How much do you know about Crowdfunding? This was the context of a survey conducted by Crowdfunding Professional Association in conjunction with Crowdfund Capital Advisors. They asked 442 entrepreneurs, investors and intermediaries about their interest in crowdfunding, and also about themselves. What they discovered was encouraging as to the level of interest and how much capital they wish to invest, but there still is confusion about all the “CF” buzz words and how specifically equity-based crowdfunding platforms will differ from things like the popular platform Kickstarter.
Since the survey was hosted by Crowdfunding Professional Association, many of the responders (68 percent) were already very familiar with crowdfunding. However, when asked to rank their understanding on a scale of 1 to 10 as to the difference between what is allowed under current crowdfunding, and how it differs from what we will have in 2013 under the JOBS Act, 36.64 percent ranked themselves as a 5 or less, showing there is a real opportunity to educate the public. Fortunately, a majority of those sampled self-reported a high level of understanding of the implications of this new law, with a full 20.14 percent ranking themselves as having an understanding of 10.
“The general awareness of investment crowdfunding has increased substantially since April but there is still a meaningful opportunity to help entrepreneurs and investors better understand both the nuances of the JOBS Act and early-stage investing in general,” said Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest, an equity-based platform and a leader within the Crowdfunding Professional Association. “Both of these objectives are critical in order to ensure that the investment crowdfunding industry takes off with the massive potential it possesses.”
Distinguishing between token crowdfunding and equity or debt-based crowdfund investing could pose a challenge for new investors, and it is important that people understand these differences if they are to meet their investment objectives. Token crowdfunding, the current model, only allows crowdfunding campaigns to reward donors with gifts, free samples of their product , or other perks. In contrast, under the JOBS Act, the crowd will be able to be full-fledged investors with an equity stake in the company and a right to a share of the profits. A third popular kind of crowdfunding is debt-based, which allows investors to provide small loans to entrepreneurs similar to the kind of micro lending we have seen used for international development from people like Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank.