social Entrepreneur. Pan African Angel Investor. Whitney was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and graduated from Howard University with a degree in Computer Science in December 2018 and is also a proud graduate of Founder Gym, a Venture Capital Fellow at HBCUvc, a Developer Evangelist at Major League Hacking and Software Engineer at Microsoft. Since her exposure to Silicon Valley and Entrepreneurship in 2017, she deduces that technology and blockchain represent tools that can be used to bring about positive change and equal opportunity for all in the developing world and beyond. As such, she has embarked on a journey that will help her grow and execute across technology, entrepreneurship, and eco-system building. She has immersed herself fully in various startup ecosystems and emerging ecospaces around the world such as San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Washington DC, and Trinidad & Tobago, where she advises several startups, and connects those accordingly. So too, she partakes in a lot of events relating to startups, such as Startup Bus, and multiple hackathons across the blockchain and enterprise development space. Overall, she is striving to bridge the gap between diverse founders and access to accelerated talent and capital.”
- Jazmin Chavez: GreenTech/Sustainability IoT, Blockchain, Analytics, Fashion
Jazmin Chavez works as a People Consultant at Cisco. Originally from San Jose, California, she is a first-generation American with parents originating from Zacatecas, Mexico. She studied Finance at the California State University of Fresno and Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. She was a fund manager and financial analyst for the Student-Managed Investment Fund Program, the largest student-managed fund in the California State University System, managing around $5 million endowment funds and equities for the Fresno State Foundation. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, utilizing technology to hone in on DE&I, increasing access to funding across groups that identify as underrepresented minorities, immigrants, Latinx, and women. She was previously recognized at the national level through HACU by embodying strong leadership abilities to help make a positive impact on her community. She has co-founded a platform that focuses on democratizing financial literacy accessible for all. In her free time, you’ll find Jazmin hiking the Sierra/Yosemite areas, kayaking, cooking international cuisine, and listening to Spanish indie music. She’s super excited to join the Republic community as a Venture Associate and aims to inspire others like her!
- Laurel Lee: Wearable Health Technology
Laurel is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Computer science. Korean-born and Hong Kong raised, Laurel hopes to learn about and meet founders with diverse backgrounds in alignment with Republic’s goal to increase inclusion and democratize venture investing. She is particularly interested in the social-good and healthcare startup spaces, particularly how software can provide a platform for companies within the wellness or mental health industry. Coming from a tech background, Laurel hopes to apply her experiences in developing software to sourcing tech companies focused on impact. In her free time, she is usually running, staring at her stocks, or looking for new interests — recently she’s been painting!
- Gabrielle Chang: Food Sustainability- Foodtech
Gabrielle is an incoming Caltech first-year planning to study computer science. She is currently on a gap year and has spent it getting involved with open-source communities, interning as a software engineer, and re-reading the Harry Potter series. Gabrielle is excited to further Republic’s mission of democratizing entrepreneurship and improving access to capital, alongside exploring longtime interests in the foodtech, femtech, and edtech sectors.
- Janet Boachie: Health Tech- Blockchain
Janet is a Consultant for HealthDesignED, the Acute Care Design and Innovation Center at Emory University School of Medicine, where she focuses on building and emphasizing the value on equitable tech-enabled care solutions that improve the patient experience. Prior to Emory, she worked with several startup founders with strategy, business development, product development, and operational development. Janet sits on the Leadership Committee for Bloom Foundation, a social-emotional learning non-profit that empowers young women who have gone through bullying. Janet’s deepest interests span across healthcare, beauty, and cleantech as well as bridging the gap between technology and social impact. She holds an M.S. in Social Entrepreneurship from USC Marshall and a B.S. in Chemistry from UC Irvine.
- Steven Peralta: FoodTech Alternative Protein
Originally from New York City, Steven is a Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is pursuing an MBA in Operations, Information, Decisions, and Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and an MA in International Studies with a concentration in Latin America & Portuguese language. Prior to Wharton, he worked in the media and financial services industries. While at Wharton, he interned at Facebook and at Angel Ventures, where he supported a portfolio company through capital raising. He is a current Ventures Fellow at Green D Ventures at the Alumni Ventures Group. On his spare time, Steven enjoys traveling, exploring different cultures, and fitness. He has also lived in nine countries across five continents and traveled to 50+ countries. Steven is interested in the intersection of technology, startups, and the private markets. Steven holds a BA from Dartmouth College.
- Adam Grant: H&W Tech/Frontier
Adam Grant is a native of Savannah, GA, and a graduate student at the School of Professional Studies, where hea is a Masters of Science candidate in the Enterprise Risk Management Program. He also serves as the school’s only student body Senator, representing SPS at all senate hearings. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Intelligence Studies and a minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona. His professional career spans 14 years of dedicated service as both a non-commissioned and commissioned officer, where he has been successful at both managing and leading. His skillsets revolve around him being a pragmatic and focused individual recognized for making seemingly impossible situations work. Proven and verifiable record for producing high-performance standards and enhancing productivity. He has a strong intrinsic desire to learn, contribute, and think innovatively continually. Eager to meet professional challenges and contribute towards organizational growth. He’s also a self-proclaimed foodie with a passion for family, food, and friends. In the venture ecosystem, he finds himself VC with a curious mind inspired by the passion of investing in founders who will change the world.”
- Jarell Mason: Cannabis Ancillary Businesses
I’m a first-year at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business pursuing a career in VC. Hailing from the US Virgin Islands, I aspire to change the economic landscape of my community through industry diversity, given that the economy’s main avenue of income is tourism. Because of this vision, I left my home and attended Penn state where I received a degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, I worked as an engineer in the oil & gas industry, learning transferrable technical and operational skills. In addition, I worked at a cannabis startup via Booth’s Startup Summer Program prior to my Fall quarter. Throughout my career, I’ve been hunting to solve the varying social equity problems within the growing cannabis industry, hoping to create meaningful impact. Some ways I‚Äôve navigated this journey is through my work as a fund fellow for a cannabis fund of funds, and my participation in the nationwide MIINT (MBA Impact Investing Case Competition), where my team and I, as Toigo Fellows, have made it to the MIINT national semifinals. More recently, I co-founded the newly formed Chicago Booth Legal Cannabis Markets club, which helps educate MBA students about the cannabis industry.
- Laetitia Tiani Vessah: AgeTech Connectivity
Laetitia gets the job done with empathy, grit, and humor. Her upbringing in Cameroon and the Bay Area have fueled her purpose: to create “a-ha” moments that unleash potential. Her brand-builder expertise comes from uncovering consumer insights and building go-to-market strategies for billion-dollar brands at Procter & Gamble. Through venture capital, Laetitia wants to invest in household name brands of the future and help them scale globally. In her free time, she loves to dance, visit museums, and make crepes. Laetitia is an alumna of Harvard University.
- Matt Kirschner: Virtual Mental Healthcare
Matt is a sophomore at Yale from Maryland studying Economics. He is passionate about the intersection of entrepreneurship and social impact, and he hopes to learn more about VC through the Republic Venture Fellow program. As part of the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, Matt helped form partnerships with over 100 startups to provide undergraduate students with internships. He has also mentored young entrepreneurs through internships at nonprofits like Ashoka and LearnServe International. For fun, Matt plays trombone in the Yale Jazz Ensemble, juggles with the Anti-Gravity Society and eats lots of spicy food.
- Noah Hyams: Food/Sustainability Plant-Based Food
Swiss-American Noah Hyams is a serial founder and passionate community builder. Born in Bern, Switzerland, Noah spent his formative years in New York exploring his passion for music and film — ultimately leading him to study music business and film producing at New York University. During his time at NYU, he began his entrepreneurial journey by building out a peer tutoring app. Noah was also selected to be a fellow in the New York chapter of the Startup Leadership Program. Today, Noah lives in New York City and runs Songathon, a startup that creates experiences and resources for songwriters, and VEGPRENEUR, a global community for founders and investors building plant-based businesses. Songathon and VEGPRENEUR have been featured by the likes of The GRAMMYs, Bloomberg Radio, Variety, BrooklynVegan, and American Songwriter. In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, Noah produces digital content for companies, startups, and musicians, while continuing to perform with various artists as a drummer. He also has been invited to speak and mentor in entrepreneurship classes at New York University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the City University of New York, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Noah speaks multiple languages, is passionate about sustainability, and loves all things plant-based.
- Bryson Hearne: Health Equity
As a Senior Investment Analyst at Village Capital, Bryson works on identifying talented and overlooked entrepreneurs and empowering their companies to become ready for potential investment. He is particularly passionate about supporting companies that are bringing financial solutions to the millions who are neglected by the current financial ecosystem and working alongside healthcare startups that are bringing about a more equitable health care system. Bryson joined Village Capital after full-time entrepreneurship in Austin, Texas, where he dove deep into venture creation, digital marketing, financial analysis, and market testing. Prior to that, Bryson spent time in Mexico City with IGNIA, one of the largest Latin American VC firms. His role included working with Latin American-based entrepreneurs and assisting the investment team. Outside of work, Bryson enjoys running, hiking, and camping. Bryson holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a Masters in Global Commerce from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Global Strategic Management from ESADE in Barcelona.
- Edbert Wu:Health & Wellness Fitness Tech
Edbert is a first-year at Harvard studying economics and computer science. He’s always been passionate about startups, particularly those in the health and wellness and consumer tech industries. Edbert has pursued his passions by interning with Goalden Hour, an early tech stage startup, and joining the Harvard Undergraduate Venture Capital Group. In his free time, he loves running, playing basketball, spending time with friends, and being outdoors.
- Bijan Harandi: Biotech mRNA biotechnologies
Bijan Harandi is a sophomore at Tufts University majoring in Biology with a computational focus in addition to minoring in History. He currently partakes in many on-campus activities including the Quiz Bowl Club, and two separate undergraduate research journals. Regarding Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship, Bijan consistently makes sure he is connected with his campus’ entrepreneurs, constantly finding new ways to help build their enterprises. This past summer Bijan served as an intern for the Tufts Venture Accelerator, interned for a non-tech Tufts-founded startup, and is the Captain of the Tufts Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) team that annually participates in the competition. Outside of schoolwork, Bijan also works in two separate labs, one Genetics-based and the other Astrobiology-based. He is also a research member in the Tufts Equity in America Project. This summer Bijan will be working at NASA on the Biosentinel Spacecraft which will launch in November 2021.
The Techs: Femtech, Edtech, Fintech, and Deeptech
- Raquel Scott: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
Born and raised in New Jersey, Raquel Scott graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in Economics. At Holy Cross, Raquel was a four-year member of the Women’s Basketball team, serving as captain her senior year. After graduating, Raquel joined J.P. Morgan in the Commercial Real Estate Investment Banking Group where she worked for four years. Throughout her career, Raquel has always been passionate about promoting diversity and worked alongside senior leadership to spearhead several initiatives to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at J.P. Morgan. To combine her skills in finance and passion for diversity, Raquel is pursuing a career in venture capital to provide underrepresented founders with the capital they need to scale businesses from the ground up. Raquel aims to promote equity and inclusion in the investment community and aspires to help close the racial wealth gap one investment at a time. Raquel will be starting at Columbia Business School this fall, where she plans to join the Black Business Students Association and the Basketball Club. In her free time, Raquel loves listening to podcasts, taking road trips, visiting museums, and is always down for a game of pickup or 1 on 1.
- Mike Urciuoli: EdTech Gamification in EdTech
Mike is currently Director of Investor Relations @ Coinbase. Prior to that he served as Head of Freemium FP&A & Director of Investor Relations @ Spotify. There, he played an instrumental role in orchestrating Spotify’s Direct Listing, a groundbreaking and innovative process that was the first of its kind for a public market debut. Previously he was an Associate Vice President within the Equity Research division at Barclays covering Large Cap Internet & Media companies. Before that he spent several years in Investment Banking at Macquarie Capital covering the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications space. Mike holds a degree in Finance and an International Business Certificate from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!). He currently resides in Miami Beach, and spends most of his free time planning travel adventures with his fiancé.
- Bijon Keswani: EdTech K-12
Bijon Keswani is an Associate with Antler, an early-stage venture capital fund in NYC, and a graduate school candidate at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs. At Columbia, he’s focused on the intersection of finance and public policy. Prior to Columbia, he used to help run an EdTech company in India focused on employability and skills training for undergraduate talent. He’s interested in EdTech, FinTech, and Financial Inclusion, Affordable Housing, and Impact Investing. Bijon is an avid reader, loves to spend time at coffee shops across New York City, and has biked the island over 5 times through the pandemic.”
- Kyle Hairston: Edtech K-12 Consumer
Kyle Hairston is a first-year MBA at The Wharton School.¬†With a passion for expanding opportunity for our most underserved populations, Kyle has dedicated his career to creating positive systemic change. Prior to Wharton, Kyle has mentored in multiple youth-centered programs, including the YMCA and Junior Achievement, worked to create equitable education policy as an Urban Leaders Fellow, and most recently, served in the classroom as a Teach For America Corps Member. Kyle holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo and is a lifelong fan of the Buffalo Bills.
- Weilyn Chong: FemTech
Originally from Singapore and having spent time in both the Netherlands and Hong Kong, Weilyn Chong is a first-year at Princeton University intending to concentrate in Economics with Certificates in Computer Science and East Asian Studies. On-campus, she is a branding officer for TigerLaunch and helped lead the launch of the entrepreneur-focused podcast, TigerVentures Unfiltered. Weilyn’s passion for gratitude and wellbeing drove the creation of Thankful Thursdays, a 36-week gratitude program implemented in schools and businesses around Southeast Asia. After conducting her own research in prosocial behaviors and behavioral economics at Harvard Medical School, Weilyn hopes to learn more about the intersections of gratitude and wellbeing with entrepreneurship and venture capital. Currently, Weilyn is working on a female-focused entrepreneurship podcast for college and high school students aimed at empowering young girls to explore the VC and entrepreneurship space. Outside of school, Weilyn loves to bring her dog, Ruby, for long walks, explore new places to eat, and try out new crafts. Weilyn is beyond excited to be a part of the Republic family!
- Cassandra Duchan Saucedo: Femtech- Health & Financial Services
“Cassandra (pronounced kuh-sahn-druh) is a concurrent MPP-MBA candidate at Harvard Kennedy School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. During and after her time in school, she plans to pursue a career fortifying Black and Brown communities through sustainable investments. In the long term, she wants to use financial tools to achieve racial equity and dignity for workers. Cassandra is a Harvard Zuckerman Fellow and a Latinx Leadership Initiative member. Currently, she is on the HKS Equity Coalition Coordinating Team, is COO for Black Policy Conference, and co-chairs the Latinx Caucus and the Progressive Caucus. She has an undergraduate degree in economics with honors from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has previously worked as a social impact founder and operator, as a Federal Reserve Board of Governors researcher, and as a survey methodologist at the Center for African American Health. She was born and raised in Colorado, the proud working-class daughter of a Black American father and a Mexican American mother. She enjoys camping, hiking, botany, and nature photography.”
- Su Wern Khor: FemTech
Su Wern Khor grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is currently the Programs Manager at FemTech Focus, a non-profit empowering and supporting the FemTech industry where she gets to work with and support FemTech founders. Su Wern founded The Ecosystem, the first community for University of Houston students and alumni interested in start-ups, tech, innovation, and venture capital. She also serves as a Venture Scout for The Wiress, Chief of Finance for Modem, and is the producer and co-host of her own podcast called Ya Girl Trynna Make It. Su Wern holds a BBA in Finance and certificate in Corporate Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston where she actively participated in various student leadership positions and was later awarded the Distinguished Senior Leader 2020 for her contributions to improving student life. She is passionate about gender equity, wealth equity, FemTech, GenZ, and K-pop. In her free time, she loves to bullet journal, read her favorite newsletters, and mentor other students who are interested in entrepreneurship and tech through various initiatives like 4 Day Founder, Access Distributed, and Women in Network.
- Cindy Heredia: Fintech Custom Indexing & ESG
A border town raised Mexican American, Cindy is currently a Product Manager at Arnie Impact where she is focused on building a financial literacy product. She is passionate about deploying capital and technology in the service of public purpose and social causes. Most recently, she was an Equity Research Associate at MFS Investment Management where she focused on investing in automotive technology companies and helped co-found the company’s first Black/Latinx resource group. Cindy earned her B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. She will be attending the MIT Sloan School of Management in the Fall. She serves on the board of directors for TransitMatters, a transportation advocacy non-profit, and is on the young professionals‚Äô board for Boston Collegiate Charter School.
- Emmanuel Kalu: Fintech Brand & Collaboration
Nigeria-born and Boston-raised, Emmanuel is currently an analyst at Goldman Sachs. As a member of Goldman’s ESG and impact investing team, Emmanuel has been exposed to groundbreaking companies that are changing how we live, learn, and experience the world. This sparked an interest in supporting founders and entrepreneurs who are building category-defining businesses. Emmanuel is excited about gaining exposure to venture capital through Republic’s Venture Associate program, where he‚Äôll have the ability to source and diligence promising young companies at the earliest stages of their life cycles. Emmanuel graduated from Yale University, where he studied Economics. In his free time, Emmanuel loves hitting the gym and is (slowly but surely) picking up the piano. He also enjoys indulging in some good fiction ‚ if you have any favorite recent reads, let him know!”
- Alex Chun: Drones
Alex Chun is a first-year at Yale studying Mechanical Engineering / Economics. Born in South Korea and raised in Southern California, Alex has always been passionate about entrepreneurship and STEM. Currently, he is heavily involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and start-up space as well as the engineering community at Yale. He is the co-founder of a start-up called Stalk, a decentralized social investing platform ‚ think Robinhood and Discord all in one app but better. With his team at the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, he oversees 25+ Yale ventures with over $4,000,000 in capital as a curator for the YES Startup Incubator. He also conducts research at the Yale Social Robotics Lab, serves as the Yale Head Representative for the Ivy Space Coalition and Director of External Events for the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association, and works as an Undergraduate Technology Assistant trained by the Yale Poorvu Center. Alex is interested in pursuing a career in VC and hopes that the skills, experiences, and connections he will gain as a Venture Fellow for Republic will serve as a catalyst for achieving his career goals and aspirations. During his free time, Alex enjoys watching movies, exploring new genres of music, flying drones, and playing tennis.
- Danny Browne: Private Fund Investments
Danny is a freshman at NYU Stern pursuing a double major in Finance and Marketing. Born in London, he was raised in Connecticut and Manchester, UK. During an internship at Balderton Venture Capital in London, Danny developed a keen interest in the discovery and development of early-stage start-ups. He is excited to join Republic where he has the opportunity to help innovative enterprises grow, to learn from entrepreneurs and to develop specialist VC skills. Danny is particularly interested in finding disruptive start-ups in the fintech space that are eager to encourage social change and newcomers in the retail sector which aim to improve consumers’ experience. At NYU, Danny enjoys honing his skills as an analyst in Stern’s Strategic Venture Society and participates in other clubs which reflect his enthusiasm for fashion and business. In his free time, Danny loves mixing music, playing soccer, and watching basketball with friends. This summer, Danny will begin an internship in the finance department at Moonfare, a European Fintech company.
So Unique They Have Their Own Category!
- Sofia Haq: CPG/Fashion Tech Ethical & Sustainable Fashion
Sofia was born and raised in Southern California to a Pakistani father and Mexican mother. She attended Mt. San Antonio College before transferring to UCLA where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies. She also studied International Business abroad for a summer at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). In 2018, she graduated from the Riordan MBA Fellows Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management and the Forte MBA Launcher Program. In 2020, she completed the Grid110 Idea to Product Program, an entrepreneurial accelerator. Currently, she is the Founder, CEO & Head of Programming at Muslim Women Professionals (MWP), Head of Operations at Glory Skincare, Ambassador at the United State of Women (USOW), Mentor at Startup Labs UCLA, and now a Venture Associate at Republic. Sofia lies at the intersectionality of multiple identities which inspires her to bring awareness to issues including diversity and inclusion, gender equity, and financial literacy. In her role at Republic, Sofia is eager to continue Republic mission of democratizing access to private investing as well as providing founders the access to the capital they need to build successful businesses that are creating positive change in their communities.”
- Sowa Imoisili: eCommerce Mobile Commerce
Sowa Imoisili is a Management Consultant at Accenture where she works at the intersection of Business Strategy, Innovation, and Design with Fjord. Her work has led her to innovate for several clients in fields ranging from e-commerce to pharmaceuticals to education. She also serves as Accenture’s co-lead for its partnership with the MassChallenge HealthTech startup accelerator. Prior to Accenture, Sowa spent a year lecturing at Shue Yan University in Hong Kong as a Princeton in Asia Fellow. Sowa earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University where she studied Economics, Psychology, and Creative Writing. While there, she spent time working for Google and Harvard Business Publishing as well as researching with the Kellogg School of Management Marketing Lab and the Body and Media Lab. In her spare time, Sowa enjoys volunteering, rock climbing, audiobooks, traveling, cooking, and anything outdoors. She is a believer in good people, good books, big adventures, and big swings.
- Mona Abdelrahman:Ethical Tech AI Bias and Ethics
Mona is currently a senior at MIT studying Computation and Cognition, where she explores how to improve machine intelligence by using knowledge of human intelligence and vice versa. She is currently a part of the MIT Media Lab where she is researching how to improve human empathy and our understanding of emotional biomarkers by using machine learning. Mona grew up in Fargo, North Dakota where she braved cold winters and subsequently has a unique perspective and experiences from her childhood. During her time at MIT, she was involved with the Undergraduate Association in the Committee on Innovation and Committee on Education. She was also one of the founders of the BetterMIT Innovation Week, where students learn about innovation from multiple perspectives (including social impact) and pitch their ideas to improve campus to members of the MIT Administration. During her free time, Mona enjoys cooking and baking and feeding her curiosity about the world.
- Giorgia Scelzo: Fashion Tech Sustainable Fashion Tech
I was born and raised in Udine, Italy, and with the aid of my dual citizenship, I moved to the US for my senior year of high school. I then successfully graduated as the Valedictorian of the University of San Francisco, majoring in finance with a minor in Politics. With my passion and interest in startups and the innovation economy, I started my career at Silicon Valley Bank on the Corporate Ventures team in San Francisco. I am now on the Startup Banking team in NYC, working with early-stage companies. I love everything consumer, particularly the fashion tech sector. I very much kept my Italian taste as my favorite foods are gelato, pizza, and pasta…and wine!
- Justin Yue: Software Vertical SaaS
Justin is originally from the Bay Area and is very excited about enterprise software. He is fluent in German and spent half a year living in Berlin.
- Noelle Link: Defense Technology
Noelle Link is an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business. She is majoring in Business Administration with a minor in History and a certificate in Entrepreneurship. On campus, Noelle serves as a Junior Class Cohort Leader for business students, planning professional development and social events, with the Haas Business School Association. In addition to working with HBSA, she also works as an associate on the finance committee with Berkeley Women in Business, creating financial literacy materials for all students and helping to microfinance international women in need. Beyond her club involvement, Noelle recently won the Stanford Cleantech Challenge Competition in 2020 and represented Berkeley Haas at JMUCC in March of 2021. Post-graduation Noelle plans to pursue a career in Investment Banking and/or Venture Capital.
- Gerardo Ballesteros: SaaS- No Code Design
Gio is a sophomore at the Wharton School studying Marketing and Operations, Information, and Decisions, with a focus on new product development and design. At Penn, he currently serves as the Digital Design Studio Lead for Venture Lab, the university’s hub for cross-campus entrepreneurship and innovation, and as Executive Director of Penn Student Design, a student-run graphic and web design firm operating under Penn Student Agencies. Previously, he has worked in marketing and design roles for various early-stage startups and volunteered as a strategic consultant for social impact organizations at the local and international level. Born and raised in the Philippines, Gio is passionate about bringing more diverse perspectives to the creative economy and leveraging entrepreneurship as a vehicle for empowering local communities.