VP9 — Supporting the next generation of founders
Join us in welcoming our newest cohort of Venture Partners to Republic. As Republic continues to expand internationally, so does the Venture Partner community.
This cohort adds 42 new VPs from 13 countries to our network. These mission-driven VCs and partners specialize in industries ranging from social impact to climate change to crypto and more. We’re thrilled to continue building out the VP program and expanding our deal flow pipeline for the whole Republic community.
What started as a way to connect during the pandemic has evolved into a robust international community of investors, ecosystem builders, and founders who share one mission: to democratize access to capital for everyone. The VP program provides a safe space for partners to ask questions, network, and grow within the competitive VC industry. By bringing these thought leaders together, we’re able to create holistic solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.
If you don’t already know our VPs, you should. This growing community helps bring amazing companies to the Republic platform — which ultimately translates to even more deal flow for our investors. In return, we connect them with a massive network of other mission-driven innovators and help them achieve their investing goals. In the last year alone, we’ve seen a variety of impactful companies launch on Republic thanks to our VPs, including KweliTV, a streaming service highlighting Black filmmakers, GRID, a no-code SaaS platform to build purposeful video games, and We Are the New Farmers, a sustainable urban farm with a CPG twist.
This year, we’re excited to transform the program from a fully virtual experience to one that blends in real-life opportunities to connect in person. Our team has been on the road meeting Venture Partners in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Washington D.C., Toronto, and London — a huge value-add for our community (and for us!) after two long years of Zoom calls.
As we head into the second half of the year, we are doubling down on our efforts to support our portfolio of founders through 1:1 mentoring with our Venture Partners, in-person networking events around the globe, and getting more VPs involved in our international expansion efforts (starting with our new colleagues across the pond at Seedrs).
Last but absolutely not least, we couldn’t launch this cohort without taking the time to congratulate its founder and our fearless leader, Cheryl Campos. She’ll be heading to Stanford Business School this fall — and we are so honored to celebrate her accomplishments and continue her legacy by welcoming this newest cohort of VPs.
We’re currently accepting applications for our next cohort, launching this fall. If you want to join our network, challenge the status quo, and help get more founders funded, just click here to apply.
Abhishek is a 3x bootstrapped digital entrepreneur and has been an active angel investor for over a decade, investing in 100+ startups across India and USA. He operates Indus Net Technologies (INT.), a digital transformation company specializing in the financial services sector, and is a partner in Seeders — an angel network by the founder for the founder.
Amita is the CEO and co-founder of Playback, a productivity app for creators to help them save time and make more money. She has spent the last two years working in the creator economy and experienced firsthand the challenges that video creators face in managing their brand partnerships in an unorganized way through fragmented tools. Prior to Playback, Amita worked in big banks like UBS and Merrill Lynch in NYC, helped big companies solve complex problems at BCG, and learned from early-to-late stage startups like WeWork. She holds an MBA from INSEAD. Outside of work, Amita is a yogi, reader, art and nature lover, and fond of spending time with family and friends.
Anthony Obi Jr.
Anthony Obi Jr. is an investor at Virginia Venture Partners, where he invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups in Virginia. He began his career as an entrepreneur as part of the founding team at PreopMD, a digital health startup solving complex inefficiencies in the pre-op and post-op space. Wearing many hats, meeting other founders, and trying to fundraise for his own company, he knew he eventually wanted to be on the other side of the table and make a significant impact. Since then, he has held a multitude of roles in space, such as being an Entrepreneur in Residence, helping companies advance their ideas from inception to commercialization. Anthony was a fellow at DigitalDx Ventures, a woman-owned healthcare impact fund, where he supported potential investments in digital health startups and completed many VC fellowships to support emerging underrepresented fund managers. Throughout his entire journey, Anthony has advised startups and helped them along the way achieve pertinent milestones. Now, a recent Washingtonian Magazine 2022 Tech Titan, he plans to continue doing amazing work and be a key contributor to the ecosystem. Anthony holds degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Texas Southern University.
Asafu is a persistent tech entrepreneur and investor that believes in the power of turning setbacks into success. He has been a part of over a dozen failed startup ventures, both as an investor and entrepreneur. The lessons from those failed initiatives drive Asafu in his work today running Naya, an innovation lab that helps early-stage founders secure funding and build great software products. Since its inception in 2019, Naya Labs has led product development on some of the most innovative SaaS and IoT products and helped raise over $8M in pre-seed capital. Asafu’s belief in building community and helping founders thrive is a critical part of driving his success today.
Benjamin is an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) proponent who believes profit and impact are entirely compatible. He has a track record of creating ESG training curricula and facilitating ESG integration exercises for tech startups, venture capital firms, and accelerator programs. He also functions as an Africa-focused VC Scout for 30+ VC firms across Africa, North America, and Asia. Currently sourcing for deals (predominantly pre-seed and seed) across the Big Four Sub-Saharan African markets (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa). As a venture builder, he mentors and supports startup founders in a variety of areas, including product-market fit, team cohesion, business development/partnerships, investment readiness, and fundraising.
Brett Calhoun is a director at Scale, building and investing in early-stage tech startups with a focus on the Midwest and other underserved demographics. Brett’s passion is helping underrepresented founders access capital, talent, knowledge, and network effects. He is particularly interested in founders building in fintech and proptech. His role at Scale is sourcing & investing in rockstar founders, running fund ops, and working on the front lines with each company. Brett is also an operator as a co-founder of CharlieMike, where the team has helped over 500 veterans purchase a home, and a founding team member of CapGains, a platform simplifying tax incentives. Previously, Brett was an early ops employee at Paytient and a Summer Associate at The LegalTech Fund. Before investing, Brett worked with Attorneys, CFOs, and CEOs of startups to Fortune 100 companies on complex valuation matters. Brett is also a CPA, ABV, and an MBA from the University of Missouri.
Based in New York City, Brian has a decade of experience working in financial services. He has led teams in businesses spanning investment banking, fixed income, operations, third-party risk management, and finance prior to joining Barclays to relaunch the firm’s fintech engagement platform, Rise New York. With a digital pipeline strategy focused more holistically on North America, Brian solidified his operating experience at a late-stage start-up to support a founding team on their highly anticipated IPO. For Rise, Brian leads engagement efforts with early and growth-stage start-ups to leverage emerging technologies and support Barclays’ open innovation strategy. In addition to building a sales pipeline, deal sourcing, lifecycle management, and closing, Brian facilitates network-driven activities for the firm’s global fintech accelerator program and investment opportunities for the Female Innovators Lab venture studio by Barclays and Anthemis.
Connie Bowen is the co-founder of Farmhand Ventures, an impact venture studio and fund investing in the future of work in agriculture. She also invests with The Yield Lab Europe, an early-stage impact agrifood tech fund. Formerly, she co-led the creation of the AgLaunch Data Commons and Open Market Consortium at AgLaunch, a farmer network based in Memphis, TN. Before that, she worked on hemp, blueberry, and hazelnut farms in Willamette Valley, OR with Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners while launching a vertically integrated CPG brand, Farmacopia Farms. Prior to that, she helped to scale The Yield Lab internationally, starting with a small accelerator fund in St. Louis, and she co-founded The Yield Lab Institute. She is a Venture for America alumni and holds a BS in Engineering from Swarthmore College.
Courtney Carlsson is the founder & CEO of Paradym, a modern mental health app for Gen Z’s and Millennials who want to change their lives and find fulfillment. They’ve built a community of tens of thousands across 150+ countries. When she was ten years old, she saw her first mental health counselor, but when that didn’t work, it led her to feel even more misunderstood. That set her on a 25+ year journey where she tried everything from clinical psychotherapy to meditation. When she finally found the mental health support that worked, it changed her life. Courtney took her 25 years of learning and collaborated with a team of clinicians and Ph.D. psychologists from Oxford University and Harvard Medical School to create a program that gives the framework to break any negative patterns and find your secret sauce.
Cynthia Hellen is a Peruvian-American social entrepreneur who is a globally recognized writer-producer-director and design technologist, creating innovative solutions for worldwide problems.
Daniel has spent the last three years building relationships with investors and founders in the climate, cleantech, and sustainability sectors. He has volunteered with Powerhouse Ventures, Cleantech Open, One World Training & Investments, and Techstars Startup Weekends. He currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as a Product Manager for internal business software systems. He was previously a Nuclear Safety Engineer, where he performed risk assessments, and a Business Development Analyst, where he carried out market research and techno-economic analysis. Outside of his day job, he runs The Impact and Innovate Climate — both are newsletters covering startups in the climate space.
David Yakobovitch is the General Partner of DataPower Ventures, investing in early-stage Applied AI, Data Science, Machine Learning & DeepTech Startups. He is the host of HumAIn Podcast and Co-Host of Voice of FinTech Podcast. David runs Tech Dinner Series, a community-driven platform that connects founders, investors, operators, and developers in NYC, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Emily Edwards is the Platform Lead at Village Capital; a global early-stage start-up accelerator focused on training and funding impact-oriented ventures in sustainability, financial health, and the future of work. Emily’s work primarily focuses on building products and tools for entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to collaborate and share their impact with the goal of supporting under-connected founders. She is a member of the VC Platform and Women in VC communities. She holds a certificate from the Product School in Product Management and a Credential of Readiness from Harvard Business School Online. After graduating from American University with a BA in International Economics, she led impact investing benchmarking work at Cambridge Associates.
Fizza Nadeem Siddiqui
Fizza is a seasoned startup consultant with more than five years experience in the non-profit and corporate sectors. Her expertise lies in connecting startups with potential investors for raising capital and developing Financial Models and Pitch Decks. She has served startups in several industries, including but not limited to health tech, fintech, construction, FMCG, edtech, and marketing tech. She believes in a world of collaboration and building a network to connect startups and young entrepreneurs for potential alliances to seek greater benefit.
Gijs Dutry van Haeften
Gijs has over ten years of experience in startups, venture capital, and finance. A passionate ecosystem builder, he founded his own venture strategy consultancy to support pre-Series B founders across strategy, finance, operations, and investor readiness. Gijs is also an advisor to several startups as well as a mentor to various accelerator programs, including the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, and he sits on the Council of Experts for EdenBase, a startup hub in London focused on frontier technologies. Previously, Gijs founded his own direct-to-consumer startup in London, having worked as an early-stage venture capital investor in San Francisco. In addition, he helped set up a fintech accelerator in Zurich. Gijs started his career in investment banking in London, where he spent five years across mergers & acquisitions and, more recently, leveraged finance.
Gloria is an experienced executive leader and manager of projects with proven records of innovation, effective communication, and the ability to enhance team performance and deliver results. A sustainability champion and educationist, Gloria is able to grasp new concepts and ideas quickly; excellent at adapting to new environments and situations. She is also passionate about building and growing innovations and solutions to scale across regions.
Hanah Tran is a founder, venture builder, financier, and Goldman Sachs veteran. She is currently managing FHH Ventures, an AI-enabled Venture Studio focusing on Fintech in Web3 and Agri-Food-Bio-Tech for Health Equity. She leads and oversights the creation and expansion of two in-house Venture Acceleration programs, which are Food-Bio-Tech on Consumer Health and Disease Prevention; Fundraising in Web3 with Blockchain, Crypto, and NFTs, as well as the Asia-Pacific Expansion of Food Tech Accelerator powered by Founder Institute. Her expertise areas are Financing and Commercialization Strategies in the Venture Building industry. Currently, she serves as Mentor at New York States Biodefense Commercialization Fund; Mentor at CUNY system, including CUNY Public Health Accelerator & Tech Incubator at Queens College; Instructor at Columbia University’s Venture Community for Female Founders Initiative for Fundraising Strategy with Crowdfunding. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of Entrepreneurs & Practitioners of the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Emerald Publishing Group. She is one of the authors of the “Handbook on the Future of Work and Entrepreneurship for the Underserved,” published in 2020. She is also a speaker at a number of U.S. and international conferences and an advocate for Health Equity & WomeninWeb3.
Heesun has spent 15+ years in entrepreneurship as a founder, investor, and connector and is empowering women entrepreneurs as Director of Programs at the Tory Burch Foundation in New York. Prior to joining, Heesun was a Venture Partner at 500, an early-stage fund and accelerator with a global portfolio of 2,600+ companies. She is a former co-founder and CEO of Vengine, a recruiting platform for startups in Seoul, Korea, and began her career as VP of Projects at YouNoodle, a San Francisco startup focused on large-scale entrepreneurship campaigns for large corporates and governments, including Start-Up Chile, Intel Challenge, and KoFounders Lab. She has also mentored and coached hundreds of early-stage startups over the years. Heesun received her M.A. in Education and B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University, where she also served as Co-President of BASES (Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students). Heesun remains on the BASES Board of Advisors.
Jessie is a commercial leader with deep experience scaling B2C businesses to their first $1Bn. She is passionate about tech-enabled marketplaces that drive shared value for the communities they operate in and serve. She specializes in go-to-market and commercial strategy and rallies teams through change. An early Uber employee, she is currently the Global Lead of New Verticals, launching and scaling grocery, alcohol, restricted items, and retail businesses. Her previous professional experience spans strategic finance, management consulting, and law. She is a start-up advisor and founder and yoga teacher. She is also a board member of a not-for-profit in Australia and advocates for family and child safety.
Joana Gutierrez is a Principal at Realist Ventures, a Connecticut-based early-stage venture capital firm investing in game-changing software and biotech solutions. Joana has over 15+ years of experience in finance and technology as a former hedge fund partner, management consultant, product manager, and Google Front End engineer/Product Management scholar. Joana is a creative, entrepreneurial business partner specializing in extracting and hedging investment returns, innovative technology, strategic operations & business development solutions. Joana has experience implementing enterprise-wide initiatives for financial and technological institutions as a former Partner at Twin Lakes Global Advisors, an emerging markets multi-strategy hedge fund, management consultant at Absolute Strategy Research, and senior analyst at Vertical Commodities, and wealth manager at Wells Fargo Financial Advisors. Joana was featured in Thrive Global as a Female Disruptor in AI and Blockchain. She is also an advisor for women.nyc and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.
Jonathan focuses on frontier tech investing at Alumni Ventures in New York. He has been investing in early-stage frontier tech startups for the past four years. He previously studied astrophysics, biology, medicine, and game theory.
Jonathan is a product and operations leader, company builder, investor, and advisor. He has assembled, scaled, and led product, design, software engineering, hardware engineering, and machine learning teams across numerous financing stages (pre-seed through Series G). He has been building and delivering scaled software products across both the consumer and enterprise space for over ten years in a number of industries, including healthcare, life science, telemedicine, genomics, mobile commerce, security, human capital, and talent acquisition. Jonathan also advises early-stage and growth-phase startups and works with leading venture funds and family offices across the globe on deal sourcing, investment diligence, and portfolio company support. He also participates as an angel investor and LP in several funds. Jonathan received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Northwestern University.
Julia Maltby is an investor at Flybridge Capital Partners, a seed-stage New York and Boston-based venture fund. At Flybridge, she focuses on a range of community-driven businesses, most recently spending time with companies in Web3, the creator economy, and the future of work. She also co-leads The MBA Fund, a pre-seed fund backing students and alumni from Harvard, Stanford, and Penn. Prior to Flybridge, Julia was on the investments team at Underscore Ventures, focused on the future of work and the gig economy. She also served as the Director of Business Development at WeWork and the first hire and founding team member at Plum Alley Investments.
Kaitlin Christine is a breast cancer survivor and ovarian cancer previvor and CEO and founder of digital health startup Gabbi. After spending over nine years in women’s health, the youngest hire for the world’s leading genetic testing company, Myriad Genetics, and the VP of Growth of an email marketing startup, Kaitlin started Gabbi after her personal and professional experience in solving delayed diagnosis of breast cancer. Kaitlin has successfully raised multiple rounds of institutional funding, was selected as Oregon’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, and Accenture’s Founder and Company to watch for 2021. Kaitlin Christine is passionate about female founders.
Dr. Karima Ladhani is an innovation and strategy consultant, social entrepreneur, and leadership coach. Dr. Ladhani is the founder and CEO of Barakat Bundle and Giving Cradle, Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown McDonough School of Business, an alumna of MassChallenge, Halcyon Incubator, Harvard Innovation Lab, and an entrepreneurship coach with TSAI Center for Innovation at Yale, Next Health Accelerator, and Builders + Backers. She has received numerous awards, including Top 40 Under 40 Public Health Catalyst Award, Top 50 South Asian Founders to Watch, and Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Award.
Kayla Phillips is a NY-based investor at the Basecamp Fund (the pre-seed and seed fund at Alumni Ventures), where she backs 0 to 1 startups across the globe. She is excited about the evolution of web3 and primarily invests in this sector. Outside of Basecamp, Kayla is also an active member of several DAOs and web3 communities. Her other investment focus areas include the creator economy, fintech, digital health, and the future of work. Prior to Basecamp, Kayla worked as an investor at White Star Capital and helped launch the Citi Impact Fund. She also co-founded a consumer tech startup in the end-of-life space. Kayla has a background in corporate innovation consulting, digital media, and entertainment — experiences that have shaped her perspective on successfully launching and scaling new technologies. She holds an MBA from Columbia and a BS from Virginia Tech.
Kenneth’s mission is to inspire more entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses to create more job opportunities and economic growth across the world. After reading the book, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld, he got the roadmap to accomplish this mission. He started running the Startup Grind Richmond to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs. He launched the FoundersBoost (formerly Startup Boost), a Vancouver pre-accelerator program that connects mentors (startup founders Series A or beyond + early-stage VCs) to provide mentoring and pitch coaching that helps early-stage startups to get traction and investments. He also started the non-profit Careerin Tech Society to develop and connect talents to growing tech companies.
Laura is an innovative and strategic thinker focused on creating a positive future with technology and for humanity. With over ten years of experience in technology and business, Laura is currently an innovation consultant within Deloitte’s internal venture fund. She has experience in partnership management at HBO and developing corporate and startup relationships at RLab, the first city-funded emerging tech hub. Her industry knowledge spans sustainability, spatial computing, media, and much more. She also holds a BA in Business Administration from Boston University and an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.
Melinda Wang is a multi-hyphenate M&A and securities lawyer, contemporary art curator, founder, strategic advisor, and angel investor. She advises startups in the fintech, blockchain-based technology, and mediatech spaces and is an active angel investor focused on women-founded social impact businesses. She is a steering committee member of Princeton Alumni Angels and a member of Pipeline Angels. Melinda is also the Founder of MW Projects, a cultural production firm that brings contemporary art to historic sites and liminal spaces, and has curated over 35 exhibitions (including one of the first exhibitions of NFTs). As the Founder of Ninth Street Collective, she leads a team that helps empower artists by developing their entrepreneurial skills. Melinda serves on the Board of the Princeton Association of New York City and is active in NEW INC, the French-American Foundation, Dreamers & Doers, the Venture Cooperative, and several mentoring programs for entrepreneurs.
Mikhail is an entrepreneur with diverse corporate and startup experience, including strategy consulting (BCG), and has launched two startups with successful fund-raising. He is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Antler VC, Amsterdam, and a value-add investor at Republic.
Neetu Puranikmath is a venture capitalist, angel investor, and LP whose day job is Chief Investment Officer at Regenerous Institute. She not only invests directly into founders but also invests in fund managers. Prior to joining Regenerous, she worked as a pre-seed and seed investor at Alumni Ventures Group, leading deals in fintech, proptech, and SaaS. She also has experience leading SPVs, working in startup operations, and building a network of diverse founders and investors from NYC, Miami, California, Chicago, UK, Germany, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Neetu began her career working in Operations at Google. She has been a mentor for Dorm Room Fund and is a mentor for Google’s Gaming Accelerator. She graduated with an MBA from the University of Oxford and a BA from Oxford University.
Peter Stoute-King is currently a Senior Vice President and Fintech Practice Lead at Techstars, where he is responsible for developing and managing the industry solutions practice, including driving strategic and innovation partnerships, thought leadership, service delivery, investment, and business development with leading global financial services firms. He previously served as a Managing Director and led the Investment Network team at Convergence, where he was responsible for building out a matchmaking platform that connected public, private, and philanthropic investors to scale up blended finance investments in emerging and frontier markets. He has also held other M&A/advisory/investing roles, including as an investment officer with IDB Invest, executing corporate, structured, and project finance transactions across Latin America and the Caribbean. He also served as a vice president in the Emerging Markets M&A team within the London office of Citi and as an investment banker and business unit manager with Goldman Sachs in New York. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and was a Global Leadership Fellow with the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, where he engaged with C-level leaders of some of the world’s most important and influential companies and organizations on fintech, strategy/innovation, ESG, impact investing and capital markets development issues and was awarded a master’s degree in global leadership & strategy upon completion of the prestigious leadership program. Peter is a seasoned professional with over twenty years of experience and serves as a financial consultant and trusted advisor to entrepreneurs, governments, development agencies, institutional investors, and other financial institutions on investing in developing markets.
Rani Nagpal is an innovative, tech-centric senior leader with deep expertise in building successful startups and growing revenue at large, multinational corporations. She has led high-performing, cross-functional teams tasked with finding new ways to increase margin and drive growth at Sony Pictures, 20th Century / Disney, and Axel Springer. Rani is passionate about increasing the diversity of founders, advisors, and investors in the startup ecosystem. Currently, she advises early-stage startups with diverse founders on building and scaling enduring businesses through her strategic growth consultancy, B12. Rani is a founding member of Chief, a private network focused on connecting and supporting exceptional women leaders. She has also served as a judge, guest lecturer, and mentor for the London School of Economics’ Generate and Aspect accelerators and as a mentor for First Round Capital.
Safi’s venture expertise spans startups, funds, and partnerships. His career is an outgrowth of early-stage product building and growth hacking in London’s startup scene, where he completed an MBA at Imperial College while analyzing potential investments in his free time and advising underprivileged first-time founders with attractive, multibillion-dollar addressable markets. His previous tours of duty include being the East Coast Lead at Brand Capital International, Strategy Lead at Legacy in Boston, wearing multiple hats at XRC Labs in New York, and growth hacking for RoomForTea, Colt Technology Services, and LEVEL3. Currently, Safi leads ecosystem development for Store №8, Walmart’s venture studio and incubator. He also holds a BSc in accounting and finance with honors from the University of Birmingham and has served as an advisor and mentor at various organizations in the startup space, including SuperCharger VC, StartEd, VentureOut, FirstLook VC, and Ainves. His thematic convictions on outsized value creation for the next decade include healthcare and bioengineering, community-driven brands, medical SaaS, cryptography, educational services, gaming, and materials science. In 2017 he was the United Kingdom’s Recipient of the IBM Innovation and Design Prize. In his free time, he enjoys soccer, football, skiing, tennis, jazz piano, music production, and radically contrarian thinkers.
Sagar has eight-plus years of experience as an entrepreneur, operator, venture capitalist, and gender-lens investor. He has led investments in 18 early-stage startups globally. Currently, he is a partner at Beyond Impact VC, an alternative protein fund investing globally in the future of food and materials. Also, he is the founder of the First Followers Fellowship, a cohort-based educational fellowship for next-gen gender diverse first-time fund managers.
Sekai is an angel investor, NED, start-up mentor, advisor, and Defi DAO contributor. Her background is in IT Management Consulting, where she’s spent a decade building digital projects at Deutsche Bank, Lloyds, Barclays, and HSBC. Sekai is a member of several syndicates and has made crypto, social impact, and fintech investments since 2014. She sits on Hertfordshire’s LEP, Enterprise and Innovation Board, responsible for R&D, creating growth, and jobs. Sekai has been mentoring start-ups for eight years and is currently active with Outlier Ventures (Web 3), R3 (Enterprise Blockchain), Newchip Ventures, and Techstars. She’s a start-up advisor, many of which are led by female founders in crypto-asset wealth, AR/VR, web 3, AI, and clean tech.
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 MBALaunch Program. Currently, she is the Founder and CEO of Muslim Women Professionals (MWP), Program Manager at XRC Labs, the #1 retail accelerator and VC fund in the country, and a part of Republic’s Venture Partner Program. She is also a member of Women in VC and VCFamilia. Previously, Sofia was a part of the Venture Associate Program at Republic, Ambassador at the United State of Women (USOW), and was selected to participate in the Grid110 Program in their Idea to Product cohort.
Tiana is an investor at Cultivation Capital, focused on early-stage SaaS and deep-tech opportunities, including geospatial technology, aerospace, location intelligence, drones, robotics, computer vision, and AI/ML. Prior to VC, Tiana spent several years working with start-ups globally, including most recently as a Strategy and Operations Manager for RapidSOS, a New York-based start-up leading the world’s first emergency response data platform. Tiana holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Tiffany Yu is a disability advocate and social impact entrepreneur. She is the founder & CEO of Diversability, a community business on a mission to elevate disability pride, and the winner of the 2020 Facebook Community Accelerator Demo Day. She is also the creator of The Anti-Ableism Series, a short-form video series with 4.5+ million views. She started her career working in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and has worked at Bloomberg and P. Diddy’s REVOLT TV. She is an investor in Esusu (a black-owned unicorn), Backstage Capital, and more.
Topher is on the Investment Team at Kairos HQ, where he works with the NYC-based venture studio to invest in and incubate companies that make consumers’ lives simpler and more affordable across categories, including housing, finance, healthcare, and education. Prior to Kairos, he worked at the state of Tennessee’s tech economic development arm, Launch Tennessee, managing policy advocacy and program design to improve capital access and stakeholder connectivity across emerging startup ecosystems. Topher also volunteers with BuildInSE, an organization creating founder-facing resources and regional collaboration to improve the number of startup success stories in the Southeast. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and a member of the 2021 cohort of Future VC. A native of central Georgia, he now lives with his wife in Brooklyn.
Winton Damarillo is the founder and CEO of Talino Venture Labs. He is a former VC at Intel Corporation and a serial entrepreneur with 3X exits in Silicon Valley. Winston Damarillo is a YGL of the World Economic Forum and a strong advocate of Inclusive Fintech.
Wossen is a co-founder and COO of Pariti. He has advised clients including Silver Lake, KKR, and Blackstone on fundraises and transactions as an attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. He also worked at Emergo Partners, an Africa-focused VC firm, helping develop the firm’s strategy, and at McKinsey & Co. in East Africa. He is based in Nairobi, Kenya.