Why I Started a Company That Invests in 6-Year-Olds

Nov 15, 2013 at 7:30 AM ET

I was reading the other day about this new Silicon Valley company called Upstart that lets 20-somethings raise money from investors in exchange for a small share of their income over the next 10 years.

What a great idea. Venture capitalists talk all the time about how they’re investing in people, but what they’re really buying, of course, is a share of companies. Upstart is literally investing in the people.

Which got me thinking: Why wait until kids get to college to buy a share of them? It’s way too late then!

Are you fed up with gimmicky startups?

Suppose you could have bought a chunk of a pre-pubescent Mark Zuckerberg? Or way back when they were still getting an allowance from their parents, you could have lined up a deal to back the guys behind Snapchat (the same guys who just turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook)? Talk about easy money.

That’s the idea behind my new app, Adolescentr.

Meet Brian. Brian is 6 years old. He has recently joined the Adolescentr platform. For $20,000 today, you can earn 1 percent of Brian’s future income over the next 22 years. How did we calculate that? Well, right now, Brian earns an allowance of $5 per week, but our analysis shows that by the time Brian is 28, he’ll be earning between $250,000 and $300,000, employed (most likely) at a major U.S. bank in the Northeast. How do we know all this?

Well, like Upstart, we’ve created a calculator, based on a number of variables, that predicts our Adolescent’s future income earning potential. We call it the Proprietary Actuarial Analysis Program for Youth, or PAAPY for short.

We can’t divulge too much about how PAAPY works, but the calculator is based on a robust engine of various data points—data points that are both unique to the Adolescent and generalized over the rest of the population.

For example, we collected all of Brian’s math quizzes from kindergarten to first grade and fed them through PAAPY. Based on a regression analysis of the 29 quizzes, we found that Brian placed in the 98th percentile of students of his age in his school. We also analyzed the phenotypic traits of every CEO on the Fortune 500 and modeled out what a successful businessman looks like. Because Brian has brown hair and blue eyes, PAAPY back-solved that data to place him in the 89th percentile of Phenotypic Success.

We’ve also spent time creating a Likeability Index, and based on a poll of Brian’s classroom, he’s well ahead of the classroom average. (Girl crushes—of which Brian has three—skew for extra points.)

Like Upstart, our algorithm is based on the latest geo-location technology. There’s a reason for this. PAAPY takes into account regional discrepancies in expected future salaries. For example, Brian lives in River Edge, New Jersey—where the median household income is about $98,000. This means he’s about 14 percent more likely than a elementary student from, say, Hartford, Connecticut, to succeed.

We also ran thorough background checks on Brian’s parents, to get their income and educational histories. (Brian’s mom is a dental hygienist, which doesn’t help his score any.) Our team of Future Analysts also conducted in-person interviews with both the Adolescent and his or her parents, which are entered into our database under “Qualitative Parenting Skills.” Brian’s QPS ranks in the 79th percentile—largely buoyed by his father’s frequent use of four-syllable words. (Brian’s dad at one point described his son as being “perspicacious.”)

Then we tether Brian’s credentials through the Facebook API, which enables us to analyze his social circle. (Brad, Brian’s oafish best friend who was held back for a year, takes him down a few points.) It doesn’t take an algorithm to tell you that if you surround yourself with successful people, you become successful yourself! (That’s with a variance of <0.78, our records indicate.)

Our PAAPY is based on real, hard data—numbers that other investors haven’t even considered.

Sure, you can go on Upstart and invest in a Harvard MBA or Stanford undergrad—but, frankly, you’ve missed your window with them. They’ve already been discovered!

This is about America’s future. Brian needs you now, and with every second you wait, you’re diluting your investment.

Of course, the more kids you invest in, the greater the chances you’ll hit the jackpot. So log into Adolescentr now and pick your winners.