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Vietnamese-American man builds easy investment platform

Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 19:50 GMT+7
Vietnamese-American man builds easy investment platform
Kendrick Nguyen, who is seeking opportunities to support Vietnam’s startups. Photo: Courtesy of Kendrick Nguyen

Making capital investments is usually thought as intended for well-off people or bankers only, but Kendrick Nguyen, an American of Vietnamese origin, has launched an easy investment platform where anyone can invest amounts as small as a few hundred thousand Vietnamese dong.

Over the past several years, 39-year-old Nguyen has become a familiar face of the annual National Festival for Innovative Startups (Techfest Vietnam), hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology to support the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.

As the co-founder and CEO of Republic (Republic.co), an investment platform connecting tech startups and blockchain projects with global investors, he hopes Republic will develop into a unicorn with billions of U.S. dollars and become a leading platform for crowdfunding.

Playground for all

Nguyen co-founded Republic in 2016, after he left the position of chief attorney of the venture investment fund AngelList, which is behind five unicorn companies, including Uber.

Republic offers the lowest limit of investments compared to other crowdfunding platforms.

Accordingly, with only US$10, anyone can invest in any company on this platform.

Republic CEO Kendrick Nguyen (middle) is seen at the 2019 Techfest in Vietnam. Photo: Courtesy of Kendrick Nguyen

This supplied photo shows Republic CEO Kendrick Nguyen (middle) at the 2019 Techfest in Vietnam.

It is as easy to make investments using the Republic platform as buying items at shops, he said.

“When you like a certain company and believe it will be successful, you can invest $10-20 using a credit card,” the entrepreneur added.

"Such investment is quite different from goods purchased in that if the investee operates successfully, the $10 you have invested may grow up to $100, $1,000 or even millions of dollars, just like in the story of Facebook or Tesla."

If the investment fails, the investor will lose the money, the young CEO added.

With such an affordable and convenient investment method, Republic could raise $36 million in Series A in the U.S. and has grown rapidly over the past year, attracting over $300 million from more than one million investors.

With his Republic platform, Nguyen asserted that deciding on choosing which company to invest in, as well as considering which industry to be useful in the future, has no longer been the prerogative of any bank or billionaire or financial empire, but of the general public.

Future of $10 investment

“Crowdfunding will become an inevitable trend,” the Vietnamese American said, adding that the future of society is that everyone will be investors and will own part of the services and products for which they are also customers.

When a person invests in a company like Uber, they will call an Uber car.

When they are interested in environmental issues and invest in a café chain using environmentally-friendly recycled products, they will become among the clients of such chains, the entrepreneur explained.

He said he is confident that the crowdfunding market will increasingly develop, even without his platform.

“My aspiration is for Republic to be a leader in that market," the executive said.

"After five years, the Republic platform has more than one million registered investors with a total investment of more than $300 million into over 300 enterprises."

At this time next year, the total investment will exceed $1 billion and after 10 years, the figure will reach $1 trillion, the Republic co-founder said. 

Toward Vietnam

As an American with Vietnamese ancestry, Nguyen said he finds it easy to make connections with his homeland, where he has identified what fields he should invest in.

“A desire to make contributions to the homeland’s development is a thing of common sense,” said the platform CEO, who left Vietnam when he was in elementary school.

Nguyen, who earned a PhD from Boston University in the U.S., taught at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law in 2011-12, and has become a regular Techfest guest speaker since 2016.

The entrepreneur, who can speak Vietnamese fluently, said he is seeking opportunities to support a number of potential Vietnamese startups on the Republic platform through cooperation with VietChallenge, a non-for-profit organization.

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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