FinTech Female Fridays: Cheryl Campos, Director of Growth and Partnerships, Republic
What made you choose a career path into a smaller boutique investment company?
A large bank is great to gain a technical skill set and launch your professional career with a brand name. However, moving to a boutique allowed me on a smaller team to gain hands on experience while learning the ins-and-outs of the buy side.
What was the hardest part about entering into Venture Capital (VC) and what advice would you give to women who are trying to pivot into VC?
The VC industry is very focused on your network, so make sure to leverage your current relationships and find those in the VC sector that could become your mentors and champions. It is also necessary to do your homework, understand why you want to enter venture, and read the tech news every day until you begin to figure out what industries you like and can become a master in.
As an Analyst at an SBIC fund, you were seeking to help minority and woman-owned business enterprises. Can you speak a little bit about the importance and societal impact of supporting these types of enterprises?
It was great to see dedicated funds for WMBEs in the private debt / equity sector, which are not as common in VC. When overlooked populations are in need of capital and cannot find it, their businesses are stunted and the U.S. economy suffers as a whole.
For example, Latinx founders are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America, but their businesses are struggling to scale due to access & cost of capital. It's time for more capital to find overlooked founders and support their growth to reach their full potential. Here at Republic, a spinout of AngelList, our open fundraising platform allows for startups to raise up to $1m in capital. 40% of our founders are women and 20% of our founders are Black / Latinx so we're fighting to change the status quo.
Can you describe your role in Republic?
As a Director at Republic, I'm focused on introducing underrepresented founders to these alternative funding sources in order to help their startups thrive. In addition, I build out partnerships with other venture capital and ecosystem builders while supporting the growing Republic portfolio of 140 companies.
Can you tell us a little bit about the mission of Republic and what it means to you?
Republic's mission to democratize access to investing and fundraising started in 2016 after the Title III of the JOBS Act passed that allows anyone to invest in startups. That means the 97% of America that was previously excluded from this high-risk asset class, which could create generational wealth, could now participate. That means a retired teacher in Ohio can now invest in the startup of which she's already a fan and can be rewarded later down the line with a return. It means another capital source for founders to reach the American Dream.
Republic focuses on diversity and the belief that start-up unicorns can be found in places where investors are not traditionally looking. Can you talk to us about some of the most impressive success stories you have seen in your time in Republic? Are there any trends you have observed?
We have had incredible founders that have raised the max $1.07m on the platform - we just had our 11th one and the first Latina to reach the milestone with a blood testing device for early cancer detection! We also have 28 states represented in our portfolio, our latest in Montana, so truly committed to supporting overlooked founders whether demographically or geographically diverse.
Reach out to Cheryl on LinkedIn.