Matt Milner’s “Pre-IPO Cheat Codes” (Early-Stage Playbook)

Today we’ll be taking a look at a presentation by Matt Milner titled “The Pre-IPO Cheat Code Project,” where he talks about turning a small $1,000 investment into $24,970.

Apparently, this “cheat code” could potentially help you earn profits of 2,497% or more from a single investment, without any prior experience.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I first saw this, because it sounded too good to be true. And the whole thing was shrouded in mystery.

But at the same time, I was curious…

I wanted to know what a “Pre-IPO Cheat Code” was, how it worked, who Matt Milner was and if it was really possible to earn roughly 24X my money with these “cheat codes.” I also wanted to learn more about the course he’s pitching – The Early-Stage Playbook.

So I did my homework, and here’s a summary of what I found:

  • A “Pre-IPO Cheat Code” is a term Matt Milner uses to describe a 10-digit code known as a Central Index Key (CIK) Code, which is used by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to identify SEC filings on corporations and individuals.
  • You can use the EDGAR Company Filings database, located on the SEC website, along with a CIK code, to find information about the types of pre-IPO companies Matt Milner describes in the presentation.
  • A “pre-IPO company” is another way to describe a private company that’s offering a pre-initial public offering placement (or pre-IPO placement). Which basically means the company is selling some shares before their stock is listed on a public exchange.
  • Thanks to the 2012 JOBS Act, virtually anyone over the age of 18 can invest in these types of companies with the help of sites like StartEngine, through a process called equity crowdfunding. And, as a result, potentially benefit if/when the company goes public.
  • Matt Milner says he knows how to find the highest-potential pre-IPO companies and that by joining his course, Early-Stage Playbook, for either $39 or $79, he will show you how he does it and share his top pre-IPO company recommendations with you.
  • Overall, I don’t believe Early-Stage Playbook is a scam, and it is possible to make money this way, but there is an extremely high level of risk associated with this type of investing.

Let’s take a closer look into Pre-IPO Cheat Codes, what Early Stage Playbook is about, and who Matt Milner is, to figure out if this is actually worthwhile or not.

Breaking Down Matt Milner’s “Pre-IPO Cheat Codes”

Before today, I had never heard of “Pre-IPO Cheat Codes.”

But according to Matt Milner’s presentation, they could help you turn a small $1,000 investment into $24,970 and get into the world’s hottest billion-dollar companies before they IPO.

Matt Milner during his Pre-IPO Cheat Codes presentation which is used to promote The Early Stage Playbook course.

The presentation began with host Christina Lawson interviewing Matt Milner, who says that it’s time to forget all the crazy stuff going on in the world, because we are in the midst of a massive technology revolution. One that he says could make ordinary people a lot of money.

He then gives some examples of disruptive tech companies.

The first was a startup that’s creating a revolutionary new battery that may be able to charge an EV battery in under 10 minutes. And the second was a company that’s developing a new type of blood test that may be able to help detect certain diseases.

And says that these are just some of the “amazing breakthroughs” that are happening in a variety of industries thanks to innovative new technology.

According to Matt though, the companies behind these innovations aren’t big companies you’ve heard about, they are startups. Or as Matt puts it… “tiny companies that are going from zero to billion-dollar enterprises in record time.”

And he says that each of these breakthrough tech startups have a “Pre-IPO cheat code” baked into them, which can help you get into the startup while it’s still private, before it IPOs.

What’s an IPO?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is when a private company offers shares to the public in a new stock issuance, and it’s part of the process of a company being listed on a public stock exchange.

What’s a pre-IPO company?

A “pre-IPO company” isn’t a type of company, it’s just another way to describe a private company that’s offering a pre-initial public offering placement (or pre-IPO placement). Which basically means the company is selling some of their shares before they do an IPO.

The main benefit of a pre-IPO placement for the company is that they can raise capital without having to meet the same rigorous SEC requirements as a company doing a regular IPO.

As an investor, the main benefit is that you get to invest in a company before it does an IPO. And if that company eventually goes public, and is successful, there can be significant upside potential if you bought shares when they were much cheaper during pre-IPO.

However, as Matt points out, it hasn’t always been this easy to invest in pre-IPO companies.

Reason being… the Securities & Exchange Act, which was established in 1934 to help protect people from losing money in the stock market, prevented ordinary people from investing in these types of deals. So it has typically been private equity firms, hedge funds, angel investors and accredited investors that have taken part in this sort of thing.

That is… until 2016.

According to Wikipedia, in May of 2016, Title III of the 2012 JOBS Act’s Regulation CF came into effect, which allowed ordinary people to take part in something called equity crowdfunding.

What is equity crowdfunding?

It’s basically a way for everyday investors, who aren’t accredited, to invest in private companies using licensed broker-dealer sites like StartEngine. Put differently, it allows ordinary people to bet on private companies before they go public.

Which, on the plus side, is pretty cool.

Because most people aren’t accredited investors (net worth of at least $1 million or earning at least $200K per year). And, if you choose the right company, you could make large gains.

On the other hand, this type of investing is extremely risky. Which is one of the reasons why there are laws around this sort of thing, to stop people getting wrecked. There’s no guarantee that any pre-IPO company will go public, and if they don’t, you can lose your entire investment.

Here’s a YouTube video I found that explains equity crowdfunding in more detail:

How do you pick the right companies?

Matt Milner says he knows how to pick the highest-potential pre-IPO companies and provides numerous examples of companies that could have made you a lot of money, compared to if you’d simply bought the company’s stock after it IPO’d.

The main example he uses is Twitter.

According to Matt, if you’d invested in Twitter right after it IPO’d (right after it went public), you could’ve made a 78% return. But if you’d bought shares during its pre-IPO, you could’ve made a 2,692% gain. Which works out to a (roughly) 34X higher return.

It’s a cool example, but I’m not sure that “ordinary people” would have been able to get in on that deal, since Twitter went public in 2013, a whole three years before the new equity crowdfunding part of the 2012 JOBS Act went into effect in 2016.

Does he reveal any companies he’s recommending now?

It seems as though he might have done so in an older version of the written presentation. Because it starts out by saying you should write down the number 0001139685 immediately, and refers to it as a “secret code.”

It also says the following:

In fact, later in this presentation he’s going to share a specific Pre-IPO Cheat Code with you…

He’ll show you how this 10-digit code could be your key to getting in on one of the most groundbreaking startups today… before it IPOs!

It involves a breakthrough biotech company that almost no one on Wall Street even knows exists yet…


A quick search of that “pre-IPO cheat code” (CIK code) reveals that it’s 20/20 GeneSystems, Inc. which was doing a round of equity crowdfunding up until June 15, 2021 on StartEngine.

So, from what I can gather, this might have been a company Matt was recommending as part of this presentation at one point. But other than that one code he provides, and a few hints about a biotech company he’s interested in, he doesn’t recommend anything specifically.

Either way, Matt points out that he has lots of other recommendations about these types of companies, and reveals his picks with members of The Early-Stage Playbook.

So that’s essentially what the Pre-IPO Cheat Codes presentation is about…

It’s a promotion for Matt Milner’s course, Early Stage Playbook, which is similar to what he did with a presentation called Genesis Investing System a while back.

Which may seem odd, but this is actually quite common in the financial education space. Gurus like Matt Milner uses multiple presentations to promote the same program.

In any case, let’s take a look at what The Early-Stage Playbook about and how it works.

What Is The Early-Stage Playbook?

Early-Stage Playbook is an online course that teaches you how to invest in private companies before they reach the initial public offering (IPO) stage, using equity crowdfunding sites like StartEngine, AngelList and Microventures.

The course was created by Matt Milner and Wayne Mulligan, who are the co-founders of a site called Crowdability, which was setup to help individual investors take advantage of the opportunity that exists within the world of equity crowdfunding.

Here’s how Crowdability describes itself on the company website:

Crowdability provides individual investors with education, information and insight into opportunities in the crowdfunding market.  Our free website and email newsletter aggregate and organize deals from an ever-expanding universe of crowdfunding platforms.

They provide a range of courses and services related to crowdfunding and “regular” stock market investing, like Income Unlimited, Crowdability IQ and Trend Trader Pro.

How Does Early-Stage Playbook Work?

At the core of Early-Stage Playbook is a 12-video library that shows you how to make money using equity crowdfunding sites. All in all, there are over five hours of content delivered by both Matt and his business partner Wayne, and it’s based on real-world experience.

As a result of their background in finance, the Crowdability website states that Matt and Wayne were granted interviews with over 30 of the top early-stage investors. Including venture capitalists and angel investors, who backed some of the most successful companies in the world.

So it’s not a typical service that gives you a new stock pick each month, which is the case for most of the programs I review on this blog. Instead, this is an in-depth course.

However, you do also get access to some bonus reports and resources, some of which include specific recommendations on early stage investments.

Here are the bonuses you get as part of the “Pre-IO Cheat Code” presentation:

  • Dozens of Pre-IPO Investments — With Just One Click: This report shows you how to invest in dozens of later stage pre-IPO companies with a single investment. Kind of like how you can invest in hundreds of companies through an ETF.
  • Double-Digit Returns with “Private Income:” Matt says there’s a way to invest in “private bonds” that yield as much as 17% per annum, which blows regular bonds out of the water, and that in this report he’ll show you how, to help you begin earning monthly passive income.
  • The 60-Minute Angel Investor: This is a simple checklist designed to help you find the highest-potential opportunities in the pre-IPO market, in less than 60 minutes per week.

How Much Does It Cost?

There are three different membership levels, or “packages,” for Early-Stage Playbook – Silver, Gold and Platinum. And the pricing of these packages differs depending on how you join.

Below is the pricing and contents if you join through the “Pre-IO Cheat Code” presentation:

  • Silver Package ($39): This gives you access to just the Early-Stage Playbook course itself
  • Gold Package ($79): This gives you access to the course, and the last two bonuses above (Double-Digit Returns with “Private Income” report and The 60-Minute Angel Investor checklist).
  • Platinum Package ($79): This costs the same as the Gold Package, and gives you all the same inclusions, except you get all three reports and two other reports that contain case studies (five reports in total).

There’s also a 30 day money back guarantee in place, so you can essentially try the course for a month and if you don’t like it, request a full refund.

Who Is Matt Milner?

Matthew Milner (Matt) is the man in the Pre-IO Cheat Code presentation, co-creator of The Early-Stage Playbook, and co-founder of Crowdability, the company behind it.

Prior to co-founding Crowdability in 2013, Matt worked on Wall Street doing Sales and Trading for some of the most well-know investment firms – Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

He also helped start a venture fund called Collective Spark that focusses on helping early stage technology startups, and he’s still a Venture Partner with this company today.

To me, the main thing that sets Matt apart from other gurus in the financial education space is his focus on technology startups, and finding early-stage companies that are at the forefront of disruptive, emerging trends using his actual experience in this space.

Whereas most gurus I’ve come across tend to focus on more mainstream opportunities in the public stock exchange. And typically don’t have the “boots on the ground” experience Matt has with helping actual businesses get up and running as a venture capitalist.

Matt also works closely with Wayne Mulligan as part of Crowdability, who has a similar background in Wall Street finance and investing in technology startups.

Bottom Line

The Pre-IPO Cheat Code Project is a presentation featuring host Christina Lawson and early-stage investor Matt Milner of Crowdability.

The presentation centers around what Matt refers to as “cheat codes” that he says could help you turn a $1,000 investment into over $24K. Upon taking a closer look, I discovered that these “cheat codes” are actually called CIK codes, which are assigned to companies by the SEC.

Basically, CIK codes help the SEC identify companies and individuals that have filings with them, and you can use these codes to find information about private companies using their database.

Then, with the help of equity crowdfunding sites like StartEngine, you can invest in the types of companies Matt talks about in the presentation, often without being an accredited investor. And The Early-Stage Playbook course, along with the bonuses, aim to help you do that.

Is it worth it?

On one hand, I think it could be worthwhile if you want the chance to make potentially large gains investing in small, private tech companies. And it’s quite a comprehensive course, especially for the price, so you are getting a bunch of insight into this strategy if nothing else.

On the other hand, investing in pre-IPO companies can be extremely risky.

There is absolutely no guarantee that the company will go public, let alone become successful, which can put your entire investment at risk. Because unless they are eventually listed on a public exchange, your shares may end up being worthless.

This article on Investopedia points out some of the risks and rewards of equity crowdfunding in more detail, so it may be worth checking out if you want to learn more.

Either way, I hope you found this article helpful.

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