Is Erlich Bachman the Dumbest Man in Tech?
By: C.J. Cantwell
Erlich Bachman sits before me in a disheveled suit. His eyes are tired. He reeks of marijuana smoke, sweat and a hint of ramen. Bachman has invested in many startups over the years, and he finally had a winner with hot compression play Pied Piper. The scrappy startup recently released the most-talked-about beta the Valley’s had in years, and its official launch has set off a whirlwind of press and notoriety. All signs point to Pied Piper being the next Dropbox, Facebook and Uber combined. But just before this launch—after the successful beta, the moment when the company was poised to skyrocket in value—Erlich Bachman walked away.
What would cause a man to give up on his golden goose? In Bachman’s case, idiocy and personal bankruptcy. Bachman’s idiocy is well-established. Beyond investing in such non-starters as Nip Alert and Smokation (rumored to be pedophile-oriented, making both of his most well known investments not just stupid, but also perverted), Bachman’s history of selling startups dates back to his very first company: Aviato. Before Frontiers Airlines bought the company, the possibilities were endless. Now Aviato will never fly higher than Frontiers’ fleet of airbuses. All because, as Bachman tells me, “My head is so far up my ass I can see the future.” The silver lining of the Aviato sale was that it allowed Bachman to run his incubator, where tech genius Richard Hendricks founded Pied Piper. It would seem Bachman’s endless stream of dumb, perverted apps was finally at its end, but his story wasn’t over.
Bachman recently founded venture capital firm Bachmanity Capital with tech icon (soon to be legend, I’m sure) Nelson “Big Head” Bighetti, and the pair hosted a lavish launch event, aptly titled “Bachmanity Insanity.” The party, like Bachman, was loud, extravagant and a bit of a farce. It was a luau. At Alcatraz. One for which Bachman chose to pay for all liquor at retail cost, and one where he lost a giant fiberglass Tiki head at the bottom of the bay. The expenses for fire dancers, flair bartenders and exotic caterers totaled over $1 million. Bachman maintains these were “practical costs for any groundbreaking business.”
It turns out Bachman should have checked the books before hosting a million-dollar soiree. Under his direction, Bachmanity was structured such that his and Bighetti’s finances were intertwined. When Bighetti lost his money to an allegedly corrupt business manager, Bachman was on the hook for all of the party’s debts. Debts which of course, he created. He needed cash, and he needed it fast.
“I thought, all my ideas are shit, why would Pied Piper be any different? I need money now, motherfuckers.” So Bachman began whoring out his wares as fast as he could peddle them. “I was like Steve Jobs trying to sell the NeXt, at my lowest but primed to re-overtake the tech world.” Erlich swallows hard, a tear almost leaking out his eye. “Now I’m Ronald Wayne.” Ronald Wayne sold his stake in Apple for $800 dollars.
Bachman ultimately sold to the highest bidder, Raviga Partners, who got Bachman’s stock at a clearance-sale price. “They got a fucking deal off my desperate ass.” Bachmanity burned too bright, like the custom lighting at its luau and, like that lighting, the bulb burned out. This is why Bachman was disgraced and taken off the Pied Piper board. He took what was the chance of a lifetime and threw it at the cost of giant Tiki heads. “I wish that I could say that the tech is crap and I finally saw it for what it was, but…I am crap. The world is going to suck Pied Piper’s dick, and I’ll be the whore left with a face mask of seminal fluid.”