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As an individual, the only chance you'd have to invest in a hot startup is to be an angel investor, or else close family or really good friends with the founders or VCs. Even accredited investors with 10s of millions got turned away from hot startups like Spotify and Snapchat (back when it was the big kahuna).

And let's be clear: you can still invest in a startup as a non-accredited investor. There is no prohibition on that, or else startups couldn't give equity to employees, contractors, or others (see, e.g., pre-IPO Facebook and Google, and the many famous stories of dotcom millionaires from their respective IPOs).

A year ago, I watched YC lecture for raising capital where Sam Altman or somebody else recommended startup founders NOT raise any capital from unaccredited investors because it may create problems with raising next rounds. In other words, current regulatory environment also promotes discrimination of unaccredited investors.

Employee compensation is different.

P.S. It's amazing how much Hacker News readers are against cryptocurrency, in favor of very big government, very high taxes up to 70% as their Piketty, Krugman suggest to enforce equality of outcome. This community became total opposition of what Paul Graham might thought back in 2007. The only thing is left is to change Hacker News icon to Che Guevara emblem.

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