Welcome to Episode 52!
Our guest for STIMY Episode 52 is Kendrick Nguyen.
Kendrick Nguyen is the co-founder & CEO of Republic – one of the US’s top equity crowdfunding platforms where over USD$ 100 million has already been raised in just 2021 alone to date. And boasts a heavily curated list of startups to invest in that, according to Kendrick, is harder to get into than Harvard!
Before Republic, Kendrick was a trading and securities lawyer at Wall Street. Knowing that this wasn’t for him, he eventually transitioned into becoming a Stanford teaching fellow and COO of Kanbar Enterprises. He later became the General Counsel of Angellist (also its first non-engineering hire!) and simultaneously spearheaded Angellist’s expansion into Canada and Europe and the launch of various products.
That is, until the JOBS Act passed, which changed the investment landscape and allowed non-accredited investors (i.e. anyone regardless of net worth) invest in startups.
With the blessing (and investment!) of Angellist before him, Kendrick decided to launch his own startup, Republic, with the ultimate aim of becoming the Amazon of private investing. Where anyone can invest in the next potential Uber or Airbnb for as little as $10.
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Who is Kendrick Nguyen?
Kendrick is a Vietnamese immigrant whose parents moved over to the States due to the Vietnam War. He grew up in the Bay area, where he observed that unless you were someone with a high net worth, certain investment opportunities were always out of reach.
- 3:26 Studying neuroscience & law at Berkeley and Oxford
- 4:38 Becoming a securities & patent litigator
- 7:20 Becoming a teaching fellow at Stanford University
AngelList & Republic
Kendrick shares how he ended up joining AngelList, who was one of the parties heavily involved in campaigning for the JOBS Act. And how the passing of the JOBS Act inspired the founding of Republic:
- 11:48 Joining AngelList as its General Counsel & first non-engineering hire
- 14:22 The JOBS Act
- 16:04 The vision for Republic to become the Amazon of private investing
- 17:51 Telling the AngelList board that he wanted to quit & launch his own startup
- 19:46 Getting 2 investments out of 250 VCs in 8 months
All Things Republic
We dive deep into the inner workings of Republic.
From how Republic curates the short list of companies allowed to raise funds on its platform, to some of its most successful campaigns and Kendrick’s unique efforts in raising awareness of the potential of equity crowdfunding.
- 25:12 Republic’s curation process
- 28:25 The different lens between Republic and VCs
- 31:38 Allowing a 12-year-old founder to raise funds on Republic?!
- 34:48 Getting deal flow
- 37:43 Why startups would raise on Republic & not from other VCs
- 39:47 Republic’s business model
- 42:12 Hallmarks of successful campaigns on Republic
- 43:53 How Sahil Lavingia (founder of Gumroad) raised USD $5 million in 12 hours from just under 7,000 investors
- 45:51 How founders can activate their community
- 51:06 Distinguishing Republic from other competitors
- 52:54 Republic Notes – launching Republic’s own digital tokens
- 54:29 Partnership with Meet the Drapers television show
- 1:00:21 Use of Republic’s recent $36 million for Series A
If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:
- Austen Allred: Co-Founder & CEO, Lambda School – coding school that’s FREE to attend & helps graduates get into Fortune 500 companies like Google, Facebook, IBM etc. using the ISA (Income Sharing Agreement) business model
- Nick Bernstein, Part 1 & Part 2: Senior VP, Late Night Programming (West Coast), CBS & executive in charge of the Late Late Show with James Corden
- Lincoln Lee Ming: Co-Founder, RICE Inc & Winner of $1 Million HULT Prize 2018
- Guy Kawasaki: Chief Evangelist of Canva & Apple
- Dr Finian Tan: Chairman & Co-Founder, Vickers Venture Fund ($3B in managed assets)
If you enjoyed this episode with Kendrick Nguyen you can:
- Tweet your thoughts & takeaways to Kendrick here!
- Tweet your thoughts & takeaways from the episode to Ling Yah here!
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If you enjoy listening to the podcast, we’d love for you to leave a review on iTunes / Apple Podcasts. The link works even if you aren’t on an iPhone. 😉
Send an Audio Message
I’d love to include more listener comments & thoughts into future STIMY episodes! If you have any thoughts to share, a person you’d like me to invite, or a question you’d like answered, send an audio file / voice note to [email protected]
Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:
- Kendrick Nguyen: Twitter
- Republic: Website, Instagram, YouTube
- Republic Realm
- Watch Meet the Drapers #4: Event Hollow, Alpha’a Inc, ZenSports with Kendrick Nguyen & Chuck Pettid
- Subscribe to the STIMY Podcast for alerts on future episodes at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher & RadioPublic
- Leave a review on what you thought of this episode HERE or the comment section of this post below
- Want to be a part of our exclusive private Facebook group & chat with our previous STIMY episode guests? CLICK HERE.
STIMY Ep 52: Kendrick Nguyen - Co-Founder & CEO, Republic
Kendrick Nguyen: People would think that they just launch a campaign and money comes in. Oh, that's not how it works, right?
If you're building a business and you don't have the confidence to talk to your sister, your cousin, your ex boyfriend, or girlfriend, your neighbors about how special this is, why do you expect that someone on the other side of the world, would just be like, oh, she's amazing. Let's invest. No. You gotta show that those who are closest to you believe in you first.
So it does take some time.
And I think people with the appreciation for the commitment, dedication, and go out there to fundraise also tend to be the most successful.
Ling Yah: Hey everyone!
Welcome to episode 52 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and producer, Ling Yah, and today's guest is Kendrick Nguyen Co-founder and CEO of a startup called Republic, which aims to be the Amazon of private investing. In this episode, Ken shares what he was like growing up as a Vietnam immigrant in the bay area, going from being a trading and securities lawyer to becoming an asset manager and teaching fellow at Stanford.
And now the co-founder and CEO of Republic. One of the top equity crowdfunding platforms in the States. We talked about what it was like being on a mission to democratize investing and some of the hallmarks of its most successful campaigns to date, including Gumroad who recently raised $5 million in less than 12 hours from just under 7,000 private investors.
So are you ready for Kendrick story?
When you were nine, your family immigrated from Vietnam to San Francisco because of the Vietnam war. And I wonder given how young you were, what that transition like and what it was like growing up in the heart of the bay area, where all the tech innovation like Google, Amazon, Facebook were at.
Kendrick Nguyen: I still have some memories about being a kid in Vietnam, but quite frankly, traveling or changing country or an environment for a child is never for like such a hugely pleasant thing, right?
You kind of like crave that stability. Uh, But I grew up in a very, very loving family with parents and older siblings. And so that really was a great foundation for any change. So I really feel very fortunate that that I had the childhood in a different country, but that the latter years of my childhood was in America.
Ling Yah: Did you love dispute resolution And was that why you chose law in the end?
Kendrick Nguyen: I was watching a few shows on just American televisions. As you know, in Asia, law is not as big a profession in terms of its place in society. But in the US, you can turn on the TV and they're like eight different TV shows about lawyers arguing.
And I love just like the human dynamics. And I think one of the things that drew me to it is the ability to influence, to like make a difference. Of course, you're fixing someone and making someone feel better in the hospital. That's a very impactful way, but there's something fun about watching people who dress up in court and talk for half an hour and change people's opinions so I think how I got interested in law was by watching TV show.
Ling Yah: So what was the thought process behind you doing neuroscience in your undergrad? And then eventually doing law in Berkeley and Oxford?
Kendrick Nguyen: Even though I always wanted to be a lawyer growing up like that is in middle school and high school. For my parents, they were like, you gotta be a doctor or an engineer because law wasn't something that they were ask familiar with.
And so the notion is not that you had to. It's that it's very clear that there's a strong preference, you know, if you're a good son and are gonna have a successful role in society, that's your two choices. And so even though I ended up studying part of law, neuroscience was the foundation that, hey, if I wanted to, I could then go to medical school.
So as entering college, I was like, all right, neuroscience, I like people. I like law. And this is a deep science space that would be the undergraduate degree because being a medical doctor is a doctorate degree in the U S. You need an undergrad. Then you take the MCAT. And then you go to medical school.
Because of that, I ended up studying neuroscience as an undergrad to give myself options later on in life or four years later.
Ling Yah: So you ended up becoming a securities and patent litigator that Goodwin Proctor. Why was that? Did you know from day one that this wasn't where you wanted it to be for the rest of your life?
Kendrick Nguyen: On day one, I knew it wasn't what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. Thou I was thrilled to be doing it. So I skipped a couple of grades, but ended up still deciding to go to law school. and my family ended up was being very supportive of it.
I think me being the last one of five, had a lot to do with it. Had I been the oldest one, I think the pressure to do medical school would have been high and I would have been a terrible doctor. I hate blood. I don't like the neon lighting in any environment, certainly not the hospital environment. And when people are not well, I feel sad, but I also feel down, you know, I would have made a horrible medical doctor or a scientist for that matter.
So luckily ended up pursue law and the career for law in the U S is also pretty unique. You got to get into like the bigger firms, because they pay more, they're more prestigious. And so I chose Goodwin Proctor. On day one, I knew that I needed to learn all that I could but being a lawyer in a large law firm wasn't for me.
That's why I was doing patent litigation, securities litigation, and in some merger acquisition, which is a very different area of the law that people typically don't combine just to, again, broaden my horizon opening up possibilities.
Ling Yah: So how did you end up deciding to go in-house to one of the largest asset management companies in the states?
Kendrick Nguyen: Luck in that most of the time, it would be a dream transition for a large firm attorney to go in-house, particularly at a hedge fund or an investment firm. It will take like 10 years or so.
So someone after two, three years through a string of events that looking back, I felt quite lucky that people took the risks and opened the door for me.
But I ended up becoming the chief US counsel for a very large firms right in the middle of the financial recession in 2008.
In life, you know, 50% of what, everything that you do at least 50% luck and outside of your control. The good and the bad.
Ling Yah: It must have been tough because you were managing over $40 billion in assets.
Kendrick Nguyen: During the greatest economic recession that the war has seen since the 1930s with Lehman brothers and whatnot as counterparties.
So I don't think I slept very much. I think I slept like probably three nights a week without jokes actually. Every other night was like an all-nighter for a good six months or so.
Ling Yah: So after that lifestyle did you think that's it, I want to go into academia?
Kendrick Nguyen: You know, it wasn't that the pace of work that encouraged me to do something else.
It was that it was getting less meaningful.
I've always been able to find energy in me to work long hours on things that I'm passionate about. But it's the meaning, the purpose for feeling behind certain things after two years at the firm, I was like, all right, now that the economy is more stable, things are getting back to the normal routine. You move a lot of money back and forth and the learning curve has plateaued out.
So it felt to me like, is this the best thing I can be doing, you know, with life. And I started to look around and that was in New York. My family, I grew up in California, everyone's in California.
Started out my law career and was in finance in New York city. And at the time I had not been seeing my parents very much since law school. And so I was like, hey, you know, I think I want to move back to California and spend a little bit more time with my parents who were, and are getting older.
And an opportunity came up to be in academia. And my parents were in academia as well. College, high school. But they were teachers and professors. And I was like, wow, this would be kind of cool since I didn't make it as a doctor or an engineer, maybe I'll be the only one that family to do something that they had done before, which is teaching.
But that's how I ended up coming back to a Stanford law school, going to business school as a teaching fellow for a few.
Ling Yah: You came back to be a teaching fellow at a time when the Dodd-Frank act was passed. So there must have been very interesting time for you.
Kendrick Nguyen: And another coincidence in life, right?
Because to go back into an academic environment in law, in jurisprudence, just happened to be at a time when there was a lot of changes in regulatory structure, I call it the legal revolution in the US.
So in that capacity, got to get very involved and meet a lot of people who were instrumental in crafting a lot of these rules and regulations at the federal level in the US and all of it had to do with securities. With how do you sell and buy stock?
How do you prevent investor from getting exposed and cheated, which caused the great recession and the great depression and the conversation around that. So it was really, I couldn't have planned for the timing, the value of what it ended up providing me.
Ling Yah: Were you constantly seeking what else you could do next?
Because at the same time, you co-founded a consulting practice and you were also CEO of Cambra enterprise.
Kendrick Nguyen: Ling, I think in life, all of us all have the desire to be more.
And I think in the academic environment, it was amazing intellectually, but the pace of life was very slow. I used to the New York pace of life of Wall Street or finance. Big law. Uh, So I ended up finding myself with some extra time and whether to spend that extra time doing more academic research.
I'm like, oh, well, why don't I try you know, get my feet wet in something else. And that's how almost concurrently also got involved in business and gain some business experience from the perspective of not a lawyer, but as an operator of going out there, building businesses as a COO for a very large organization, it was Kanbar enterprises at the time.
Uh, But I think at the end of the day, it's still driven by the one common thread, which is, we all want to be more than what we are today.
Ling Yah: And I think that drive also led you to start a nonprofit that was helping underserved children in Asia, especially Vietnam.
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes.
People only see the things that work, but people don't see the things that didn't work or I would say started in different forms, five, six different initiatives.
Some non-profits, some for-profit, that did not work before, you know, eventually founding Republic. But yes I did have a nonprofit that was collecting money and directing them to schools in Asia Vietnam and Indonesia at the beginning. But the internet and social media, which is still so new and that over time, we just didn't have that traction that made sense.
And so know when to fold things is also, I think, looking back an important aspect of being a founder.
Ling Yah: So you ran that for two years before you decided to fold it. And I think that's when the Angellist opportunity came through Stanford. How did that happen?
Kendrick Nguyen: Well, Angellist had some legal challenges at the time because what was doing was very new and it didn't quite conform with certain aspect, us laws. So they had some significant legal challenge, which is what they were looking to hire their general counsel. Actually the first non-engineer hire they've ever made. And my advisor at the time, my mentor at the time at Stanford was also an advisor for Angeles.
Uh, I got introduced and at the beginning, I was not interested in becoming the general counsel because I was thinking if I just want to be a lawyer again. I go back to New York at a large fund. Why would I join a startup? But a startup is so different in its structure, in that it gives every employee a lot more flexibility and possibilities.
So Naval, the founder of AngelList told me that like, Hey, you don't have to just be a lawyer. You can take on whatever project that you won in so far that you hire people to, make all of the legal issues under control. And so in, in addition to becoming an Angellist GC, I led their expansion into Canada and into Europe and launched a bunch of products.
But it was probably the first job after like five years out of law school that had shown me that the law in the U S everything is up for changes that you can change and shift everything. Nothing is static. But coming from the New York, big law environment, you think that things are just what they are.
They can never change and that's not true. And I think entrepreneurship, particularly Silicon Valley, is so good at distilling and conveying that message.
Ling Yah: And you joined Angellist at a time when it was rolling out its syndication model. So what was the kind of work that you were doing there"
Kendrick Nguyen: Is, is as much a legal tech company as it is a financial tech.
Syndication simply means that how do you make it possible for a hundred people to invest into a company, but it shows up as one investor on the companies cap table or document because no company wants to deal with a hundred new investor all at once. So how to structure legal documents and make it cheap enough to do that over and over and over again. That's the Angellist syndication model.
Ling Yah: Angellist was also very active in lobbying for the JOBS act, which is very crucial to the founding of Republic.
Can you share a bit about when you first heard about it and what you thought the implications were when it would come into force?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. So this is in the years between 2011 to 2014. And this is a lot of changes under President Obama.
And so after the great recession in the US, the government had a lot of mandate to implement see-through changes in financial regulation. The JOBS act and Dodd-Frank is a body of law that probably more impactful or more far reaching than anything that we have seen in the 50 years before that.
So it changes every aspect of how you buy and trade and sell public securities as well as private. So just one main thing that almost every lawyer or every lawyer should know that from the 1930s, the great depression in the United States, you got to be a millionaire in order to invest in a private company.
Meaning a company has to become public in order for a normal person to invest. Otherwise you gotta be a millionaire to invest early.
Well, that means that normal people could not invest in startup, which is not possible by a construct of law and that didn't make a lot of sense, right? Certainly no longer in the 21st century.
Uh, so this movement of many organization, Angellist being one lobbying the Obama administration to see through a component of the law that allows anyone and everyone to invest in very new businesses, startups as well as restaurants or whatever.
Ling Yah: Was that a vision that really captured your attention?
Is that when you thought for Republic, you will make it the Amazon of private investing?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. That's when I thought that indeed, that would be possible once. And for all that, the potential of investing is for everyone to do it. And I still remember a couple of years in high school and in the bay area, in Silicon valley.
And you hear stories about Google and E-bay and all of these tech companies. And I asked my dad and my oldest brother, how come they're not investing thing. And they just kinda like laugh and they're like, well, cause we're not rich. You know, this is more for like rich people, but you see it in the headline news everywhere.
Imagine that how different it would be if children, young people and adults everywhere feel that was in the headline news, the wall street journal. I think that if they want to, they can access. I think so at the end of the day is everyone wants to feel connected. And I think that if it would enable people to have a sense of equity or financial capability that would lead to a lot of good.
And that's when I was like, whoa, this is exactly a business model that is large enough that I can see myself building for a lifetime, rather than just building things and creating things for the ultra wealthy, which had been pretty much my entire world before that, except for academia that was in business.
But anything in business that I worked at there was not a nonprofit or academia was involving the ultra rich. And that's all fine and good, but I think here's an opportunity to do things that has a global scale that I think is incredibly impactful for me.
Ling Yah: And you had this incredible vision, you brought it to Naval and the board to ask for permission to launch Republic.
How was that conversation like? Cause it sounds like they were very supportive and they even gave you a very large investment. You didn't have to raise funds for the first year and you employ employees from Angellist too.
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes, I uh, so I think in life, not just what you do, but how you do things. And at the end of the day, it's all about human relationship.
So in any job, one of the things that I. Value so much about my upbringing with hardworking parent is that you just got to do the job well, even if you don't like it, and the moment that you stopped liking it and not going to do it well, tell people that you're not liking it and that you don't want to do it anymore, but if you're going to do something, just do it well.
So anything that I touched including at Angellist, I just like give it my heart and soul. And out of that, also a sense of gratitude that here I am, one of the leading tech company and I think I hope that it shows that the relationship that I had with my colleagues, including Naval, et cetera was generally very positive.
Because you know, if you do your best and if you're nice about it, then it tends to be positive.
But I think the moment was there for me to leave Angellist, regardless because I already didn't feel that it was meaningful enough. Angellist is for millionaires to, invest on.
And so I was like, all right, I'm going to approach Naval about this. And I'm going to let him know that it's time for me to leave, but there's this business model that I think that Angellist would not be able to execute and that I would love to be able to take it on and do it. And I didn't know if he and the board would say yes or no, but they looked at it and they noted they wouldn't be able to do it. And they had enough confidence in me as, you know, almost like their card in this industry to back and to support. And yeah, something that I'm just incredibly grateful for because they didn't have to. And yet they did that.
Ling Yah: I wanted to go a little further along in your seeking investors journey, because you've shared before in your second year, you wanted to raise funds from VCs. You reached over 250 VCs and you only got two of the eight months.
Why did you think it was such a struggle to get them on board when you had people like Naval on board already?
Kendrick Nguyen: When you go past year one, people want to see traction. Traction in a startup for them to invest, meaning they would invest it. This thing that this business has the path to becoming a very, very large company.
Well, we were be building an exceedingly difficult business model in that for anyone to invest, the people don't know what investing means. And it's so new that there wasn't that market. So even we gained some validation in terms of the company that we raised for, but it was not super meaningful because the industry, which is that slow.
And the second factor may very well be that what we were doing to some would seem to be doing what VC would do. Meaning, is it competitive? Because if people can raise from the retail public, why would they raise from VC?
So there's no question. In fact, I had one VC who told me. He was like, love you and the team and what you guys have done, but we're not in the business of backing companies that would put us out of business.
I only had that once though. Uh, And I appreciate the candidness.
And the third reason is that there was at the time. And even now there's so many changes in innovation in society that there's so many things that maybe would be more obvious. Less regulated.
To give you an example, selling things, or even Uber and Airbnb are far less regulated.
What we do in selling securities investments to retail investor, safer running a nuclear plan, or the hospital. There aren't too many business models that are more regulated than Republic. Because of that, it was deemed to have too many hurdles and challenges, but I didn't mind it. I mean, was it tiresome? Yes.
But every conversation, every note that you get, it's an opportunity to understand why people did not see things in your shoes and your perspectives and learn what you can from it and just move on.
And if I may hark back a little bit to my heritage, my parents immigrated from Vietnam is that as you know, most people know, Vietnam was a country that went through a lot of wars.
You know, back generations ago, wars between Vietnam and China and Vietnam and French then the Japanese. And of course the American, the us the Vietnam war. And through all of that, I think there's an ethos. I don't know if it's through everyone, but it's certainly through my parents, which is, you don't hold grudges because you can't. How can you go through so many things and just be hold grudges all the time?
And the second one is that you just got to move forward. That's life. You know, in the weird way, traffic in Hanoi or Saigon, this chaos is one thing there's only one way to do it, right is don't look too much to the left or to the right. And certainly don't look back. Just keep biking forward. And I think that's how you got to approach life and challenges.
And the nos that you get in life is pick what you want for me. Just keep on moving forward positively, and maybe they'll come back eventually.
Ling Yah: So you kept moving forward. And the second round, when you tried to raise, you said you were more efficient. You focused on blockchain VCs. You pitched 25 and you got six on board in a month.
What was the difference?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. The difference was that the crypto and blockchain industry had and has a problem that is regulatory novelty. As it turns out Republic and my background and what we had done with startups is also a framework to fix some important issues, address some important issues within the blockchain industry in the United States, because of that Binance what the largest crypto exchange saw potential in what we did.
And came in to back us together with you know, a few of the major firms, many of which are based out of Asia, FDG, gen fund, et cetera.
Ling Yah: What were some of the issues that they saw you as mutually solving?
Kendrick Nguyen: The issue is that for a new project in blockchain, when you issue your tokens, the tokens are almost certainly considered securities under us laws and likely under many countries laws as well.
So they were selling it to anyone, everyone who wanted to buy. Well, the SCC said no, and took some really harsh step against some project. So we had the legal framework to allow people to sell private securities, to anyone and everyone. That same law applies to selling tokens that are deemed to be securities to anyone and everyone.
So there's only two options you use Republic and you can reach everyday folks. Or you can say bye-bye and not involve. All of the engineers from Stanford, from Berkeley who are not millionaires and anyone who's not a millionaires. And that means that there's no adoption for the project and for the industry.
So we hold a pretty important key on compliant, token distribution in the United States.
Ling Yah: So one of the biggest decisions that you always do is to curate the kind of companies that come on board Republic.
You often say that it's harder to get on then getting to Harvard. So the obvious question then becomes, what are your criteria for getting onto republic?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes right now, we do so many things. On Republic, you can find real estate, you can find startups, you can buy crypto projects, but overall, the curative lens is this.
I think we accept less than three, 4% of the applicant. We're an investment platform. We want to make sure that our investors have a decent chance of getting returns on their investment. So obviously not everyone is going to succeed at building a company. Not all business are going to be bought or gonna go public at a huge valuation.
So how do we do that curation is subjective, but there's some true and tried methodology. The easiest ways to interview and look at the people and assess based on their background on who they are, on how they communicate a vision, whether you think they are going to be able to be the winner in this sector, in this market.
If you are gonna build the first Vietnamese restaurant chains in Malaysia or the first Vietnamese restaurant chain in Singapore. Well, do they make the most amazing pho? Are there no pho restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore. Maybe that there aren't. Is it just specific to a city or do they have a unique recipe to somehow patented that no one has done before?
Do they actually even have a pho shop to know to the recipe is really, really good? So these kind of basic questions also apply to deep tech.
Why is the person supposed to be the best in AI when her background is a teacher. And it may be that she was teaching herself at home and therefore have this expertise.
It's not about credential. It's about actual expertise and knowledge and capability and our team where, you know, we came from the venture world. So we are experienced then, you know, compare to you know, normal people on how to assess these companies. But there's a big unknown in that we don't want our lens to be the only lens because we want to make sure that talent capabilities are also things that depends on where you sit in society.
So maybe because I went to Berkeley and because I taught at Stanford that I assume that people with that background are more talented. But if I'm a single mom saving money every day, be able to see someone and pick out his ability to deal with money in a very smart way that I don't see.
And if that person is building a company in accounting, in finance, maybe her lens is far better than my lens as a single mom who has to deal with money in a very difficult way, you know? So we want to make sure to add Republic aside from applying the traditional lens of credibility.
Uh, we also leave the door open for new models and for different views and visions to have their moment in the sun and to be validate it out.
Ling Yah: The point you raised about lens to be so interesting because on one hand you have these VCs and angel investors like Jason Calacanis. I heard your interview with him and he said some of the companies I passed on, appeared on Republic. And you said, yes, some companies we have, Sequoia would never allow. But then your acceptance rate is already so low at less than 3%.
So how does your lens really differ from that of traditional VCs and angel investors when they also focus very much on the founder and who they are?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. At a slight risk of upsetting our VC partners, the Sequoia, the Jason Calacanis of the world. A demonstrated expert in picking successful company and even their lens also evolve with time.
I probably only know the more basic aspects of how they look at deals with society is changing and it's changing very, very rapidly.
The question here is, is one person, whether it's Jason or Andreessen or myself, not to say that. I am anywhere near in that bucket, I am not. I'm just saying that is there one individual can possibly have all the lens on what is next?
What is talented? what has full potential? One person can see a lot with still a sliver of the whole picture. So Jason, just seeing one lens and his view is already very broad in terms of how innovative and how forward thinking has always been. He cares about diversity more than any VC that I know. But one human lens is enough for him to become a multi-billionaire because it's such a large intersection. But what about everyone else outside of that lens?
So we want to make sure that Republic leaves that decision, some to the general public, that is if there's a company that fails my lens, but receive the interest and backing of say a thousand. Malaysian and Malaysian Americans, because I don't know anything about Malaysia as a market. And since I don't know enough about the people to know that this is a particularly strong and powerful person and committed based on this cultural narrative.
But clearly there are enough people out there who believe in her, who am I to say that you're not a fit, I gotta make it open. So that, the founder can receive money from the people who believe in her. So we call it the wisdom of the crowd compared to the wisdom of one. And the wisdom of one is necessary in the early phase for credibility, for many things.
But what we do at Republic is very different from VC is that we aim down the road that is a much more democratic process in deciding who is valid and who is not right now. It is still the Jason and injuries and the Sequoia of the world as the number one signal, but every single passing day the power of the crowd and the wisdom of the crowd edge it's way into this sandbox to build.
Ling Yah: And was the wisdom of the crowd what led you to accept, and I found this very intriguing, a 12 year old founder of Quarters, a gaming currency, to raise on Republic?
Kendrick Nguyen: I worked for before AngelList, for the founder of SKYY vodka. It's a vodka brand in the US. And he founded SKYY when he was 77 years old and he sold it six years later for $600 million to another company.
The lesson working for him was that you can never be too old to be a founder to build new things. 77 years old. Then the reverse, gotta be true as well, which is you can never be too young to be an entrepreneur. Now of course, you're handicap by a few things. It's like, you're not 18. You can't really sign a contract.
You can't even have a bank account. So you need people around you like guardians, you know, parents or whatnot. So of course this founder of Quarters has a unique background. His father was very involved and he's an experienced entrepreneur and venture capitalist, but the idea and he, at one point it may still be the most knowledgeable person about crypto.
Who's still a teenager or preteen. But yes, I think the narrative there is that possibilities are not handicapped by time, by age, by any state in life, for as long as you have a breath in your body and you want to pursue possibilities instead of security, anyone and everyone to do that. But yes, it is indeed about, in some way, the wisdom of the crowd is a manifestation of more possibilities than just venture capital.
So what I find intriguing as well is that you don't just research and look into a potential company from a far, you, at least at the very start, you were very involved.
Ling Yah: When you first launched your first four campaigns, you spent 40 hours of your own time, just spending it with all the founders, helping them with their pitch decks, share a bit about that period and what you were learning from them.
Kendrick Nguyen: I can't believe it's five years ago already, but when we first launched a platform it's brand new. Founders didn't know about it. It was no investors. So you got to convince people to like, get right now, have someone go and launch a campaign on Republic. We have over a million community members, out of that hundreds of thousands of active investors.
So if your company's compelling, you're going to be able to see a lot of people are going to see the page and they may make the decision to invest on day one. I don't know. We had maybe 10 investors on the platform, so the company got to go out there and pitch and talk to their friends and help raise and close it.
And so the 4 companies that we launched with in 2016, they believed in what we did. Ended up becoming close friends because their success was our success. Their failure would mean our failure as well. And so we were like partners in crime, even more closely than the companies that launched in recent months or years.
And just pounding the pavement and sharing the experience and the privilege of building something new together.
Ling Yah: How were you building that deal flow if you will, for yourself? Because as you mentioned, your first year was four companies raised just over half a million. 20, 20, it's 128 companies, 42 million this year, already 67 companies, 28 million raised.
So that is a huge chunk. So how will you getting all these companies on?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yeah. You know, this year by now, you actually have done. I think we're more than a hundred million and we aim to do more than 600 million by the end of 2021 projected. We'll see. Okay. The pace of the industry grows like a snowball. We call it this snowballing effect as it falls and rose down, it rose faster, bigger, and fast and bigger.
So at the beginning to push it off the ledge, all hands on deck. I mean, 18 hours a day, sometimes 22 hours a day. And there's no such thing as vacation, but you don't need one because it's so exciting at heart. And so it's kinda like all in effort all the time, but it's about finding like-minded partners who can amplify you.
And I think that in life, whether it's inhuman relationship, family, or certainly building a company, it's about finding partners and advisors and teammates that amplifying and not frictional. What I meant by that is that when I didn't have that network and not just Angellist, but Techstars and other people who believed in what we did shared a message and slowly people came, I didn't know how to do community building.
So one of my good friends, the founder of the Malala fund, her work at Malala got the Nobel peace prize, age of 16, I think. Lended us her expertise on community, building on mission statement, all of these things, large and small come together to push that snowball off the ledge at the very beginning. But the only reason why we were able to do that was that we had a very authentic and a genuine mission that is larger than I want to build a company to make money and be special.
There was never the goal that is not to go. And I don't think that should be anyone's goal to do anything. We all are special in our own way. And no, you don't need nearly as much money. It's easier for me to say sitting in the United States, I understand then many people in Malaysia, Vietnam , but particularly those who are listening and who have a laptop and a smartphone.
Just know that you already have such a strong foundation that you should pursue. What makes you happy rather than just money. And I think our mission of making a difference of changing the status quo, so that more founders and more investors can have access really resonate with a lot of people and resonated early on in that we had the support that we, couldn't have done without.
Ling Yah: It sounds very much as though at this point in time, correct me if I'm wrong, VCs no longer see you as competition. How would you explain to someone coming to you and asking a question why would we raise funds with you and not VCs?
Kendrick Nguyen: The optics about it being competitive. It's just not true.
One, because exactly like you asked the value added from our model of investing is so different. When Jason invests or when Sequoia invest, they bring an insane expertise, then they all can open doors in terms of introduction, partnerships that, you know, unparalleled.
When people, community invest, they bring the brand loyalty, the engagement. I'm drinking, some tea brand this morning is called Yogi. Why OGI? I'm not an investor in Yogi. And so I buy Yogi, but I'm sure the next cup may very well be from Starbucks. Had Yogi presented itself. So that I'm a $500, a hundred dollar investor in Yogi, Ling, I may probably sending it to you as a Christmas present.
When my mom comes over, I'm going to serve a Yogi tea and say, Hey, I'm an investor in this tea brand. Just psychologically, you want to be connected. And once you connected, you're going to talk about it and you're going to share in that success. So the value add for us is branding and marketing and the value add for traditional VC is more on the professional expertise of one or two individuals who can open lots of doors at once.
We are even additive to VC in that we are hoping, through wisdom of the crowd, identify talent, identify companies that otherwise would not get any financing, finance them and feed them back to VC when they launch enough. So I think Republic and our business model is very additive of feeding into the whole ecosystem and not in any way competitive with any one component of the startup financing ecosystem.
Ling Yah: So you mentioned the Republic business model. Could you share a bit about what that is?
Kendrick Nguyen: Well, our business model at the end of the day, we're an investment platform that aim to be the one-stop shop for anyone around the world to come to whether it was 20 us dollars or 2 million us dollars. That they can see things they're passionate about, that they believe in and invest whether it's residential real estate, whether it's a new technology like blockchain, whether it's a gaming company and get some revenue share or a company that's very early stage in Silicon valley or space X and Robin hood.
At one point we had space X on the platform and was the only place that you don't have to have $400 million to invest to participate. And it was sometime last year but it meant to be the place where people combine their interest with making profit down the road. And we take a revenue a fee from the company on the amount raised, and we have a little bit of an upside potential in everything that we touch.
Ling Yah: So that's like 6% cash and 2% of securities.
Kendrick Nguyen: Exactly.
It depends on the type of companies and the industry, it can range from like 2% to 6%. And we have a little bit of an upsight interest that also varies depending on the type of deals.
Ling Yah: And I believe you're the only one of the top three funding partners that doesn't charge investors anything. Is that likely to change?
Kendrick Nguyen: Probably not anytime soon, because we believe that it's still early enough that we want to make sure that investors get the most out of the capital that they deploy. But like I said, the industry change is so new. And so changes are all but expected. for now we still believe very much that leaving the most in investors hand in terms of capital deploy is the way to go.
And I doubt that this going to change in the coming months.
Ling Yah: So we probably also wouldn't see a shift to like a lead investor structure, the way WeFunder has done as well.
Kendrick Nguyen: You may see some notion of lead investor that we already have where Randy Zuckerberg, former Facebook marketing head and Chamillionaire with Kevin Harrington, one of the leading shark or the original shark investing.
So yes, there are going to be new iteration in models being rolled out, but everything that you see right now, change all but expected.
Ling Yah: So I would love to talk about your actual campaigns. What, from your experience, have you noticed are the hallmarks of successful campaigns
Kendrick Nguyen: I think it still goes back to companies either that they already have a very strong community. Those are the most successful one. If you are already a brand with a million or 500,000 users, and you just want to give you users the ability to become shareholders and increasingly you're going to see that being a thing.
If that's the case, then the campaign will close very quickly. Now, on the other side, if you are a new company, then having a narrative or a storyline that is special that can speak to people at home who spent a couple minutes watching a video or listening to you or reading the deal page, that ability to convey passion and, potential is key.
But the third metric, particularly for the cohort of newer companies, the ability and the willingness in the team to go out there and activate and talk to people, people would think that they just launch a campaign and money comes in. Oh, that's not how it works, right?
If you're building a business and you don't have the confidence to talk to your sister, your cousin, your ex boyfriend, or girlfriend, your neighbors about how special this is, why do you expect that someone on the other side of the world, would just be like, oh, she's amazing. Let's invest. No. You gotta show that those who are closest to you believe in you first.
So it does take some time.
And I think people with the appreciation for the commitment, dedication, and go out there to fundraise also tend to be the most successful.
Ling Yah: I first heard about Republic because of Sahil. And I was on Clubhouse and I saw he ran this AMA room saying oh, I'm raising 5 million.
And I was amazed because I was in that room and it seemed like every person that came up said, I love you so much. I'm a first time investor. Can I increase the cap? And I just thought, well, wow, you really have people who love you so much. And he raised it in 12 hours. And later on in my research, I realized that he was the first person, who was trying out this new sec change, where they raised the capital 1.06 million to five.
And he said, he actually wasn't sure how much demand there will be. So I wonder, you know, the behind the scenes, what was he doing? What were you doing to test the waters and see, can we raise that amount?
Kendrick Nguyen: That's exactly it, Ling, is that Sahil was out there. Talking about working as community.
And he himself is a celebrity in his own, right. But on club house, on social media, on Twitter activating the community. And it was true, man, this demand, the Gumroad campaign on Republic, the vast, vast, vast majority of investors came in through Sahil's network. We did not have to do a whole lot of Republic in terms of getting the word out because the founder.
Had a huge community and putting so much work. That's why he closed $5 million in a single day in 12 hours. I mean, that's faster than a flight from New York to San Francisco, then rent a car and drive to sand hill road and pitch Sequoia. You got to repeat that 20 times to get a check from Sequoia.
Here's 12 hours, $5 million in the door, is how powerful it can be. Not everyone can do it, but everyone can do it to some degree. And yeah, it's all about community building. And I think that notion of fairness currently is resonating. So any company that has a community, how can you not consider.
Turning them into your fans and ambassadors.
Ling Yah: based on your experience, are there specific concrete steps you've observed that, founders have done, you have done, that helped to activate that community?
Kendrick Nguyen: I think repetition. One email is never enough because people are busy and so in a very clear, succinct way of communicating to them, why you doing this?
How you doing this? And when, and there's a whole playbook on you send out what emails now in advance. through a week later, sending out a confirmation email, but then a week later send another email be even before the campaign has launched. And then after the campaign, like reaching out and customer service, or just being thoughtful about the process.
But at the end of the day, it is fundraising from tens of thousands of people. So the methodology think of it as like a whole marketing go to market execution campaign. It's not just turning on the switch and sitting back and wait. And depending on how large and how small a community that one has, the leg work that it would take to activate them may vary a great deal.
And we have, you know, projects that raise millions of dollars, but only from a few hundred people rather than 5,000 or 10,000 because they're network or tri net worth. And that they're willing to accept, you know, $20,000, $50,000 investments are coming in. So it really depends on case by case, but the willingness and the repetition of doing so.
I think it just the two common traits.
Ling Yah: I heard Sahil in this clubhouse session with you and a US Congressman and Jason. And he was saying that not everyone can activate the way I do. I don't think that Vlad of Robinhood could do it the way I did.
I then also heard the CEO of Republic. Chuck Pettit said that, you know, most of our competitors specifically, say we don't market the campaign, but we do it for you and with you. So I wonder for founders who can't do it the way that Sahil can, what kind of support can you lend them to help activate that community?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yeah. So we, we help some in that we have a whole playbook.
Sahil didn't need our help.
He taught us many things but we have our own playbook. One of our advisors, the woman has raised the most in crowdfunding of any platform, she was raising an Indiegogo and Kickstarter, I think she's done over $10 million in a single solo female founder, Katherine crook of better back. And so she gave us a whole playbook.
And even if you follow everything there, you can sell a tea brand even a phone case for at least a couple hundred thousand dollars. It may not be a millions, but there is a methodology on how to do this. And we definitely are very, very hands-on to those founders who are willing to do that.
It's not the lack of knowledge. It's the lack of time and the readiness to follow our know-how. We also have a tremendously strong internal performance. Once marketing team and design. And obviously we have our own, newsletter podcasts. We do a lot to expose a campaign to our own growing community.
The question always comes back to mostly not all the time do the founders and the team have the bandwidth to execute on what we ask them to do.
Ling Yah: If they don't have the bandwidth, would you say that is one of the main hallmarks of a failed campaign?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. There's no question about. Any failed campaign that has launched on Republic that I can think of, and that's less than 5%, some are due to reasons completely unrelated to it because their business model has changed. Factors that require them to end the campaign. But due to a misaligned expectation on time and commitment.
Send out an email and they're like, how come that email you know, I send out that one email that you asked them to do tranches like, no, I mean, I, for, even for the closest friend who fundraise on various campaign, I usually miss the first two or three emails because I'm busy and usually in midnight in bed and seeing the fifth email was like, oh God, I forgot to make that investment.
So here it is, you know what I mean? It's not so that, resilience and that commitment is just needed.
Ling Yah: Has COVID being one of the reasons for failed campaigns?
Kendrick Nguyen: No. Not directly. I think COVID affect all of us differently, psychologically stress level in bandwidth, but in terms of demand we had grown steadily if not exponentially through the pandemic because people still want to deploy $50, a hundred dollars into things that they are hopeful that will be strong and profitable down the road, even if all things seems to be chaotic right now.
For example, we all gotta believe in like green energy at one point. Right? And so if you see an idea that is so amazing and yes, it's not going to be successful for another three, four years. Even if you stopped before you had just gone down.
And the price of gold is like way, way down. If you can invest $20 in this idea, it gives you that hope and the possibility of making a profit down the road. So because of that, pandemic in terms of growth at Republic has not been affected.
Ling Yah: And for those who are completely sold by the idea of raising from their biggest fans, that community I've noticed that there are other competitors as well, like WeFunders, Start Engine. So what sets Republic apart from your competitors?
Kendrick Nguyen: The industry is still very new. Very, very new. So it's actually a very friendly space. Uh, we all have our different lens and certainly different deals. Meaning the deals you see on Republic. You won't see at that time on other platforms and vice versa. At the end of the day, people got to pick for themselves, which place the most connected with in terms of the deals presented and the overall ethos and mission in design and touch and feel.
We're definitely not for everyone. We definitely have received very large companies that want to raise on Republic, but they operate in adult entertainment or in firearm manufacturing or some other criteria and we look at it, and we're like, to make some money on this, but it's not for us.
It's not what we, our team and our community tend to believe in.
So I'm just using this an example to do a major differentiators, but more importantly, Republic is the only place where you come and you find a lot more than just binary, startup, investing, gain financing, real estate crypto. I think we're the only platform, the touches it. So in terms of providing the diversity of choices I believe we're also unique in that sense in the U S and outside, but again, it's very early on.
So um, any of the other platforms, success is a success for the industry and it translate into republics success as well.
Ling Yah: I wanted to talk about Republic notes and I believe the idea came during a congressional visit for you to Washington DC.
Kendrick Nguyen: Correct. And as I alluded back in the earlier conversation, we have a very unusual legal framework that can allow digital, which are token and traditional securities to be sold to non accredited investors.
And so when I was sitting there, and the question in my mind was wait, it's really hard to have someone investing on Republic and providing some metrics of success that he or she can see day to day, month to month because illiquid investments like startups take many years for you to see your return or your failure.
And the notion of the note token of our own digital token is that we can attach a portion about revenue and our profit to the tokens and make and send them out periodically so that if someone invests again, or if she asks her friends to join Republic is going to grow and the value of the token that she holds is going to go up.
So the intention is to enable people to match their Republic success in a way with their own success. Aside from the specific investments did they make on our platform.
Ling Yah: And how far are you in building up this tokenization framework for other companies interested in doing the same?
Kendrick Nguyen: We're 99% done. And we currently already working with some projects to help them tokenize their own equity or their own revenue or the different assets.
Ling Yah: So another thing that I was very interested in you doing is Meet the Drapers and you have this very interesting partnership with them. So I will start with this first question. How do you meet the Drapers?
Kendrick Nguyen: That's a great question. I met the Drapers through Meet the Drapers in that I knew of Tim and his illustrious family.
And they wanted to do a TV show like shark tank. But at home people will get to invest along the way and Sony and Tim vetted and chose us out of OD. And we now stood the only crowded best reality TV show in the world of that style. Um. So it's been a, such a fun and incredible experience.
I think over time this is going to be potentially the model of it, the notion of investing in entrepreneurs can be as big as like the voice, the X factors and, you know, America's Top Idol or whatever it may be around the world. We can get there as entrepreneurship continues to become Not just a point of innovation and economic prosperity, but a thing of mainstream media and entertainment and 6 million people dial in every month to watch shark tank every week. Sitting back on their sofa and many more online.
I imagined that that trend, when it becomes 6 billion people doing that, the world's going to be a really, really fun and prosperous place.
Ling Yah: So I watched that session where you were the guest judge, and I loved it because it was like, they're really friendly kind version of shark tank.
For those who don't know meet the Drapers, what is it and how does your partnership with them work?
Kendrick Nguyen: Meet the Drapers is a show currently on Sony cable whereb y every single week three or four entrepreneurs come and pitch three generations of the Drapers and a guest. So Tim Draper, his father, and typically his daughter or his son are at home and a guest similar to shark tank, providing feedback on whether this is a company, the judges would invest or not invest.
But at home, viewers can go to Republic and make an investment as little as 10 or $20 alongside or against the judges.
And usually to the end of the season, the winner there's program that, can incentivize or reward people who pick or invest in the companies that Tim or to invest in. Now Tim and any venture capital's gonna be the first to admit they're not always right and often wrong about -picking the next company or not picking the company that ends up being successful.
So it's really truly a, both an educational show and entertainment show and in some way highlighting aspects of entrepreneurship that I think shark tank alone has done a great deal in evangelizing forward. But the elements of Meet the Drapers in terms of community viewership engagement is unprecedented.
And I think it's just a glimmer of the future of this space.
Ling Yah: How has engagement been like from the community?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yeah. I mean, it's air in some like 60 countries predominantly south Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and others. But people absolutely love it. People are still new to investing.
So you don't see as high, a percentage of viewers actually making an investment, but the viewership is, amazing, particularly for the first of its kind.
Ling Yah: So this is a thing you alluded earlier. It's building awareness because it's such a new field and people, I'm not sure why it's all about. And I was very intrigued by how you are very active in being involved in, say, meet the Drapers.
You said, you have your own podcast, profit back to the people.
I wonder, you know, what your thought process is behind building awareness behind this entire new trend, because that's a very, very difficult thing. It's a very long-term journey.
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. Building awareness is not something we just do for Republic. It's our conviction that within this decade, just like people everywhere knows that they should be voting.
They should be recycling. Not everyone does it, but everyone knows they should. I think that by the end of this decade, everyone knows that they should be investing in the world around them. The technology is the people that they believe in, not everyone will, but everyone know that they should and are able to.
Right now almost no one knows it. The only way to get there is through media, social media and traditional media, which is why from Randi Zuckerberg to meet the Drapers, to chameleon, heirs, to. Many of the celebrities that we have in within our ecosystem, we aim to drive awareness and mainstream adoption through that channel.
The most effective way to get people's attention is the media.
Uh, so Republic has always had a major emphasis on media and will be more so, more intentionally in the, months and years to come.
Ling Yah: I believe you said before, you wouldn't say no. If the Kardashians went to help promote republic.
Kendrick Nguyen: Yeah, no for sure. I wonder if one of the Kardashians there's no ask that I would not, say no to including tattoo her name on my arm.
Just because the reach is so powerful. Anyone who has a following, anyone who has a community, that's all celebrities. They have a moment. They have a way to make such impact. To drive the conversation socially away from looking good in Instagram and moral fashion brand. All of that is fine and good, but there's always a channel to drive that attention.
The following toward things that perhaps in the long run would provide more fulfillment to their own fans, then appearances and all of that. So we hope to get to collaborate with, many more and more and more influencers as we were.
Ling Yah: So you recently raised 64 million for series a and I wonder what's the focus for public in the coming months?
What can we expect from you?
Kendrick Nguyen: We raised over a 64 65 since inception. We close in a $36 million on the Series A but on the roadmap are things like international expansion, certainly more renew media effort. And just building out a more robust platform. That's easier for users and for investors. So right now international community members, we have people from over a hundred countries, but not intentional.
So we aim to build partnerships with platforms or partners overseas. in a way, bring our business model beyond the United States. That's certainly a plan for the next 12 months.
Ling Yah: So right now only US-based companies can get on Republic. You're saying that maybe in the future Malaysian incorporated companies can get on board too.
Kendrick Nguyen: Absolutely. That's the hope. And in fact, now a Malaysian company that has a us subsidiary or us parent company can raise on Republic, but they have to go through a few hoops, but it should be easier.
Our goal is that down the road, a middle-class mom in column four can invest in a tech company in Silicon valley as easily as someone in New York investing a hundred dollars into a food truck or a startup in Malaysia.
the world, the financial world is going to be much more interconnected globally. That's our hope our conviction and we think that a lot of good is going to come out of that. A lot of. Prosperity, but on a more fair fashion.
Ling Yah: And how would you define success?
Kendrick Nguyen: Happiness being able to be more and more and more happy every day within a day is the definition of success. It's not about credit. Essential is not about each job is not even about certainly not about how much money you have in your bank account. It's not even about how many people you serve, but you impact none of it matters if you're unhappy, do it.
The number one thing that anyone that drives everyone to do, what they do is to be happier. Many people forget that that's the core reasons. So how happy one person is in his or her own mind, and certainly that's how I define for myself in a particular day or particular period of time defies the person's success within that timeframe.
Ling Yah: I believe you've also said that you asked the question, how do you have the most profound experience and I wonder, what has been your most profound experience?
Kendrick Nguyen: Profound experience, I think is another way of defining happiness or pleasantness.
You know when you're like, so in love you feel like that profoundness, if you're very close with your parents and just eating a meal with them, you feel that profoundness, if you are a mom, having almost nothing and working on a rice field in Northern Vietnam or in the countryside of Malaysia, but you newborn kid there and you take a moment and you go and you hook him or her, that is profoundness.
So it comes in all these different shapes and forms only subjectively what is profile for you if drawing, painting, give you that sense of peace, but you have to go to the dentist office because you're a dentist because your dad made you a dentist You're not doing what you find to be most profile.
so the definition of profoundness of profoundly is tied into a subjective sense of is this worthwhile. And we usually the happiest when we feel as most worthwhile, right? When you hang out with your friends, but you're like, oh no, this is an obligation. I really, which is much prefer to be home solving some family issue.
Let's say your sister and your mom are having a quarrel. You really want to fix that. You sitting with three of your best friends, usually you enjoy it so much, you know, you have something to do. And so you can kind of like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Great girl. Just laughing. Would you not really with it? Being solving conflict is actually more profound than enjoying time with your besties.
It varies only we each gotta ask ourselves that question every day and it ties into happiness.
Ling Yah: Well, thank you, Ken so much for the time that you've spent on this podcast. I normally end all of my interviews with these questions. So for the first one, it's this. Have you found your why?
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes.
Ling Yah: A and what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
Kendrick Nguyen: I'm not looking to leave behind a legacy I'm looking to make sure that more of my life, more of my day, hopefully you get to 99% is just ecstatic, profound, and impactful. So it's all about the present. It's not about chasing some future legacy.
Ling Yah: And what do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?
Kendrick Nguyen: My definition of success or the common societal definition of success? Let me answer them both.
Societal definition of success, because I know why you're asking this question. What does it take to become a successful founder to be a Como successful professional?
The number one trait is being happy. You are your best when you are happiest. And the second important trait is perseverance because if you happy, but if you keep trying at it and maintain a happy state of mind, then you're going to eventually get there.
My answer, because I define success on being happy in and by itself is all encapsulated.
Whatever you doing that makes you happy, that's success. You don't have to do anything else. But for most, I think the state of mind, life being happy is a key ingredient to getting you to what society defines as achievement, because you're just your best self generally.
Ling Yah: And where can people go to follow what you're doing?
Get involved in what Republic is doing as well.
Kendrick Nguyen: Yes. We are at republic.co, not com, dot co. Republic.co, and I'm on LinkedIn and Twitter and occasionally on Wechat and telegram as well. So if you send me a message on LinkedIn or Twitter , I'll get back. If I am having a particularly hectic day, it may take a day or two for me to respond, but I do get back to pretty much everyone who reached out.
Ling Yah: Is there anything else you'd like to share that we haven't covered yet?
Kendrick Nguyen: You know what, the only thing I would like to share is that society technology humanity.
Things are changing very fast. The only way to be your fullest is to get involved, but get involved smartly, you have not participated in, in private investing in crypto, and you have a dollar that you can lose. Use it as like educational fee, make an investment or buy a cryptocurrency that you can afford, or that, you know, you're gonna lose all of the money just to learn.
And I think for founders, for anyone who was an aspiring entrepreneurs, is the opposite. Read a lot about different ways of financing or whatnot before going out there just don't blindly approach VCs and waste a lot of time. So learn, read a lot before getting in and for investors and everyone else, stop reading. Just start doing it.
But doing it smartly.
Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 52.
The show notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/52. Alongside a link to subscribe to the weekly newsletter for this podcast.
And stay tuned for next Sunday, because we will be meeting a business magnet in the hotel industry who is the heir to Nepal's first and only Forbes billionaire, and the fourth generation multinational family business that owns 136 companies in 15 different business verticals, across five continents, including hotels, financial services, education, energy, real estate, biotech, alternative medicine, and consumer electronics.
To know more about what it's like to grow up inheriting a family business and navigating through the global pandemic in the hospitality industry, which comes Sri Lanka, Dubai and Africa as some of its main investment countries, then stay tuned and see you next Sunday.