Do you wish you could live the Silicon Valley VC lifestyle? The glamor? The apps? The yacht racing and indifference to humanity? Thanks to recent legislative changes, you can't actually have money to invest, but it's effortless to fake it—and maybe even scam people!
Investing in startups used to be the domain of the wealthy and well-connected meeting face-to-face—or at least exchanging chummy emails. But now, anyone with a million dollars and a dream can bunch together with strangers and invest as a sort of team. It's called a "Syndicate," which isn't ominous at all, and a website called AngelList is leading the charge. It requires one investor to take point, and then others can pool their cash with them, while they're promised a cut of any carried interest.
Just think: all the wisdom and accountability of Kickstarter, only aimed at the far more stable world of tech ventures. There's no chance that anyone will get burned, because, as AngelList buries in some fine print, you have to be an "accredited investor" in order to join a syndicate.
A natural person who has individual net worth, or joint net worth with the person’s spouse, that exceeds $1 million at the time of the purchase, excluding the value of the primary residence of such person
A natural person with income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years and a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the current year
Except you don't, because I just signed up, and I promise you, those sentences do not describe me! But thanks to lax federal policy and a gold rush mentality, no one really cares who I am, what I'm worth, or if I'm remotely qualified to even think about investments—let alone make them.
All I did was sign into AngelList with my Twitter accountand make up a fake startup name to show that I have some previous experience in this hot field:
Accept full responsibility for anything that happens with your or anyone else's money (HA!), hit "apply" and wait patiently...
Just kidding! I was accredited literally instantly. There was no "application," no "process," no nothing. I just clicked a button to become an accredited investor, as easy as I'd make a retweet. Now I'm able to apply to join any other syndicate:
Or let people join your own:
It's not hard to imagine what could go wrong here, were I not very obviously a make believe bullshit investor, but someone with seedy motives. With essentially zero screening process, I could fabricate the profile of a reputable VC, or at least someone who aspires to be a reputable VC. AngelList gives me a simple, clear way to proposition strangers, to beckon group investments based on virtually nothing.
The people responsible do nothing but wipe their hands of any onus:
And wait to collect their fee. Good luck to everyone out there investing—and feel free to join my syndicate!