1) seems like a perfect complement to something like mattermatrk: http://mattermark.com/ perhaps try reaching out to those guys? They offer startup tracking so pairing it with this fantasy-investment style game could work well.
2) learning from fantasy football - perhaps you get people to sign up in groups and compete against each other with new money being released into the pool each month/quarter?
3) you could bring people back into the app when the startups they have invested in get in the news? This would involve building a lightweight RSS-scraper and some logic but might not be too hard and would add a nice feedback loop for the product.
4) maybe you let people use (small amounts of) real money to invest in the startups, and let people buy and sell their investments? Kind of like a second market platform? this would make it inherently more compelling for people to stick around but it's almost certainly a lot more work to build...
2) Yknow, believe it or not I didn't actually think too much about this. I guess I assumed the details would be too different for me to borrow much from them. I'll definitely give it a look though.
3) Not a bad idea. I would hope to monetize somehow, but a monthly subscription would have fairly little value if I'm only checking in with them once every few months.
4) I wish! Chances are any accredited investors would already be using AngelList for that, and obviously I can't let unaccredited investors make investments (plus then startups would have to be on board, basically a whole giant mess).
Thanks a lot for your thoughts!
One thing I'm thinking for the whole "returns" mechanism is to have startups return a fixed amount per hour/day/week based on their Mattermark score (basically, how much mindshare momentum they have), similar to how properties in social games give you a certain amount of currency back every [interval].
I could also consider income: most investors have some sort of regular income they use for investments, as opposed to purely bootstrapping off of the first few investments. That could be interesting (perhaps as you level up, by making sound investments, your income rises?).