Office Hours: I'm the Chief Strategy Officer at Republic and General Partner at WOCstar Fund. I'm Pialy Aditya.Featured
Hi everyone! I am Pialy Aditya, Chief Strategy Officer at Republic, an investment platform for pre-seed to pre-IPO companies spun out of AngelList. Republic democratizes private investing by providing both accredited and non-accredited investors with access to highly-vetted startups.I’m an active angel investor and mentor to startups as well as a General Partner at WOCstar Fund, a venture fund focused on underrepresented founders. Much of the way I think about investing today has been framed by the strategic venture capital lens I started my career coupled with the operational lens I’ve cultivated over the years from launching the fashion-tech platform, Mintbox, to tackling senior executive roles at large publicly-traded companies including Donna Karan/LVMH and at ShopYourWay.I have a bachelor's degree from NYU Stern and an MBA from Harvard Business School.Ask me anything about fundraising, equity crowdfunding, angel investing, supporting diverse founders, retail/fashion sectors, career growth, WFH with a baby, or anything else!
Thanks so much for joining us @Pialy!Elphas – please ask @Pialy your questions before Friday, September 11th. @Pialy may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
@ElphaStaff - thanks for having me!
Hi Pialy, Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I am interested in breaking into VC and am looking at associate positions. I'm a former lawyer, CEO/Co-founder of a digital health startup. I have a deep understanding of patient engagement and ML with expertise in data policy, privacy and regulatory analysis. I'm passionate about health equity - particularly women's health issues.How do I present my experience to my best advantage as I don't have previous private equity experience or financial analyst skills. What top skills do you want to see in a venture associate?
@julietoberding Hi Juliet. I love operators! I’m an operator first and foremost and that gives me a different lens in viewing startups. Many great venture firms appreciate operating experience because you understand the plight of a founder/business and many top VC firms were started by operators including Trinity Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. You’re extremely talented. Make it known. First, research those venture firms that focus on the health-tech space. Alternatively, look into health-tech startups you admire and see who invested in them. Certainly you have a POV in the particular space they play in. Then, reach out to them via your network, LinkedIN or various virtual networking events/webinars. Play to your strengths. That’s how you stand out. Tout your domain expertise in the digital healthcare space, your regulatory knowledge and operating experience. Leverage your strong relationships in the digital health space to talk about technologies, business models or actual startups that you’re bullish on (and even what you’re not). Leverage your background to create content and show off your expertise - it’s time consuming but hey, it’s free and social media can help amplify your POV. Tweet, write Medium articles, start a podcast, etc. Share your thoughts and investment thesis publicly. Another way to stand out is to actually invest in some amazing companies and build your own individual track record. But how do you do that?- Write small angel checks into companies that align with your thesis. You can directly reach out to digital health startups in your network to see where they are in their fundraising process. There are a number of angel networks by city or educational institutions. Here’s where I give a little shout out to our mission at Republic (https://republic.co) as we allow anyone to invest in startups with very little capital across industries. Finally, look out for Spearhead’s (https://spearhead.co) next cohort.- Take on an advisory role in exchange for equity - Venture is notorious for hiring within their network. Take on a Venture Partner or Venture Scout role within a venture fund wherein you help source, diligence and invest in health-tech. Great places to learn more about breaking into venture capital and network in addition to Elpa include SheWorx (https://www.sheworx.com), AllRaise (https://www.allraise.org), SoGal Foundation (https://www.iamsogal.com), Alumni Ventures Group (https://www.avgfunds.com), Femstreet (https://www.femstreet.com), TheWeekInStartups podcast (https://thisweekinstartups.com), just to name a few.
Hey @Pialy ! Thanks for the AMA opportunity!I'd love to learn about how you have been balancing career and health/fitness, especially with a baby and WFH!
Great question, @silviaem! The balance issue is real - with or without a baby at home. The complexity of life just got more intense with COVID. I don’t know if I’ve gotten it right. Would love to hear what the rest of the Elpha community thinks about this! Give us the secret sauce 🙏Personally, I’ve been very fortunate. I know it. It takes a village to raise a kid. I have a twin sister who is walking distance and she has kids who make for great playdate partners and eventually babysitters (fingers crossed 🤞). Additionally, it’s been helpful to have a supportive partner who not only works full time but is also a great cook and active with our young child...and super chill. Finally, having a company that understands the pressures of home life has been a major blessing because burnout is real.Here are some tips that come to mind:1. Certainly, lookout for any benefits from your work. Hopefully your company is stepping up with benefits that match our new normal including discounts to online classes for you and kids, tools to find childcare or virtual tutors, online workout/gym discounts, extra COVID days for PTO, etc.2. Plan Meals ahead. Pre-COVID, we would dine out a lot. Now we’re cooking and not even ordering in much. Weekends are when much of the grocery shopping and cooking gets done. I’ve just discovered the wonders of slow cooking and it has been a life saver...just set it and forget it. 3. De-stress. I’ve started to try my hand at meditation...again. There are many meditation apps available (Headspace, Calm, etc). If you’re feeling “working mom guilt”, Harvard Business Review had a helpful article last week centered around dealing with a society wherein “we expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work.” https://hbr.org/2020/09/how-to-let-go-of-working-mom-guilt4. Schedule time for workouts. Put it into the calendar and commit to it like you would a work meeting. If your child is on a schedule - take advantage of nap times. I tend to have meetings/work during nap times and am not a morning person so I workout in the evenings. If you’re a morning person, find time before the family wakes up! Lots of apps/gyms are giving free 15-90 trials (Peloton had a 90-day trial during the height of COVID). I've taken advantage of those!5. Depending on how old your child is, you can find an independent space nearby for him/her to create arts and crafts (crayons, mess free markers, stamps, playdoh, etc.). S/he will inevitably make their way to the front of the camera lens but you know what, that’s fine. No one cares anymore.6. Family & Friends to the rescue! If all else fails enlist virtual help! It’s a great time to call grandparents, aunts and uncles, other toddlers for a virtual playdate...and your parents will thank you!Good luck. Share what you've learned here!! 🙏
@Pialy Thank you so much for your detailed response! Lots of great tips, and the HBR piece was so helpful! I feel like this is as close as it gets to a secret sauce! :)I'll be getting in touch with you separately about something in this area that I'd love to hear your take on, if you don't mind!Thanks again for taking time for an AMA, and have a great week-end!
Hi Pialy!Thank you so much for your time. Are you adjusting any strategies of investing after the new SEC regulations has added a more inclusive definition to what an investor can be? I'm particularly interested in your thoughts around more Indigenous investors etc. Are you doing any extensions to those communities or new communities that had been kept out from alot of the investor conversations. Thank you again for your thoughts. Ebony
Hi @ebonypeayramirez - thanks for your question. Our platform allows founders and investors from all over the country to participate in early-stage capital formation. We believe that all entrepreneurs should have access to funding for their businesses, and that investors should be able to fund private startups they believe in, no matter where they live. Therefore, we’re excited about the new more inclusive SEC definition around “accredited investors” including the new category for Native American tribal investors. What started out as an equity crowdfunding platform for retail investors, seeded by AngelList, has since grown into a robust ecosystem for private investing in pre-seed to pre-IPO companies with more than 750,000 members that includes not only the general public but also high net worth individuals, family offices and institutional investors. This new designation only furthers our mission at Republic to increase financial inclusion and build economic equality.We know how hard it is for women and founders of color to raise capital. More than half of all the startups which raised money on Republic were founded by individuals who are overlooked by the traditional funding system. 🙌 We believe this is an area of incredible untapped economic potential. We recently helped two startups - Fleeting Pro and Blue - each raise $1M through Republic, making them the first companies led by Black male and Latinx male founders respectively to ever hit this milestone on any regulated digital funding portal. Also, as part of these efforts, we acquired Sheworx last year. Sheworx is an organization and community that helps empower female and minority entrepreneurs and investors. This acquisition has resulted in a number of Sheworx community members raising money on Republic as well as being angel investors for the first time.We're going to keep charging ahead. This is only the beginning.
Hi Pialy,How have you been strategizing to find true product market fit & growth for equity crowdfunding? Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Hi @Karrie - Thanks for your question. Republic has grown to a 750K+ investor base and growing. What this means for the platform is that we have investors that are interested in many sectors from fin-tech to blockchain. Our investors can also invest alongside themes they are passionate about - e.g. sustainability, female founders, founders of color, etc. Companies on the platform are highly-vetted with only 1% of companies that apply making it onto the platform as an investment opportunity for the public.We’re expanding into new verticals and asset classes. Republic recently acquired Compound, a real estate investment platform which has received strong support from our community. So you can expect to see more real estate deals coming soon (https://republic.co/real-estate). In the Spring, we acquired Fig, a revolutionary platform that allows every day investors to participate in the upside of video games and video game consoles. The gaming sector is hotter, and bigger, than ever before, and we’ve got big plans for this space. (https://republic.co/fig) The SEC limits for equity crowdfunding will most likely increase from $1.07M to $5M in a few months so expect to see larger raises and more mature/later stage companies raising on our platform. We’ve digitized and democratized the fundraising process for private companies.
Hello Pialy, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! I'm a recently graduated master's student. Though I've worked a few internships and have about 2 years of full time experience (in product management and analytics), I am still quite early in my career. Do you have any advice to women with little experience breaking into venture capital? Thank you so much in advance!
Hi @clarachan43 - Thanks for your question. Check out some of the advice I provided above to Juliet. Sounds like you’re doing it - getting that functional knowledge. Additionally, I’d say don’t underestimate the value of the passion you have around a sector or technology. Remember, there is not just one direct path to the VC world. Put in the time and do your research to learn as much as you can. Stay curious. Also, there are numerous resources online to learn about venture capital as I mentioned earlier. If you’d prefer books, check out Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson book called “Venture Deals” to learn more about terms of the deal.
Hi @Pialy,Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions!I am in the process of co-founding a SaaS company with an all female founding team. We have a clear vision for our MVP, a proof of concept, and a platform interested in licensing our software as soon as we build it, but we are non-technical and in the process of searching for our technical co-founder.We are realizing that we will require a bit of funding to build out our product. We hope to take our MVP data-collection and translate it to an intelligent platform harnessing ML. Do you have advice as a mentor and Angel investor for seeking such early-stage funding? Especially as founders who are non-STEM, what is 'too-early'?Thank you again for your insight!