VC Flair is a new Twitter-based fantasy sport in which would-be venture capitalists attempt to predict the future valuation of tech firms. It debuted a few days ago and already has some quasi-notable participants (being Tweet-centric, it is its own publicity machine). Looking at the guesses is fun, but this is neither the future of fantasy investing or the first attempt to gamify venture capital. It won’t work as a game, but it might help anyone who enjoys reading about the tech industry choose better sources.
Why it won’t work:
VC Flair isn’t the first attempt to make fantasy from Palo Alto reality (as anyone who has ever visited PA well knows). Last year, “Valleyball” made a valuation-based game. That project has been shelved. As it turns out, fantasy sports and traditional fantasy investing games are based on public knowledge and public sentiment respectively. Valuations have little to do with readily available information. Valuations are purposefully inexact and based on both proprietary technology (think: middle-out algorithms), talent, and outside forces. The only way to predictably beat VC Flair would be to have more inside knowledge than anyone else and the person with more inside knowledge than anyone else definitely isn't going to be giving his or her thoughts away for free.
Why it’s cool anyway:
But pundits will absolutely give their thoughts away for free and VC Flair is a great place for them to do just that.
Because no one using the system has to justify their decisions, media participants will — almost by definition — use off-the-record conversations to make their guesses. The game, which runs on a monthly basis, should make it pretty clear who is on the inside and who isn’t. And that’s helpful information for anyone who reads about Silicon Valley on the reg because the internet is crowded with opinions, but light on substance.
So tweet your favorite tech journalist about VC Flair and have them put their fake money where their tweets are.