Some people are just born to live in the entrepreneurship space. Former 3 Day Startup participant Ryan Rafols is doing one better and making a difference in the space itself.
We sat down and spoke with him about his path as an entrepreneur and his new company, Newchip, and what it meant for the future of the investment landscape.
How did you first know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
“I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship. When I was a kid, I would go around selling crystals. I would grow them with one of those NASA space kits and we would go door to door down the street and sell them. And people bought them!
I started my first actual company when I was 17, we were one of the the first online textbook re-sellers for college textbooks. My second company was actually Campus Watch, which is still around and currently working out of Capital Factory. It’s essentially Uber for police on college campuses. I recently exited that company while building Newchip.
Campus Watch was essentially a side project of mine to give back to the UT community while I was waiting to launch Newchip. Because this market just opened up in May and it’s a growing market. We’ll be launching our app this month with a few other cool announcements during We’ll be launching our app soon and we are going to have a full expo later this year. Until then, we are in beta.”
What is Newchip and what does it provide your audience?
“We are focusing on millennial investors –– between 18 and 35. Those who have the ability to invest and those that are high earners but don’t have the liquid capital immediately with our crowd-financing; so essentially we let them invest up to $1,000 in either one deal or up to 10 deals and then we allow them to pay it over time like a subscription. So it’s like a layaway plan, but for investing. Our users have access to a variety of startups so that they can invest in an startup they are interested in focusing on something they are passionate about. We currently support over 200 verified deals (startup raising funding via seed rounds etc.) from across 25 different platforms and we hope to scale up from there.
On top of that we have a 10% cause. We are going to re-invest 10% of our profits into entrepreneurs in developing nations. We also hope to help spotlight their stories and draw attention to the work they are doing by displaying them on our website and sending them out to our users. That’s a big vision of mine. And people are increasingly interested in social impact. That’s important to us and important to our audience, so we wanted to make sure that vision was supported in our company..”
What inspired you to develop Newchip?
“I’ve been doing crowdfunding for years, but I’ve always wanted to invest in companies. Before 2016, if you weren’t an accredited investor you couldn’t invest in startups. So there were no repercussions if the companies you put your money in didn’t deliver, or didn’t necessarily have an incentive to. So what was exciting to me about the kind of crowdfunding that Newchip supports is that it not only allows people to be able to invest in companies that would deliver, but to be a part of them creating their deliverables.”
How has interest been so far?
“A lot of entrepreneurs who we’ve spoken to are really excited about a service like this and the opportunity to build their own portfolios and support other entrepreneurs. And we expect interest to keep growing. Newchip is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to invest with the sharks and really be a part of an idea or a startup that they are excited by.”
You heard it here first. Learn more about Newchip by visiting their website: newchip.co.