Equity crowdfunding platforms from 10 different European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and UK) met last week in Paris to discuss the opportunities offered by this new form of capital allocation which, according to the World Bank, will be worth more than $92 billion by 2025, more than twice the current global venture capital market.
The operators decided to create a European business association , the European Equity Crowdfunding Association (EECA), devoted to the emerging industry of equity based crowdfunding. The new initiative will strive to develop pan-European standards at on transparency and best practices. The industry leaders want to inform users (both project owners and contributors), to protect contributors from fraud and to ensure an adequate complaint handling mechanism.
Equity crowdfunding is widely viewed as a new and disruptive financial tool, which will play an essential role in financing small-to-medium enterprises and filling the financial gap for new enterprises.
The Founding members of the European Equity Crowdfunding Association opened the organization to any operator from the European Economic Area and to service providers, who will join as aggregated members; operators from Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden, announced their intention to join. The country with the largest number of joining industry members was France with 12 followed by Italy with 9.
In most EU countries, equity platforms are fully regulated professional intermediaries under the control of national financial authorities.
“We are very happy about the enthusiasm of the industry – said Bruno Schneider Le Saout and Alessandro M. Lerro, promoters of the initiative on behalf of the founding members – and we are sure that this group will create much value for the stakeholders and the investors.”