Crowdfunding Panel: Big Things in 2013, Education Needed

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Crowdfund Texas featured a panel focused on forecasting crowdfunding’s success. The panel featured plenty of optimism, but was also peppered with words of warning for an industry in a holding pattern as rules and regulations move glacially toward completion.

Dara Albright of the NowStreet Journal believes 2013 is the year crowdfunding will become a household name. She tipped her cap to the media’s importance in spreading the word about this new form of capital formation, predicting “the media is going to start to wake up” to crowdfunding soon.

“Without education, crowdfunding could be the wild wild west. With education, crowdfunding could be explosive.”
– Rodney Sampson

Albright believes investor mindsets are changing and expects Wall Street to diminish in significance. “Now you have this opportunity to reach out directly to your friends and your business colleagues for funding,” she said.

Rodney Sampson, an author and serial entrepreneur from Atlanta, also believes crowdfunding can be a big success.  However, he warns that education is a necessary ingredient as stakeholders try to build a robust and sophisticated environment for capital formation. “Without education, crowdfunding could be the wild west. With education, crowdfunding could be explosive,” he said.

Jed Cohen, founder and CEO of RocketHub, reminded attendees about the important of a robust network in their efforts for crowdfunding success.

“Everybody has a crowd,” Cohen said. He urged crowdfunders to consider whether or not that crowd is online. “People don’t find success accidentally.” He encouraged attendees to build social capital and then leverage that capital in their efforts to acquire funding. “Every one of us has those connections out there, we just need to find them,” he said.

Zak Cassady-Dorion of Crowdfund Capital Advisors believes crowdfunding will be transformative for capital markets, but  he does not believe crowdfunding will hurt Wall Street, VCs or angel investors. Zak was part of the original team that drafted the Startup Exemption, a ten-point framework that later served as a template for the JOBS act.

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