Normally, if you ever wanted to invest in a startup, you need to be an accredited investor and/or have heaps of cash to play with. But what if you don’t really care about the money and just want to join in for fun and learn about investing?
Today, veteran entrepreneur and investor Josh Jones released Exchangel, the first fantasy angel investment exchange that allows people to interact with and learn about the startup market without the risk.
Jones told NextShark:
“It’s essentially ‘fantasy angel investing,’ like the old Hollywood Stock Exchange (hsx.com, if anybody remembers it?), but it lets people who aren’t accredited investors (or are, but aren’t as into lighting piles of money on fire as some of us) to at least play and follow along with the crazy world of early-stage startup investing.
In terms of how it works more specifically, when a new company is added to the site it starts in a “seed” stage where it’s more or less an auction to get the first shares. Then, after the seed stage ends, the company shares just float on a free exchange where people buy and sell them at whatever price the market will bear. Whenever there’s some external, real-world financing news (fundraising, acquisition, IPO), the company will switch to a one-week period of buying and selling at that fixed price and then go back to floating (unless it was an acquisition or IPO, in which case current holders are just cashed out).
And, there is currently a 1 bitcoin (~$250) a month prize for the top performers (ROI) each month!”
Signing up for Exchangel is pretty easy but requires you to click on a different link emailed to you each time you sign back in, which could be a pain.
Jones told NextShark that the idea came about when a friend made a comment that “Angel investing is just fantasy football for millionaires.” That, combined with going to demo day and wanting to attract people to his Angel List syndicates (a service that allows investors to co-invest with other notable investors) gave him the idea for Exchangel.
The site has been picking up a lot of attention since launching today and is now on the front page of Hacker News. Jones says he’s getting about 200 people signing up per hour.
When we asked which startups investors should put their money in right now based on his site’s data, Jones said:
Jones is a programmer and co-founded web hosting provider and domain name registrar DreamHost back in 1996. He then sold it in 2013 and got into Bitcoin. He’s now an angel investor and advisor to multiple startups.