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Play venture capitalist with Alphaworks
Pull up a chair.

Calling all Shark Tank fans. Ever wish you, too, could invest money in flourishing start-ups in exchange for lucrative stock options? Now you can, thanks to Alphaworks.

Alphaworks basically functions like Kickstarter--but for buying equity rather than preordering goods. It promotes various burgeoning tech companies (up now is the arts-driven social media site See.Me) and offers private individuals the chance to invest through the Alphaworks site.

The cool thing is that, in addition to your investment, each company also gets funding from established venture capitalists, which gives those start-ups immediate credibility and an accurate valuation. (See.Me is valued at $9.25 million, in case you were wondering.)

That said, early-stage investing is inherently risky, so this is really only a good move if you can stand to lose the money you?re putting in.

Here?s the semi-bummer: For the next few months, the only people who are legally allowed to invest with Alphaworks are ?accredited investors? (folks with a $1 million net worth or who make more than $200,000 a year). But come summer, Alphaworks participation will be open to everyone, no matter how much you?ve got in the till.

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