Crowdfunding rides to the rescue of many SMEs

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Financial Times | Emma Dunkley | February 9, 2016

BrewDog broke equity crowdfunding records in the UK by raising £5m in the first three weeks of its fundraising round, using its own platform — Equity for Punks (Photo: Bloomberg)

BrewDog broke equity crowdfunding records in the UK by raising £5m in the first three weeks of its fundraising round, using its own platform — Equity for Punks (Photo: Bloomberg)

The retrenchment of banks from riskier forms of finance — such as to new companies — following the financial crisis has helped raise the status of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter in the US and Seedrs in the UK.

Jeff Lynn, founder of Seedrs, says: “Crowdfunding has fuelled a tremendous transformation in the way SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] think about finance.”

Nesta, an innovation charity that provides research on the start-up funding industry, says crowdfunding offers “an opportunity to bypass traditional funding streams such as grant applications or bank loans”.

Related: Why more startups turning to equity crowdfunding

Crowdfunding falls into three broad categories. The simplest sees investors hand over cash in return for goods and services.

The second is debt crowdfunding, which allows investors to lend money that, in theory, they receive back with interest. Finally, in equity crowdfunding investors buy shares that they hope will be worth more in the future.

Related: Hacking the Startup Fundraising Matrix

Figures show that the value of crowdfunding expanded globally by 167 per cent to $16.2bn in 2014, up from $6.1bn raised in 2013. In 2015, the industry is on track to more than double once again, according to a report by Massolution, a US research firm.

“UK really leads the world on crowdfunding,” says Mr Lynn.

Craig Asano, founder of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, says the concept is struggling to get off the ground in many countries, including Canada, due to slower adoption rates and regulatory constraints.

However, investing in early stage ventures, especially as an equity investor, is high risk. Many start-ups eventually fail, often meaning investors will not be able to get their money back.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

 

 

 

 

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