The meme-ification of ownership and the insane acceleration of the valuations of private startups led us to this moment when a former partner of a venture capital firm built a crypto market designed for “investing in fantastic startups ”, where users spend real money to buy fake stocks – in NFT, of course, forms real startups.
The game, which is now coming out of closed beta, is called Visionrare and founders Jacob Claerhout and Boris Gordts see a way to push investment gamification to its maximum, mimicking the allure of fantastic sports leagues and giving users a way to compete with friends by betting on startups they believe will be successful. Users can bid on NFT stocks of hundreds of different startups at auction and compete to create the best performing fake wallet.
At launch, Visionrare’s business database is limited to a handful of Y Combinator startups from some of the newer classes. Before asking, no, for the most part, they don’t have permission from the startups in which they sell fake stocks to use their names and logos, but the founders are hopeful that the playful nature of the platform will discourage these companies. to send cease and desist letters. Startups can verify their profiles and receive a healthy percentage of their NFT shares to distribute as they see fit, or they can contact Visionrare to remove their startup’s profile. Or they can, of course, just ignore it.
The game aims to simplify the complexity of venture capital into an auction format tied to startups’ actual fundraising cycles and their performance in the real world. Visionrare auctions 100 serialized VisionShares per funding round, one at a time for each startup, with bids starting at $ 5. Once a user accumulates a certain number of actions (at least five), they can join a league and compete with other users through a fantastic experience, move up and down a leaderboard while competing for a share. of the collective value of the VisionShares base. on the performance of their own portfolio.
As the platform moves into the open beta, there are still some important to-do list items left for the company, namely building its aftermarket and supporting the sale of VisionShares on platforms. external like OpenSea. Users are currently purchasing VisionShares with credit cards, but the team is also planning to roll out crypto payments soon.
The subject of the game lacks a few correlations with something like Monday Night Football which can be difficult to scale to a fantasy league, namely the lack of publicly available performance information. If these were state-owned companies, the game could be organized around something concrete like the share price or consistent measures of their quarterly profits, but startups are much more careful with reporting than they are. they publish.
Visionrare obtains startup performance data from Tracxn, which they use to analyze their own “Visionrare score” for businesses on a weekly basis. This score is the fundamental basis for tracking progress and winners in leagues, but in a market where intangibles can often push valuations, treating the market with this kind of cross-industry consistency overindexed on data such as mentions in press, social media followers and app downloads will clearly sometimes lead to a substantial disconnect between private ratings and scores. Claerhout, who previously worked in early-stage investing at Paris-based investment firm Partech, notes that “it’s not an exact science,” but hopes they can access more data feeds at the over time that will improve the performance of their scoring algorithm.
A bigger challenge may be ensuring that richer users don’t consistently win league competitions, as they do in the real world. League winners are determined by which wallets pick up the most Visionrare score points over a given game period, but given the long lead times for companies to succeed, there can be some misalignments when it comes to making long-term bets on an early team versus hitching your wagon to a trending SaaS startup. The founders say they are still playing around with some of the league’s mechanics and note that they will make adjustments as Visionrare evolves to keep things fun and fair.
Ultimately, this is a first project by a couple of young entrepreneurs without funding that captures some of the ridiculousness of the crypto space and startup investment ecosystem of today. Nonetheless, the founders of Visionrare are hopeful that their fake NFT stock market will provide an opportunity for those interested in startups to show their belief in picking the winners, which they hope could one day serve as a signal to research VCs. of their next hires.
“It’s a very difficult industry to establish in and tthere are a lot of people who have neither the access nor the capital, ”Claerhout told TechCrunch. “If you believe in a business, buy a VisionShare.