Crowdfunding is coming of age.
Crowdfunding is at turn point from being “alternative” towards being “normal”. This is a good development as it should unlock more funding as more people, who might still consider crowdfunding a bit exotic, will join. In addition, normalisation indicates that there are structured rules that protect and develop the normalised way of funding. Normalisation also suggests something is a common practise, meaning crowdfunding will be used on a large scale and environments won’t hesitate to join a crowdfunding project.
The Dutch Crowdfunding Awards help to increase the speed at which crowdfunding is becoming normal.
Why an Award? That’s not ‘normal’
During my work as a crowdfunding campaign manager at Symbid I felt the need to convince other entrepreneurs, the investors and the general public of why crowdfunding is so important. Not only by telling them that it’s important but in a way that would showcase the meaning and impact of a campaign for a small company: “Look what they did, that’s amazing!”. You don’t want to do that one entrepreneur, one investor or one accountant at a time: you want to show the world what it means to run a great campaign!
At first it would be a small Symbid-only award but soon enough I realised if we’d really wanted to educate the larger public, we’d have to involve all platforms. Not only would this increase the diversity of inspiring campaigns, we’d also be able to create more traction and increase the speed at which crowdfunding would be normalised. So with Douw & Koren en One Planet Crowd, we translated the Symbid-only Award to an industry broad concept, the Dutch Crowdfunding Awards. And support has been immense!
Support within the industry
In order to create an industry broad support we pulled together with the Industry Association Crowdfunding “Netherlands” (consisting of Douw & Koren, Geldvoorelkaar, OnePlanetCrowd, , Collin Crowdfund, Horeca Crowdfunding, The Dutch Deal, Kapitaal op Maat and us), in which the major crowdfundingplatforms participate as well as Dutch Crowdfunding Consultancy company Douw&Koren. What did we do?
Balancing out the differences and finding common ground
It required us to make a balanced valuation of the platforms and corresponding type of campaigns. For example, if you’d want to measure the success of a campaign, it seems logical to look at the running time in relation to the amount raised. But a pre-sales campaign (via e.g. Kickstarter) if very different from a loan-based crowdfunding campaign, which again is very different from an equity campaign. And rewarding an award per platform wouldn’t help, as some forms of crowdfunding are scarcely represented. E.g. Symbid is the only equity-crowdfunding platform, so we’d be sure ‘win’ something.
Right now we’ve designed 4 categories: The Best Crowdfunding Campaign of 2014; Crowdfunding Pioneer Award (for awards that highlighted niches); The Crowd Power Award (for extreme engagement of the crowd) and the Fusion Finance Award (for hybrid funding). In addition, there’s also an Audience Award that allows the crowd to participate and voice their winner.
The exercise of coming up with categories that would be able to compare different forms of crowdfunding and different types of crowdfunding really offered to experience of “team bonding” within the industry. Everybody wants to win an award, but this development required us to pull together as an industry wide team. Turns out, competing platforms can make a great team! It has been a great experience to pull together across the industry and create a common ground which we as platforms believe will offer a better, more sophisticated way to present alternative funding cases.
A great industry deserves a great prize!
The Dutch Crowdfunding Awards focus on putting forward the best and the most supported crowdfunding cases in the Dutch industry. Though the Dutch crowdfunding might be relatively small in terms of funding raised, the growth is enormous: from €2,5 million ($2.75 million) in 2011 to over €100 million ($110 million) in April 2015. If we look at the involvement of interested people, The Netherlands are on top in the list of countries that Google most on “crowdfunding” (the little blue dot, that’s us!). On top of that, The Netherlands are considered a perfect pilot market: if you can make it here, European expansion is the next step. The expectation is that in the next 2-5 years, more countries are bound to follow with their own Awards and we’re happy to be one of the first!
When is it going to happen and what’s the result?
On May 12th in the Amsterdam ArenA, some 700 interested people will gather for the Dutch Crowdfunding Awards. So what’s it going to make possible?
Major attention for key role examples in the industry. A showcase of what alternative finance means for real entrepreneurs. Highlighting the fact that crowdfunding is for social projects only. A sign for traditional institutions that we’re evolving into something that is big, serious and well received by both investors and entrepreneurs. Will it work?
I think so! Thanks to the great effort of all members of the Industry Association, a grant from the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been given to the Industry Association last year. This grant is aimed at promoting crowdfunding and informing the public, entrepreneurs and investors, and financial advisors so that we can build the crowdfunding industry together. The Dutch Crowdfunding Awards are the cherry on the cake that’ll help showcase the power of the crowd!
Special thanks to:
Wendy de Boer (projectmanager Douw & Koren) for her excellent operational skills and pulling the cart;
Marieke Kamphuis (managing director One Planet Crowd) for her great input and critical comments during our meetings;
The Industry Association for making the Dutch Crowdfunding Awards a reality on Crowdfunding Day 2015: Edwin Adams (GeldVoorElkaar), Maarten de Jong (One Planet Crowd), Jeroen ter Huurne (Collin Crowdfund), Keimpe Tuinenga (Horeca Crowdfunding), Dirk Neerhoff (The Dutch Deal), Pim van de Velde (Kapitaal op Maat), Maarten van der Sanden (Symbid), Simon Douw & Gijsbert Koren (Douw & Koren).
Ludwine Dekker has been coaching entrepreneurs in executing their digital fund raising for three years. As a digital marketing specialist, she specializes in entrepreneurship, technology and fund-raising. As a campaign manager at Symbid she strategically manages the entrepreneur’s campaigns and requirements, organizes pitch events, frequently writes for several platforms, and gives workshops. You may follow Ludwine on Twitter @Luudwine