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Podcast: Ken Nguyen, founder of Republic

In this podcast, Ken Nguyen (@KendrickEsq) and Mayra Ceja (@MayraCeja007), Host of Venture Unplugged discuss:
  • Democratizing investing
  • How growing up as an immigrant in the Bay Area influenced his interest in tech
  • The future of blockchain and crypto
  • The hardest thing about launching a business
  • The biggest misconceptions in Silicon Valley about founder unhappiness 

Ken Nguyen is the founder of Republic (@joinrepublic). Republic is a crowdfunding investment platform for retail investors. Everyone — regardless of his or her net worth or income — can invest as little as $20 or even $10 into startups curated by Republic. For the first time ever, startup investing is no longer reserved for a handful of wealthy individuals.


Growing up the child of Vietnamese immigrants

Ken Nguyen was born in Vietnam. His whole family moved here to the Bay area in the 80s and early nineties. As most Asian immigrants in the US, Ken’s parents had an expectation that you had to do either science or math. They want to be able to see what their kids’ lives would be like in 20 or 30 years. Ken ended up pursuing science as an undergrad and a law degree for a professional degree. 

On democratizing investing 

Going back to growing up as an immigrant in the Bay Area, Ken was surrounded by stories of companies going private, companies going public and all the enthusiasm and excitement around it, but not actually ever having the opportunity to participate nor anyone of his siblings, nor his parents. He was in the ecosystem but not part of it. Some of it subconsciously stayed with him as he became a lawyer. Democratizing investing was one business model, one mission that solved Ken’s problem and his insecurity from the early days. So he joined Angellist. That allowed for anyone with any net worth to invest if they can afford $5 or 500 or 5,000 in businesses that they believe in. Ken thinks that the true potential of entrepreneurship, a shared economy. 

The hardest thing about launching a business

About three years in looking back, it was even harder than Ken had expected and he knew it was going to be hard. The highest thing is that it literally takes 100% of your energy, headspace, and commitment. It didn’t leave a whole lot left for even maintaining existing friendships and relationships in family, much less building new ones like dating. 

What advice would he give to his 25-year-old self

Don’t worry about it so much and that one day he would, in fact, it would be in tech as an investor, and entrepreneur. He says, “I actually secretly always wanted it to do that.” However, he had a long journey between being a lawyer and going back to teach law, going to finance before making the leap into tech

On grinding and founder unhappiness

Ken thinks that doing that sooner in his twenties, he would’ve been even happier and certainly even more of a more effective asset. He thinks we as a society, as a culture value too much on just grinding and getting things done as much as possible and, it’s not correlative to efficiency and happiness.

What is the best piece of advice that you would give the founders? 

Don’t believe in the narrative that as a founder you have to suffer and that it has to be a miserable, stressful experience. That’s one of the big misconceptions in Silicon Valley, that founder unhappiness is an assumed fact of life. It is not.

Our Sponsors:

This episode is sponsored by Qtum, the first proof-of-stake smart contracts blockchain. If you’re tired of paying high fees on other smart contracts platforms, head on over to Qtum and start building today your own low fee, solidity smart contract today!

This podcast is presented by BlockWorks Group. For exclusive content and events that provide insights into the crypto and blockchain space visit the website.

This podcast is presented by Republic is an investment platform for private companies to raise capital and everyone to invest.

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