Have you ever dreamed of becoming a venture capitalist? Well, meet Maybe Capital Board Game, the first accurate and satiric VC board game about Silicon Valley. Launched by a fictional VC firm, Maybe Capital, “the most powerful venture capital firm in Silicon Valley,” the game turns you into a VC-in-training. The players must go through the tricky process of raising money, venturing around the game board and pitching each other on absurd company ideas in order to secure funding.

The idea of Maybe Capital belongs to Andrea Koval, the founder of a social media visualization startup, Buzz Radar. Koval and her friends have gained quite an experience in Silicon Valley working at a series of tech companies and collaborating with venture capitalists. Humor became their strongest defense against the community’s brotastic culture. They would sit making fun of bizarre companies and the people who run them. This developed into impromptu mock pitch sessions and eventually into a fictional VC firm Maybe Capital.

Maybe Capital has a logo, a website, and even a fake CEO with profile pages on AngelList, Crunchbase, and LinkedIn. However, Koval has also some real VCs supporting the game. For instance, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo who, as a former stand-up comedian and contributor to the TV show Silicon Valley, definitely gets the funny side of the tech industry. Moreover, VCs with a sense of humor about themselves can dish out $499 on the game’s Kickstarter page and get their very own VC Superhero Card. Jack Dorsey, Chris Sacca, and Elon Musk are already in the game. Kickstarter backers can also get expansion packs, which come out regularly. Maybe Capital has so far raised just over US$9000 of its US$9999 funding goal, with 150 backers and a couple of days to go.

Maybe Capital Board Game

How Does It Work?

The game consists of an impressive set of cards and an artistically designed board. The player travels up and down the 101 Highway that runs through the Valley like a spine, networking with executives at Twitter, smoking pot with “someone famous” in Marin County, and going to Burning Man. Participants also encounter Steve Jobs, who, guru-like, advises them. Throughout the game, the players earn money and investors, pitch companies, and network with other famous VCs and founders.

When someone picks up a pitch card or lands on a pitch space, every participant pitch companies based on 2 picked up cards. The results can be as ridiculous as Uber for Organic Sausages. The more convincing card holder’s pitch, the more Investment cards the other VCs will invest, from $0 (“please get out of my office”) to $10 million (“fucking savage”).

Maybe Capital Board Game

Maybe Capital Board Game

As players move around the board, every turn, they pick up a Networking (Action) card and read it out loud, no matter how embarrassing it is. Just to get an idea have a look at some of the best one-liners:

  • Apple names its new operating system after the nickname you have for your penis (+ 2 million)
  • Yves Behar confuses your app with “Yo” but still joins your team. (Move up one investment level.)
  • Congratulations! You have just joined the pretentious elite. You can no longer see poor people. (+ 4 millions)

Maybe Capital Board Game

The first one to get the portfolio of startups to an IPO wins the game. Alternatively, if a player suddenly secures $50 million in a Series A round, they can declare that the bubble has popped. The winner must throw all cash winnings in the air while the others film it in slow-motion.

The Reasons Behind

Did you know that only 3% of women founders receive investments and their investment points are automatically worth $2 million less? Maybe Capital isn’t just a way for Koval and her friends to poke fun at the preposterous companies that get funding. In light of recent events, it mocks business done by old, cheeto-covered white dudes in general.

Koval’s had a lot of experience with sexual harassment and discrimination, working in San Francisco’s tech scene. She’s been on teams where misogynistic jokes considered normal. During her pitching sessions, Koval was consistently mistaken for the secretary, frequently interrupted, and even hit on after the meeting.

The game is full of references to this kind of daily sexism. One card gives the player access to “white man privilege,” which functions like a get-out-of-jail-free card, and another to “mansplaining,” which provides the players with the extraordinary ability to explain complex stuff in their pitches. The game is priced at Kickstarter at 30% less for women due to the wage gap and comes with a tiny hammer to shatter your glass ceiling.

The more guys that move out here and the younger they are and the younger they learn the misogynistic culture, the more they think it’s normal. When they grow up and start companies, it becomes a rule.

Maybe Capital Board Game

Will the increased conversation around sexual discrimination in Silicon Valley change something? It’s hard to say, considering the consistently expanding young boys club. But Koval’s humorous approach to handling the intolerance she’s faced has been curative for her. Some publishers have already shown interest in purchasing rights to the game. Koval admits: “To be honest I have regretted not making more noise about this stuff. This game is my revenge.”

Maybe Capital Board Game

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