Let’s Have an Honest Talk About Shady Startup Investment

How to separate the wild goose chases from the real opportunities

Joe Procopio
5 min readDec 9, 2021
image by benzoix on freepik

“Is this investor for real?”

I get that question a lot. Definitely more than I should. Because my answer is always the same and it’s always some form of “I don’t know.”

Everybody wants the dream to happen to them. And every entrepreneur — I don’t care who you are or how long you’ve been at it — longs for that day when unsolicited investor interest comes knocking and suddenly a game-changing idea becomes a funded reality.

Sure. It happens in real life. VERY Rarely. But it seems like it happens a lot. All it takes is a quick read through one day of TechCrunch’s twitter feed to make it feel like anyone can attract a little Sand Hill Road interest and parlay that into a quick few million dollars of runway.

But what happens more often is just a mirage. Shady investment opportunities can come in all shapes and sizes, and they can strike any kind of venture at any time.

Lately, they’re getting more sophisticated. So much so that sometimes even I can’t tell the wild goose chases from the honest-to-goodness opportunities.

But you can. Here’s how.

Proper Investor…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com