An elevator in a big city bank, professional home to Mr Zertnbacker: Venture Capitalist. He looks like an elephant seal in a sweaty, striped shirt and paisley tie under a Jermyn St three- piece suit(e).

Mr Z’s uninvited visitor is Erwin: a University wunderkind and therefore a particular expert in doing what’s expected of him by anyone in Authority. Erwin’s main hobby is his Asperger’s syndrome with which he unwittingly drives the world mad. He wears the same clothes his mum bought him as an undergraduate. Aged 22, his life plan involves sleeping with a girl and then becoming a millionaire mountain bike instructor -when his homework is finished. All of this is scheduled in painful detail in Appendix 86 of the business plan he holds, limply, in a Sainsbury’s carrier bag.

Hi Mr Zertnbacker, I’ve been queueing outside your office for days. I want to tell you about a great opportunity for us both.

Mr Z:
I’m asleep already. Go away.

Ok it’s a business where venture capitalists travelling in elevators can receive personalised, recorded pitches via bluetooth plasmaquantumcoding earpieces -at a premium rate. I call the system “Revelator.” It’s all based on my PhD -would you like to read it? I’ve got a LaTeX copy here on disk…

Mr Z:
You’ve wasted 20 of my seconds, which puts you $1000 in the hole already, sonny. When are you going to make me any money? SECURITY!

I talked to my friends in the business school and they advised that we need to buy 150 Aeron chairs, a big website, a shedful of PhD’s, a Gaggia machine, some “corporate branding”, a table football thingy and a few TeraMips of computer equipment – most of that will be needed just to run the excel spreadsheet tracking our “burn rate” -whatever that is. We need to spend £5M in five, no-risk stages…it’s all in this 600 page business plan, Sir. You “exit” in two months with $50M, so it’s really good. Honestly it is. And I’m really clever.

Mr Z:
Shut up shut up shut up. Shut……..up. You know, you nerd guys think we VC’s are hard asses, only interested in jabbering meaningless midlantic MBA-speak, betting on businesses we don’t understand to scam the fastest possible buck. You don’t realise the anguish, the long expenses-paid trips abroad, the week of training and the responsibility we have to shoulder in acting as the engine room of the world economy. Take a second to think about our courageous efforts to spend other people’s money. And, just to show that there is compassion, integrity and real risktaking in Venture Capital, here at a cost to me of a further £2000, is the drive-by, the deal.

To avoid dogging or dotcommoding on me, I’d want all of your skin in the game. You’d sign up to a full ratchet death spiral to leverage an equity kicker on your mezzanine -before we even get to a drawdown. Any questions? Also, I’d need the usual due diligence package:

-two members of my family you’ve convinced to invest
-graphs, lots and lots of coloured graphs
-rights to your DNA, your house
-a jus primae noctis agreement covering your entire board
-a cocaine sandwich maker

I pay £5000 tops for a 95% stake -but don’t expect that kind of friendly deal until you’ve earned it.

Executive summary-

The Plan: are you serious?
The Technology: don’t get it
You: I hate -fire yourself immediately, you slime.

E: (disappearing behind the elevator doors)
Oh yes sir, thank you sir.

Mr Z:

Yes sir, Uncle Naiman said you’re a real Commercial Bulwark and a First Class Banker, at least I think that’s what he said.

Mr Z:
Your Uncle Naiman is head of the investigatory committee on investment ethics? The Naiman-Shaman of the square mile? Scourge of the slushfund? The man they couldn’t afford?

E: (nods)

Mr Z:
My dear boy, let me give you some fatherly advice. Startups often tend to skimp, you know, on the business essentials -such as corporate entertainment, prestige motor vehicles and the love of a good woman (or two). Will $50M be enough? We probably have that in petty cash…