As many of you know from reading KingsCrowd, Republic is one of the leading online private marketplaces providing access to startup investments. The team has accomplished an incredible amount over the first few years and is always pushing the boundaries to provide more tools and resources to the investing ecosystem.
Their latest endeavor, headed up by Mayra Ceja is a podcast that will give listeners the opportunity to hear from some of the biggest names in Venture Capital and the startup world. And who better to learn from when it comes to early stage investing then some of the biggest players in the game.
That’s why we sat down with Mayra Ceja to learn more about the Venture Unplugged podcast and how you can get ahead by listening in and learning more about venture investing!
Mayra, you have seemingly been amazing at everything you do. From Princeton, to Wharton, to major investment firms. Tell us more about your journey to becoming a partner at Republic Crypto.
Mayra: After graduating college, my first job was working for Guggenheim Partners, a $3bn hedge fund. There I learned that investing goes beyond the numbers on the excel spreadsheet. It is an art that relies on the ability to invest in people.
After business school, I launched Princeton University’s first seed fund for their endowment, where I took the firm from zero to 21 investments in 18 months. That experience taught me that early stage investing is much more dynamic as you have to understand not only the team but the market, and the tech.
About 2 years ago, I kept hearing about crypto and blockchain and I decided what better way to learn than to start investing in it. At the time, many venture capitalists were fearful about blockchain and ICO innovation. I choose to embrace it and quickly became an expert in field publicly speaking about blockchain at the top conferences like Consensys, CIS, Blockchain at Berkeley, and San Francisco Blockchain Week.
As a Venture Partner at Republic Crypto what does your day-to-day look like and why you are so passionate about startup investing and the growing world of crypto?
Mayra: I love evaluating deals and making them happen. My criteria for investment includes 5Tst: Target Market, Team, Technology, Traction, and Terms. There is a lot of debate among venture capitalist as whether team or target market should come first. I put “Target market” first before “Team” because even the greatest team cannot succeed if the target market is too small or narrow. My passion for startup investing and growing the world of crypto comes from a simple belief that everyone should have access to the best investments. Crypto is quickly becoming a way for people to participate in this new market.
For potential listeners, tell us about the Venture Unplugged podcast and why did you decide to start it?
Mayra: I’m a huge fan of podcasts. It’s one of the fastest growing forms of media. For me it has been a great way to educate myself on topics that I have been interested in and wanting to research. As I was exploring podcasts in the VC space, I felt that there was a void in the market that I could address by bringing in my own unique point of view and expertise as a venture capitalist.
How do you think the Venture Unplugged podcast helps fulfill the mission of Republic Crypto and Republic more generally?
Mayra: Both Republic and Republic Crypto are about wider access to information and investments.
For the last year, people have been telling me I should do a podcast. These have been people who have attended my fireside chats and talks at limited access conferences and events. With The podcast, I hope to gain insight to the greatest minds and mavericks out there and in turn, achieve Republic’s mission of sharing that insight to the general audience
Moreover, I think we can all agree that females and minorities are underrepresented in the venture and tech ecosystem. As a female latina in the tech and venture sector how do you hope a show like this can help demystify the tech scene and encourage more diversity?
Mayra: Did you know that 9 out of the top 10 podcasters are male yet, listeners are 45% female?
My mother always said to me from a young age, “If you don’t like it, change it”. For me, I drive change by serving as an example and taking action. I hope that by seeing and hearing a different voice that represents c-suite executive, females and minorities, it will encourage people to share their unique voices and their knowledge to help change the status quo.
What can listeners expect when they listen in to the Venture Unplugged podcast?
Mayra: In this season, listeners can expect to hear my conversations with some of the greatest mavericks, investors, and founders in the industry like Tim Draper, Justin Kan, Leah Busque, Joe Lubin, and Mike Novogratz. We discuss a range of topics from investments, to entrepreneurship, bitcoin, meditation, venture capital, and spirituality.
My vision is for listeners to follow along on my journey and learn, connect and leave feeling inspired to start their own journeys.
Tell us about some of your favorite guest in season 1 of Venture Unplugged?
Mayra: I love them all for different reasons, but if I had to pick one I would say Tim Draper which instead of my usual 30 minute episodes ended up being a full 2-part episode. Not only was he was the first guest on my show, but he was an early believer in me. During our conversation, we discussed a range of topics from bitcoin, to Theranos, California, and even spirituality. Tim is such a supporter of entrepreneurs and his energy is very contagious. He’s a person personally admire.
What do you hope we can all learn from these founders and investors?
Mayra: Founders and investors are like superheroes but like Superman is also known as Clark Kent, all superheroes have their own human qualities.
Billionaires and millionaires are just like us; they have goals, dreams, fears and insecurities and the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. But the delta of how they view the world and how they tackle their work is what makes all the difference. On Venture Unplugged, we dive in deep not only to their work, like launching unicorn businesses, but also into their lives in order to inspire tomorrow’s generation of superheroes.
For potential listeners where can they find and follow the podcast?
Learn, Subscribe, and share!
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About: Chris Lustrino
A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.