It’s hard out there for an tech investor! You’re now competing with flashy Hollywood folk like Ashton Kutcher, who have unparalleled opportunities, like getting to show off their investment affiliations on their latest character’s laptop, you know that tech startup founder character they play on what is only the most watched sitcom in America.
It was the antics of Mr.Kutcher himself that inspired @MrDisclosure, a Twitter bot that attempts to get investors to disclose that they’ve invested in that company they’ve been tweeting about incessantly. After a Kutcher-edited issue of DETAILS magazine met with criticism when Kutcher failed to reveal his stake in some of the companies he featured, @MrDisclosure creator Andy Cheung set up the account, wanting to bring awareness to the issue of investor conflict.
“I do believe that if you tweet about one of your portfolio companies, you have a responsibility to disclose your affiliation to that organization,” writes Cheung in a post explaining the account. Right now the (limited number of) people it tracks can avoid being included by using the hashtag #investor in possibly offending tweets.
But is that clunky #investor hashtag really the best solution? Where does it leave the few who attempt to play by their own (albiet makeshift) rules, like Josh Kopelman, who punctuates each tweet about a company First Round Capital invests in with a #FRC, or Chris Sacca, who makes it clear that he is an investor in some of the companies he tweets about in his Twitter bio?
If we’re edging towards a future where everything needs to be disclosed, we’re going to need a lot more than 140 characters.