“Stripe alum, Stanford dropout.” Fake LinkedIn profile of a founder attracted a VC within 24 hours

The Walnut startup founder Roshan Patel created a fake account of a startup founder on LinkedIn with an attractive portfolio. And within 24 hours received the first offer from a venture capital fund. Roshan told about this on Twitter.


The fake founder, named Chad Smith, lives in New York, according to his LinkedIn. He is a young white man (Roshan generated the photo with the help of AI) who dropped out of Stanford University to work at Stripe. After that, he left Stripe to focus on his startup, on which he has been working for a month. Chad is also a resident of YCombinator. As stated in Chad’s LinkedIn bio, he is also a coder and a polymath.

Within 24 hours, according to Roshan, Chad received a message from a VC analyst, who offered to connect. In the message, he noted that Chad was recommended to him by several acquaintances from Stripe, so the investor decided to take a closer look at his new startup and tell more about his fund.

The account is currently unavailable on LinkedIn, perhaps Roshan deleted it to prevent other investors from reaching the fake founder.

Why is this interesting?

Despite the global recession, which has affected the venture industry and pushed some of the VCs to reconsider their investment strategies, funds never stop looking for new opportunities. This case vividly illustrates the point, as well as the fact that mentions of respectable companies and educational institutions in the portfolio of founders remain the main priorities that investors pay attention to when selecting potential candidates.

As they say in Silicon Valley, “fake it till you make it.”