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Riverside Native Leading Crowdsourcing Investment Platform Committed to Growing Riverside Entrepreneurship and Inclusion

MSN Money ranked Riverside as the 19th best city for small business owners in 2018, beating well-established cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and even San Jose. Fast forward to 2021 and Riverside continues to grow and develop as a city that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth. Riverside’s success can be credited to multiple factors including the commitment of investors that believe in the region and are helping Riverside’s entrepreneurship scene thrive. Shrina Kurani is one of them.

Shrina Kurani

A native of Riverside, a successful businesswoman and investor, Shrina believes in the power of innovation to solve the world's most pressing problems. She is actively supporting innovation by investing in the growth of the entrepreneurial community in North America.

She attended the University of California Riverside, receiving a bachelor of science in engineering, and later obtained a master's of science in sustainability from Lund University in Sweden. Her first engineering projects were with NASA and the Southern California Gas Company, and went on to conduct research on carbon sequestration of biomass in the Mediterranean. She became involved in the United Nations Climate Change Conferences following the Paris Agreement at COP21, and has since participated in climate negotiations in Marrakech, Bonn, and Katowice.

Shrina turned to entrepreneurship as a mechanism to level the playing field: first, as the CEO and co-founder of FoodNest focusing on decreasing food waste in the supply chain through image recognition, and then helping start the World Bee Project supporting the creation of sustainable alternative livelihoods around the world. Afterward she was part of the founding team of Sutro, a recently-acquired startup monitoring water quality through microfluidics. In early 2017 she joined the investment team at Better Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on backing companies building a better world. Today she is an early employee of Republic, a crowdfunding platform where she is Vice President of Business.  

Shrina is driven by an interest in bringing diversity and inclusion to the investment ecosystem. It is not easy being a successful woman, entrepreneur or investor. She sees crowdsourcing community capital as a tool to equalize the playing field and democratize investment and wealth generation. She envisions the day when everyone can pursue their passion without any limitations.

Building on UC Riverside (UCR) Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP) commitment to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Inland Empire, UCR OTP and Republic recently formed a strategic partnership to foster economic development in the Inland Empire by increasing access to capital for regional and international entrepreneurs interested in building a home in Riverside. “Access to funding is essential for entrepreneurs. Our partnership with Republic opens the door for our community to contribute to the success of our most promising startups by allowing them to invest in this type of funding vehicle. It also offers an additional source of capital for the local and international startups that we are mentoring. We are delighted to work with Shrina and her team to build and grow Riverside” said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor of technology partnerships at UCR. The strategic partnership makes Republic a valuable investment partner for technologies to be incubated in Riverside, establishing due diligence standards and providing extra assistance in preparing these companies for investment. 

While Shrina’s work takes her around the country from San Francisco to Miami to New York, her heart is still in Riverside and she is committed to helping build the entrepreneurial base by investing in its promising startups. “Riverside is home to me and I am delighted to help grow and attract technology startups to the region to create high paying jobs and a higher quality of life for all. I am honoured to partner with UCR in this initiative” said Shrina as she signed a support letter for UCR’s OASIS HUB Initiative that helps build sustainable technologies.

Increasing diversity and inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a focus for UCR. The strategic partnership between UCR and Republic will contribute to UCR’s goals and will help inspire more women to become entrepreneurs and investors that can help shape the future of the Inland Empire region.