Codebreaker

Price Fixing in Paradise?

Steve Henn Sep 23, 2010

Michael Arrington founder and co-editor of TechCrunch has accused a group of high profile (yet unnamed) angel investors from colluding to keep valuations at Silicon Valley start ups artificially low.

And his story – aka #Anglegate – is taking flight.

It began when Arrington walked into Bin 38, a San Francisco wine bar, on a tip.

“[I]n the back of the restaurant in a private room was a long oval table. Sitting around the table, Godfather style, were ten or so of the highest profile angel investors in Silicon Valley.”

Conversation died. And Arrington reports multiple sources at the dinner told him these get together were a regular thing and conversion centered on how to keep valuations for start ups down, and how to keep competing investors out of the market.
If that’s true – it’s collusion and it is illegal.
Arrington claims one person at the dinner said the group had created a wiki to organize their anti-competitive efforts. If I’m in DOJ’s anti-trust division that’s the kind of smoking-gun document I dream about. At least one prominent silicon Valley law firm is warning investors to expect calls from the feds.
Still, at least one investor who was at the dinner couldn’t quite stop himself from writing this profanity-laced blog post in response.

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