Last week Y Combinator announced The Handshake Deal Protocol [no longer available online – apparently because of the Protocol’s shortcomings discussed below]. A “handshake deal” is an oral commitment to a funding transaction between a startup’s founders and an investor. This sometimes is considered necessary in Silicon Valley because, in the world of startups, one must move quickly.
As Y Combinator notes, however, a handshake deal can create problems:
Unfortunately, things don’t work as smoothly in Silicon Valley as among diamond dealers. This is not a closed community of pros who deal with one another day after day. Many participants in the funding market are noobs, and some are dishonest.