Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Leads Republic Fund-Raising
(Bloomberg) -- Republic, whose more than 1 million users make it the largest private investment platform, raised $36 million from investors including Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, Broadhaven Ventures and Prosus NV.
New York-based Republic allows so-called non-accredited investors a chance to get in on the startup ground floor with as little as $10, and has grown by four times in the past year based on investment through its platform. The money raised in this round will help Republic build a system for its small investors to sell their stakes sooner than the eight to 10 years it usually takes for startups to return money, Chief Executive Officer Kendrick Nguyen said in an interview.
Unlike the larger capital markets that ground to a halt for a time because of the Covid-19 pandemic, “the demand on retail capital has been available throughout,” Nguyen said. “Month-on-month it has continued to grow and I think it highlights the power of retail capital.”
Read more: Crypto Push by Republic Investment Platform Sparked by New Token
Republic offered a digital token in July through a pre-sale to give customers access to profit from some deals done on its platform and the token has not yet been issued or released, according to the company. Only accredited investors are able to buy those tokens and the firm is still working with the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow non-accredited investors to buy in.
The SEC requires accredited investors to meet conditions such as having a net worth of at least $1 million and an annual income of at least $200,000. Republic has offered crypto-related investments since 2017 with Nguyen pushing to bring digital currencies and blockchain projects to more people than the enthusiasts they cater to today.
Novogratz, 56, is the founder, CEO and chairman of Galaxy Digital, which was the lead investor in Republic this round. Prosus, the Internet-services company controlled by Naspers Ltd., made a strategic investment in Republic by buying the digital tokens that are known as Republic Notes, according to the firm. Naspers owns around 30% of Tencent Holdings Ltd., the Chinese creator of the messaging platform WeChat.
Nguyen said that raising capital in the public markets is in the cards for Republic, whether that’s through an initial public offering, blank-check firm or a direct listing.
“We certainly will consider and look closely at the public markets,” he said.
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