In the past, launching a company and shipping a product was something that could only be done by those who had money, or those who could attract investment from venture capitalists. But things are changing. The advent of crowdfunding platforms -- internet-based marketplaces that connect those seeking funds with hundreds if not thousands of supporters -- has been greeted with enthusiasm by entrepreneurs, policymakers, and the general public alike. Their enthusiasm is understandable: today, normal people can invest in ideas that they think might gain broad appeal. But crowdfunding remains an emerging and evolving phenomenon that is not well understood. Far from a fad, this mega trend is here to stay -- and has broad implications across many industries.


Table of Contents


Financing by and for the Masses: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Crowdfunding   FEATURED
This introduction to the special issue on crowdfunding begins by providing some information about the history and nature of the phenomenon. It then summarizes some of the key advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding for entrepreneurs and for investors. (more)

What Problems Does Crowdfunding Solve?
It is common to classify crowdfunding by the incentives provided to backers for their support. But an alternative system of classification examines the types of problems that different platforms can solve. (more)

Crowdfunding in Europe: Determinants of Platform Creation Across Countries
Europe is an interesting context to study the evolution of the crowdfunding industry because of its heterogeneity. Country-level characteristics like population and national entrepreneurial rates vary widely, and influence the development of crowdfunding platforms. (more)

Democratizing Innovation and Capital Access: The Role of Crowdfunding
Historically, the choice of which inventions become commercialized has been very undemocratic. Could crowdfunding platforms democratize the process of commercialization and financing for would-be entrepreneurs and creators? (more)

What Goes Around Comes Around? Rewards as Strategic Assets in Crowdfunding
Reward-based crowdfunding is an increasingly popular means of raising funds on platforms like Kickstarter. Choosing the right type of reward can have a big impact on the success of a project. (more)

Are Syndicates the Killer App of Equity Crowdfunding?
Oftentimes, it is hard for investors to overcome problems of information asymmetry when evaluating potential investments. Can the syndicate model, pioneered in venture capital, solve the same problem in the crowdfunding space? (more)

The Present and Future of Crowdfunding
A group of experts discuss their thoughts about the current state of crowdfunding, its future, important emerging trends in the field, and the opportunities and challenges facing investors and entrepreneurs in the space. (more)