Off the heels of a $150 million Series B fundraise, New York-based investing platform Republic has acquired Arora Project, an equity crowdfunding media agency that helps startups create and launch campaigns. Krishan Arora, CEO and founder at Arora Project, declined to tip TechCrunch the total transaction amount but said that it was a “large, multimillion dollar deal.”
Republic, which is now five years old, is perhaps best known for facilitating crowdfunding campaigns for startups and small businesses under Reg CF, a rule that allows non-accredited investors to participate in private funding rounds. The startup’s reputation grew when the SEC recently raised the cap for how much money can be raised through a Reg CF, from $1.07 million to $5 million per year, ushering in a new wave of startups that can raise meaningful money from their communities.
Arora Project is built off of the same tailwinds. The Miami-based startup is a digital media agency, paired with an angel syndicate, that helps companies build campaigns to eventually post on crowdfunding platforms like WeFunder, StartEngine or Republic. It has helped founders raise more than $100 million in capital since being founded in 2016.
“We're sort of the management consultants of the space,” said Arora. “Founders come to us, we put them on the right platform, create all the content, run the acquisition of the data analytics and get them the money they need so they can focus on running the business instead of the fundraise.” The acquisition now means that Arora will be in an exclusive partnership with Republic
Arora Project will first bring marketing chops to the retail, equity crowdfunding investment side of Republic’s business. Down the road, Arora will integrate into Republic’s other sub companies, which include a private capital division, blockchain incubator and fund, and eventually, a compliance-focused marketplace for digital securities.
Last week, Indiegogo announced that it will begin to more closely screen crowdfunding campaigns on its platform. While Republic focuses more on equity crowdfunding campaigns versus Indiegogo’s specialty of rewards-based and donation-based crowdfunding, the news triggered questions on the future of moderation within the broader crowdfunding world. Arora Project boasts that it has a “rigorous vetting process” and accepts less than 10% of applications that it receives every month. Republic Chief of Staff Kyle McCormick said that the marketplace is "an entirely different beast" than Indiegogo.
“Even though we may share users with platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, we’re going after a different part of that user’s wallet — their investable assets on which they hope to make a return. Not checking for fraud (at a bare minimum) would be deeply negligent,” McCormick then said. He admitted that there are still challenges with this model: “How do we deliver quality in a scalable way? How do we support venture-backed companies without mirroring gender and race biases in venture capital? All things we think about everyday.”
Founder Arora says that quality assurance is certainly one of his goals, in addition to driving overall deal volume and total investment volume on the platform.
Republic has always been a more curated platform due to its focus, but Arora Project and future acquisitions could help it find better ways to answer some of these questions — either by introducing a new cohort of investors to its platform, or by helping more startups launch campaigns that balance transparency with ambition.