Beware the fraudsters masquerading as “angel investors” and/or “consultants” in the start-up ecosystem

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We have a lot to be thankful for Sauvignon Blanc. Apart from being delicious, when served chilled and crisp, it also sharpens the mind ( occasionally ) as to perceived wrongs which one has observed happening to one’s friends and colleagues, and rather than leaving such observations in the pub, sometimes they just need to be committed to paper, and let the lawsuits commence.

As a relative new-comer to the start-up scene, and endeavouring to create a product in Match Capital which serves to cater to the young entrepreneurial scene, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me, as a crusty old 50-something, who has been round the block more than once or twice, that there is a rather disgusting menace in our midst, which need exposing!

I am talking about individuals who rock up at networking events, masquerading as “angels”, or “consultants” or potential “NEDs” into your business.

Because start-ups are generally cash poor ( it goes with the territory ), they can generally only afford to attend networking events which are free to attendees, which unfortunately attracts the aforementioned pond-life, to prey on the unsuspecting “young”trepreneur.

When you’re young, and relatively inexperienced, but passionate about your product, it’s very easy to get sucked in to waxing lyrical to anyone who will listen to your pitch. The downside is that the skilled BS artist is very adept at showing rapt attention at your endeavour, and then parades their “experience” at bringing things to market, helping you get across the line, all you have to do is give them some sweat equity and a modicum of cash.

If you’re successful, it’s probably because of your own efforts, not theirs, but then they will embellish their own CV at the expense of yours, and if you are unsuccessful, you won’t see them for dust, but they’ll still have your money.

As a crusty old fart, my radar is now pretty good at spotting fraudsters, but they’re good at what they do, so it’s easy to get sucked into their subterfuge, but there are a number of complete frauds circling around the start-up scene, sadly I can’t name them, because as a start-up ourselves, we haven’t got the funds to defend a libel writ, but you know who you are, I am on to you, and I am alerting our younger friends about who you are.

Peter is the founder of Match Capital, a platform algorithmically connecting entrepreneurs with relevant investors.

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