Crowdfunding Around the World

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Forbes | Wil Schroter | July 9, 2014

Global Crowdfunding 2013The United States is abuzz with crowdfunding. From discussions about the potential ramifications of the JOBS Act to the millions raised through rewards crowdfunding, the movement to raise capital online is gaining serious momentum. With all of this nationally-focused noise, it’s easy to forget that crowdfunding is not an American institution. In fact, we were one of the later countries to catch onto crowdfunding.

The concept of crowdfunding has deep international roots, used frequently to finance book prints in Europe in the 17th century. Hopeful book purchasers were able to pre-order printed publications in advance—making it one of the world’s first subscription services as well.

Crowdfunding was also used in music as far back as the 1700s. Even the famous Mozart lacked sufficient funds to bankroll concerts, and used crowdfunding to raise money to hold three events at a Viennese concert hall. Mozart also had the jump on great backer rewards, offering manuscripts of the concertos to his most loyal fans. Not surprisingly, without the power of the Internet it took Mozart over two years to finance the performance.

Modern day crowdfunding has become an incredible force for businesses throughout the world. As more countries make steps to regulate and legalize equity crowdfunding, more investments are being made in early stage businesses across the world.

Some rewards crowdfunding platforms operate across multiple countries, but for the time being, equity crowdfunding platforms are regulated and operated within individual countries. Whether through rewards or equity crowdfunding, it’s incredibly exciting to watch the international startup community grow. Here’s a peek into what’s going on in the rest of the business crowdfunding world.

Canada

Canada allows for rewards-based crowdfunding with minimal regulation but like all of the countries below, has more stringent rules surrounding equity crowdfunding. An early adopter, Canada’s first equity crowdfunding portal, Optimize Capital Markets, launched in 2009 in Ontario.

View:  Canadian Crowdfunding Directory

Because of the segmentation of regions within Canada, equity crowdfunding is being approached on a regional level within Canada. In 2013 the Ontario Securities Commission announced that it would allow equity crowdfunding via accredited investors. In the winter of 2013, the province of Saskatchewan also made equity crowdfunding legal.

New Zealand

New Zealand preemptively established legal guidelines surrounding equity crowdfunding in 2013, making it a legal form of raising capital within the country. Several platforms have launched since, allowing New Zealand companies to raise up to $2 million in a 12-month period without the typical offer documents required under securities law.

Italy

Like the U.S. and Canada, Italy has several well-functioning reward-based crowdfunding websites, and has been active in the space since 2011. Just two years later, Italy became the first country in Europe to implement a complete regulation on equity-crowdfunding, creating a national registry for crowdfunding operators. Equity crowdfunding platforms are now operational in Italy.

Sweden

Sweden embraced crowdfunding early on, with the launch of Crowdculture in 2010, a platform for funding cultural projects. Equity crowdfunding became possible in Sweden in late 2012 and is currently being practice by platforms like FundedByMe.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada crowdfunding hub providing education, advocacy and networking opportunities in the rapidly evolving crowdfunding industry. NCFA Canada is a community-based, membership-driven entity that was formed at the grass roots level to fill a national need in the market place. Join our growing network of industry stakeholders, fundraisers and investors. Increase your organization’s profile and gain access to a dynamic group of industry front runners. Learn more About Us or contact us at casano@ncfacanada.org.

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