Virtual Businesses — Real VC $$

I understand Second Life like I used to understand Dungeons & Dragons. Not my cup of tea, but clean escapist fun for those who fancy themselves dice-throwing sorcerers.

What completely confounds me, however, is the Second Life economy, in which people can make real money by selling fake things. Examples include pixilated designer dresses or “real estate” on fantasy islands (they actually make “Linden dollars,” which have a L$300-US$1 conversion rate at Second Life currency exchange centers).

I’m not passing judgment, but rather just passing on my incredulity.

The reason I bring it up at all is that Second Life today is launching a business plan competition for “resident” entrepreneurs. The grand prize isn’t terribly large – L$350,000 in seed Monday, which works out to less than US$2k), but it does involve some advisory participation from real VCs. The winner also will get complimentary marketing advice from PR firm Edelman.

If you’re interested, there will be a kick-off panel this afternoon at 1pm EST, with panelists including Susan Wu of Charles River Ventures. I can’t believe I’m relaying this but… Attendance will be limited on a first-come, first-served basis so please arrive early to Edelman Island. You can IM Hank Hoodoo with any questions.