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Invest in Me, Take My Equity

Venture capitalists love to talk about "investing in people"-but what if they meant it literally? A new funding concept launched by social...

Venture capitalists love to talk about "investing in people"-but what if they meant it literally? A new funding concept launched by social entrepreneurs Saul Garlick (ThinkImpact), Kjerstin Erickson (FORGE) and Jon Gosier (Appfrica) aims to do just that. Advertising their plan as "Invest in Me, Take My Equity," the three, all in their mid- to late twenties, are selling stakes in their personal earnings-for the rest of their lives. In other words, for a mere $300,000 up front, you can claim 3 percent of Gosier's or Garlick's success, however-and if ever-it comes. Erickson bears a steeper price tag, but offers greater upside: $600,000 for 6 percent. For the record, all men appear in robust health.


For Garlick, the plan is "a way to catalyze the individual," rather than just a project. Of course, it involves a lot of talent assessment, not to mention an interesting amount of leeway. If the entrepreneur veers down a less profitable path-art school, say, or a midlife crisis-the investor doesn't get to intervene. Which makes the arrangement a deeply personal one: The investor is banking (literally) on a twentysomething's net gumption for the rest of his or her life. And of course, a social bet is also involved: that this person will, over decades, pursue causes that matter. (You figure the pair will want to grab lunch before getting started.)Garlick is aware of the intimacy inherent to the setup, and he embraces it. "I am not seeking just any investor," he says. "I am interested in someone that I connect with, believe in as well." Nor does he view this as patronage. He's serious about the financials, and believes hefty profits are possible. Then again, why wouldn't he? It's the same as believing in himself.Photo courtesy of Saul Garlick.
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