The University of Cambridge Launches the 2016-17 European and Africa & Middle East Alternative Finance Industry Surveys

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School has launched its third European benchmarking survey and the second survey for Africa and the Middle East. The two separate research initiatives will review the emerging alternative finance markets in each of theses regions. CCAF has become the most prominent researcher regarding the digitization of finance having published reports on all regions around the world.

During 2017, the CCAF and its partners published studies on Asia Pacific, the Americas and the UK alternative finance markets covering date from 2016. The forthcoming surveys on Europe and Africa & the Middle East build upon their multi-year research agenda to provide the best available source of industry data on a country-by-country basis. The quantified data is widely referenced and, importantly, used by policymakers as a guide to the evolving alternative finance market.

The CCAF defines alternative finance as innovative financial instruments and distributive channels that have emerged outside of the traditional financial system. This includes crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending activities.

The survey data will be collected directly from over 350 alternative finance platforms across 90+ countries in Europe and Africa & the Middle East with the aim to capture over 90% of visible online alternative finance market.

In addition to exploring the development of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending over the course of 2016, these reports will also cover specific key market trends and developments within each respective region.

Both the 2016/17 European Alternative Finance Industry Survey and the 2016/17 Africa & Middle East Alternative Finance Industry Survey will remain open until the end of July.

The surveys will aim to collect aggregated alternative finance market data (by country and model) relating to:

  • Annual transaction volumes from the various platforms
  • Geographic distribution
  • Most funded sectors, total startup and business funding
  • Female market participation rates
  • Proportions of institutional funding
  • Cross-border transactions
  • Industry perceptions of national regulations and industry risks

Importantly for survey participants, the findings will be presented in aggregate form either by country, region or alternative finance models and no individual platform data will be divulged.

The results of the survey will be made freely available for all in the two industry reports and are expected to be published in the third quarter of 2017.

This year, the CCAF announced that Dr. Rotem Shneor, from the University of Agder School of Business, and Karsten Wenzlaff, from the University of Hamburg, are also joining our core research team to bring their industry expertise and academic experience into our 3rd annual European study.

Shneor said he was delighted and honored to join the CCAF research team;

“The report provides quality well-researched and comprehensive information for anyone seeking to understand market dynamics, developments, challenges and opportunities in the alternative finance industry.”

The CCAF has garnered the participation and support of the most prominent members of the alternative finance industry and has compiled an abbreviated list of international endorsements regarding their market leading research.

“From the African Crowdfunding Association point of view we know that crowdfunding can play a vital role in the development of SME’s and thus drive economic growth. Africa is full of innovation and access to the internet will give many diligent and persistent entrepreneurs access to opportunities. Now is the time to drive consumer knowledge of crowdfunding and the use of online platforms as a safe way to build a community and raise money.” Kevin Allen, Africa Crowdfunding Association.


“AlliedCrowds is pleased to support the launch of the 2nd Africa & Middle East Alternative Finance Survey to review market data in 2016. The macro-level national data provided by the CCAF is a vitally important data source that can help inform key stakeholders across the alternative finance industry. This CCAF research compliments the AlliedCrowds Capital Finder which together can ultimately help to increase awareness of the range of financing options available to entrepreneurs and businesses in the developing world.” Lars Kroijer, AlliedCrowds.


“ANACOFI is pleased to be once again partner for this “European alternative finance report” and is proud to be one of the key research partners. In France, the alternative finance sector is becoming more and more mature and is experiencing significant growth. EU and other actors need actually more data and information in order to better understand the reality of Alternative Finance. For those reasons it is meaningful for us to support the University of Cambridge in its endeavors.” David Charlet, ANACOFI.


“Alternative finance in Poland is finally maturing and becomes a real choice for great companies and project creators. Nevertheless I see a strong need for international research and exchange of best practices provided by experts in this field. Common efforts to build a sustainable environment for financing of high-growth companies are very important, which makes next edition of Alternative Finance Industry Survey a foundation for the future.” Karol Król, Collaborative Economy Centre.


“Alternative funding can not only improve access to development funds, but can also test the products in the real market environment. Research and promotion of alternative funding contributes to its development in practice, therefore CROWD-FUND-PORT project supports research activities of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.” Darko Fercej, Crowd Fund Port.


“The reports from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance provide an excellent survey about the crowdinvesting industry in Europe and around the world. The Italian Observatory on crowdinvesting is pleased to cooperate with Cambridge University, as to provide valuable information and analyses both to practitioners and policymakers fostering the development of alternative finance for the competitiveness of SMEs.” Giancarlo Giudici, DIG School of Management.


“Crowdfunding in the energy access sector continues to be a very dynamic area of activity. We have seen a series of new initiatives launching recently and know of others preparing to launch. There is growing interest in the potential of the crowd to help finance energy access businesses, and up to date data on current trends will be of real value.” Simon Collings, Energy4Impact.



“ECN welcomes the research activities of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, now in its third year, establishing a reliable benchmark of the alternative finance sector. We need more transparent and recurring data on the operations of debt-based crowdfunding, but also the riskier securities-based crowdfunding operations across Europe in order to establish a professional and sustainable industry.” Oliver Gajda, European Crowdfunding Network.


“FPF is proud to support the excellent report realized by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Each year, this analysis shows the diversity of the industry and the dynamic across Europe of our sector. The report is not just about the amounts raised in each European country but gives also inputs on the investors’ behaviour, the perception and the evolution of the national regulations, and a prospective of the alternative finance sector. Alternative finance is still a drop in the ocean of finance and this report contributes to promote the sector and encourages Europeans to take part in this new way of financing and dedicate a part of their savings in real economy.” Florence de Maupeou, Financement Participatif France.


“FSD Africa is an enthusiastic supporter of CCAF’s work to shine a light on the shape of these nascent but fast growing alternative finance markets. The report provides a baseline and greater visibility that help to build the sinews, enabling policies and understanding that will provide a foundation for further growth – the benefits of which have the potential to be shared by all. We look forward to continue to collaborate with CCAF going forwards.” Joe Huxley, FSD Africa.



“Our Association will contribute to the University of Cambridge Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, because we see the long-term evaluation of the German crowdfunding ecosystem within its European context as an important contribution to evaluation of the regulative framework in Germany.” Uli Fricke, German Crowdfunding Association.



“After 3 years of test with innovative companies and a double digit growth, from 2017 equity crowdfunding is open to any SME: fashion, tourism and food companies are the next investment target for Italian investors, already very active on the UK market.Meanwhile, lending and invoice trading are growing in terms of volumes and operators, with new offerings for business borrowers.” Alessandro Lerro, Italian Equity Crowdfunding Association.


“The work that the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance does is critical for the growth and well being of the industry. Their reports are the most detailed, most accurate and well researched of any being produced today. I regularly refer people to these reports who want to understand the scope and scale of alternative finance in any of the major regions of the world”. Peter Renton, Lend Academy.


“We are happy to follow a growing tradition in contribution to this important report. It has become the backbone and main source of statistics and facts about European alternative finance in general, and crowdfunding in particular. And as such, it has become the de-facto source for industry data, which helps all stakeholders in understanding current trends, and strategizing towards the future.” Rotem Shneor, Nordic Crowdfunding Alliance.


“The Alternative Finance industry in Spain has gone through a period of adjustment to a new regulatory framework, but it has emerged as an indisputable multi-million reality that is set to become a major financial player in the coming years”. Daniel Oliver, Spanish Crowdfunding Association. 



“In previous years, we have usually commented that the market had grown rapidly, but the absolute volumes of funding remained at a low level. This year, the Swiss crowdfunding market reached a volume of CHF 128.2m and a rapid growth is expecting to continue in 2017, reaching a transaction volume of CHF 300-400m. This compares to just under CHF 28 million in the previous year. The structure of the market has also changed greatly: as expected, real estate crowdinvesting and the financing of SMEs via crowdfunding (business crowdlending) have made considerable contributions to this growth.” Jonathan Normand, Swiss Crowdfunding Association.


“In the last year, the Crowdfunding ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe, has matured. Especially equity- and lending platforms have seen a new boost. The new edition of the Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report for Europe will show whether Eastern Europe is catching up and I am delighted to contribute to this academic study.” Karsten Wenzlaff, University of Hamburg and Expert on Crowdfunding in Central and Eastern Europe.


“CrowdfundingHub is a huge supporter for transparency and insights in the Alternative Finance industry and is supporting the European Alternative Finance benchmarking study since the first edition in 2015. Also, this year we are interested to learn about the growth of the Alternative Finance industry in Europe and we are looking forward to work closely with researchers from Cambridge University to collect and analyse the Benelux data.” Ronald Kleverlaan, CrowdfundingHub.

All participating alternative finance platforms, are invited to contribute to the survey below. All participating platforms will be kindly acknowledged in the benchmarking reports, with their respective logos displayed prominently.

Link to European Survey:

Link to Africa & Middle East Survey:

For enquiries about the Middle East & Africa Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey, please contact:


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