New Routes to Funding – Why I Wrote the Book

I was asked: How did the book come about? Why did you write it?

It has my name on it, but in truth it’s something of a team effort.

Fundamentally I wrote it because I need it, my team needs it and the world needs it, I think. I’ve been a professional technologist for almost 40 years now so I’ve seen and been a part of each successive wave of disruptive technology. From mainframe computers transforming banks through, PCs, mobiles and smartphone, the Internet and the web and now Fintech transforming the environment for us all. It’s now clear to me that we are now facing the biggest disruption yet.

The nature of work and the concept of the job is about to be not just disrupted but deconstructed by global tectonic forces beyond the control of governments or anyone else. The impact of AI, bots and robots, building on existing technologies, especially the Internet, will mean that jobs as we’ve known them – and anything remotely resembling ‘full employment’ – will soon be a thing of the past. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen pretty suddenly – and large chunks of the population are going to need to be in a position to create their own, and other’s, livelihoods.

Existing forms of funding are ill adapted and can’t cope with this. Thankfully, along with this there are these new routes to funding startups as well as expansion. But they’re not widely understood. In fact they’re very widely misunderstood.

I recently sat through a webinar by an eminent professor of finance who ably demonstrated that he really does not understand the innovation involved or its implications. Which is indicative of the fact that the more you’re steeped in the traditional modes of finance the harder it is to get your head around this new stuff because it confounds your expectations.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The more you’re steeped in traditional finance the harder it is to get your head around this new stuff #Fintech” quote=”The more you’re steeped in traditional finance the harder it is to get your head around this new stuff #Fintech”]

In practical terms right now this means that business advice if not actually misleading is far from complete because most business advisers have yet to get their head around one of the major sources of finance for startups and growth: Crowdfunding. Not just on its own but also how it can enable other forms of funding and finance.

This is not very surprising however because the terminology of crowdfunding is so confused and confusing and everyone in the different crowdfunding ghettos talks as if their part is the whole thing and, well, confuses the hell out of everyone.

Plus no one has taken the time and trouble to provide access to finance professionals with the insights and evidence they need in order not just to understand what crowdfunding, in all it’s forms, is but to justify them placing confidence in it and being able to talk competently about it.

These are professional people who need the facts and that data presented in a framework (and with clear language) that enables them to understand and be able to advise in this area with confidence. They need evidence and a coherent picture, not just opinion or enthusiasm. That’s what we’ve attempted to provide.

We’ve tried to clarify what the different forms of crowdfunding are, how they work and what they’re good for. As well as how they can work together and with longer established forms of funding and finance. In a form that’s understandable and approachable without the need to be a domain expert.

I’ve taken pains to tease out the precise nature of the innovations that have happened over the last decade or so – how, when and why – and provide language and clear definitions to help clear as much of the fog away as possible.

I’ve identified ‘seed crowdfunding’ as the key innovation (all the others have precursors and are really hybrids with an online form of these) and provided a new model, called the Crowdonomics MINT, based on research and the data, to explain how and why it works, as well as how and why it’s so different. It’s not perfect but I hope it takes us, a few steps at least, forward – and that it will also be valuable to my colleagues and peers as well as helping with the planning and execution of campaigns.

My team and I see, and collect, all the data on hundreds of new crowdfunding campaigns every day – over 500,000 now – and it’s clear to me that we’ve reached the end of the early-adopter phase. If we are to meet the needs of the rising generation over the coming years we need large numbers of people, especially professionals, to understand this and be able to help those who are not the early-adopters – the majority – to get access to this new way of creating products, services and business… and livelihoods.

This is our contribution to that effort.

Barry James is a serial entrepreneur and technologist, writer and conference creator who founded TheCrowdfundingCenter, now a global resource for #Crowdfunding, & FundingHubs an innovation to support entrepreneurs globally. He has a long history in #Fintech stretching back to the late 1970s. Founder of the UK’s first national conference, Crowdfunding:Deep Impact, he has been at the forefront of the development of Fintech and crowdfunding in the UK, and internationally, since its earliest days helping found the UK’s All-Party-Parliamentary-Group on the subject and, founding #RegTech, influencing the nature and direction of regulation. As a pioneering systems and ecosystem architect, he and his team remain active in creating new models and new technology, including the creation of more than 100 funding hubs worldwide. Barry’s new book, New Routes to Funding, is available here.

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