There are many ways to raise money for a start up. Some people sell equity. Some people max out credit cards. Some people get a bank loan, some hit up family members, or dip into their savings, or take out a second mortgage on their house. Those are all things some people do to raise money. Then there's Stan Oleynick. He's selling his name.
The 23-year-old web developer from Sacramento, California is working on an unannounced project, and to raise money (he's hoping for a quarter million dollars), Stan is selling the rights to his name on his site Hold My Record. But it doesn't end there. Stan also has a plan to get the winner of his naming rights maximum exposure.
Currently, the top bid at Hold My Record is $16,000, which would see Stan changing his name to Joe Boomtrek, on behalf of Boomtrek, a publisher of online travel guides. For $250,000 Stan offers a buy it now price that lets anyone with enough cash bypass the auction and win his name outright. In order to guarantee that the winner gets the most bang for his or her buck, Stan plans to break a Guinness World Record (he's no yet sure which but is soliciting ideas), so the winner's name is printed in news stories and in the world record book itself as a result.
If Stan fails to break a world record within a year, he will return all of the money, no strings attached. The winning bidder will also receive a 10% stake in his upcoming web start up, which the winner will retain even if the money is returned as a result of a year of failed record attempts.
Stan promises that the start up is "revolutionary" and will be released at the beginning of September (so it could be up any day now). The auction for his name runs until October 1st -- the day before Stan's 24th birthday -- so if his web product is as revolutionary as he says, it could attract bids solely for the 10% stake. We'll have to wait and see.