The University of Cambridge & University of Chicago Join Forces to Launch the 2015 Americas Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Chicago Booth School of Business are jointly launching the 2015 Americas Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey. This survey will be the first comprehensive and empirical assessment of crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending (marketplace lending) and other forms of alternative finance across North, Central and South America.

Robert Wardrop 1According to Robert Wardrop, the Executive Director of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance:

“The structural changes brought about by the digitization of the finance industry has the potential to flatten the provisioning of finance to both individuals and businesses, around the world.  There is wide disparity in the development of alternative finance between countries.  We hope this comprehensive benchmarking study will provide us with industry insight which will lead to more informed academic research and evidence-based policy-making.”

cambridgeThe survey is supported by the IDB, BDC, KPMG and a number of highly influential industry research partners.  Major alternative finance industry associations and organizations in the United States, Canada and across Central and South America, including the LendIt/Lend Academy, Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA), National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA), Orchard, Crowdnetic as well as Queen’s University’s and the Impact Group are helping to make this ground-breaking research possible, with Crowdfund Insider as the research media partner. The 2015 Americas Alternative Finance Benchmarking Research will launch on the 15th of October and closes on the 16th of November.

Cambridge Chicago Supporting Organizations

Alternative finance encompasses innovative financial instruments and distributive channels that have emerged outside of the traditional financial system. This industry is experiencing rapid growth in the Americas. The study will assess the activities of equity- and reward-based crowdfunding, peer-to-peer consumer and business lending (i.e. Marketplace Lending) and invoice trading, which are directly connecting lenders to borrowers, raising venture capital for start-ups, funding the creative industries and creating new ways for individuals and institutions to control how and to whom money is distributed, lent and invested.

The University of Cambridge and its research partners have successfully produced high-impact benchmarking and industry reports that documented the rise and development of alternative finance in the UK and Continental Europe, however there remains a substantial lack of empirically-based academic research that focuses on the Americas. This study will serve to bridge that gap, and provide reliable and up-to-date market data to inform evidence-based policymaking and regulation.Bob Rosenberg

“We are pleased to be Cambridge University’s Western Hemisphere partner and to contribute to the understanding of this rapidly growing source of liquidity and opportunity,” adds Bob Rosenberg,   Chicago Booth School of Business, adjunct faculty and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at the Polsky Center.

Chicago Booth Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and InnovationThe results of the survey will be made available free to the public in the 2015 Americas Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, due to be published in early 2016. All findings shall be presented in aggregated form either by country, region or alternative financing models and no individual platform/provider’s data will be divulged.

All crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and other alternative finance providers, operating in North, Central and South America, are invited to contribute to the benchmarking survey below. All participating platforms will be prominently acknowledged in the benchmarking report, with their respective logos displayed.

Main benchmarking survey link:


The study is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), KPMG and a number of leading industry research partners

Cambridge Booth Crowdfund Insider ResearchCrowdfund Insider has joined with The University of Cambridge and University of Chicago Booth School of Business to be the exclusive media partner on this benchmarking research. This interview is one of a series that includes multiple, in-depth interviews with international thought leaders and alternative finance industry pioneers from the collaborating associations.

For benchmarking research enquiries please contact:

Dr. Olena Verbenko, Chicago Booth School of Business (

Tania Ziegler, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Cambridge Judge Business School (

About the University of Cambridge and the University Chicago  

University of Cambridge 

This research is led by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Cambridge Judge Business School. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is an international, interdisciplinary, academic research institute, dedicated to the study of alternative finance, which includes financial channels and instruments that emerge outside of the traditional financial system (i.e. regulated banks and capital markets).

Examples of alternative finance channels are online ‘marketplaces’ such as equity and rewards-based crowdfunding, peer-to-peer consumer/business lending, and third-party payment platforms. Alternative instruments include SME mini-bonds, private placements and other ‘shadow banking’ mechanisms, as well as social impact bonds and community shares used by non-profit enterprises and alternative currencies. The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is consistently ranked among the top five business schools in the world. The school’s faculty includes renowned scholars and its graduates occupy key positions in the US and worldwide. The Chicago Approach to Management Education is distinguished by how it leverages fundamental knowledge, its rigor, and its practical application to business challenges.

The school offers full and part-time MBA programs, a PhD program, open enrollment executive education and custom corporate education with campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong.

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