Before we get into the ethical part of it, let me tell you that this is already happening in India in a big way. Founders are faking funding numbers and am often asked by founders whether this is a good idea or not.
Here is how the argument goes
1. Faking funding number gets you good media coverage. Journos are excited about millions of dollars funding stories and not a few 100Ks.
2. Brings a lot of PR, social and peer love. Creates buzz - helps build the brand without spending a lot. So imagine the RoI.
3. Competitors take notice of you and even if they have raised more money than you, your announcement will definitely make them worry.
4. Investors are cool with it (?). In fact , fake numbers helps validate and the new set of investors line up for your next round.
And once you start the discussion, you can always tell them that we actually raised lesser than what we announced as one of the investors backed out in the last moment.
All set ?
What's your take on this ? I of course tell founders to not fake, but then there is only one reason to speak the truth (as opposed to several benefits for faking ).
And that is : being honest.