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The Current State of Crowdfunding in Europe

We contributed to the freely available Current State of Crowdfunding in Europe Report. It coincides with a call for better standards of data sharing and an agreed taxonomy. We agree!

Cover Current State Crowdfunding EuropeThe report, which is free to download, was created by the CrowdfundingHub in Amsterdam and incorporated contributions from  some 30 collaborators of which twintangibles was proud and honoured to be one. Setting out a comprehensive overview of the state of crowdfunding in a range of different countries it is an impressive and valuable source of information and a testament to the growing importance of crowdfunding and alternative finance across a great deal of Europe and the wider world.

The report makes a number of overarching observations including the importance of a positive regulatory stance in the growth of crowdfunding and presents a  general upbeat and optimistic view of the possibilities of crowdfunding.

Another key observation is that of the need to create more a more defined  taxonomy for the sector and better standards of data sharing/reporting. I would wholeheartedly agree with both of these items. This has ever greater relevance as increasing numbers of old world finance operators ride on the coattails of crowdfunding to popularise new product offerings which have neither the  awareness nor the benefits of crowd finance. This is a problem as it distorts people’s understanding of the sector and, more importantly perhaps, deprives the users of the specific and distinctive benefits that crowdfunding brings. At the same time many platforms  exaggerate and distort their performance to position themselves more positively in an ever increasingly competitive marketplace and, in so doing, make the reporting of activity levels unclear and less than useful.  It is essential for consumers, researchers, administrators, regulators and indeed all participants in the market place,  to get access to a more coherent and comparable set of data based around shared standards in the interests of transparency, choice, measurement and practicality. Some kind of Dublin Core for data exchange and a manifesto for the crowd defining what is required for inclusion in the pantheon of crowdfunding, and the wider alternative finance sectors is a call we would echo and support.

What we would say in addition is that it cannot be left to vested interests or partisan actors to do this work as in such an immature market it would be unlikely to succeed! It might be that regulators might have a role to play in bringing this about but as few if any have any grasp of the subject matter they can’t operate alone and they must avoid being captured by lobby groups masquerading as sector representatives.

The Only Way is Ethics

The Only Way is Ethics

Glasgow is playing host to a week long festival looking at ethics and in particular their importance and significance in a business context. I am pleased to say I  shall be speaking at  and event called “How to fund your business ethically – a look at funding, finance and investment’”

The session takes place on Friday 4th December 2 – 5pm at CitizenM Hotel, 60 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G2 3BW

Featured speakers including myself will be

Kevin Cadman, Chief Executive of Grameen in the UK  bringing the worldwide renowned ‘group lending’ Grameen Bank methodology  to the West of Scotland and then the UK.

Kenny MacLeod, Chief Executive Officer of Scotwest Credit Union with 30,000 members and £60m in assets one of the biggest credit unions in Britain.

Julian Parrott, founding Partner of Ethical Futures providing ethical financial planning advice to private clients, trusts & charities throughout Scotland and who currently sits on the ethical oversight committee of Parmenion Investment Management.

This promises to be a fascinating session and I am really looking forward to exploring particularly the ethical dimensions of alternative finance, and it a privileged to be asked to participate alongside such exceptional panellists. As I have said many times before, by bringing a wider group of participants into the investment and financing process we can and should embrace a much broader range of motivations for participants.

The event is free and I encourage to book early if you want to attend.

Book at http://how-to-fund-your-business-ethically.eventbrite.co.uk

When is a Crowd not a Crowd?

I was speaking at an event recently, sharing the platform with an angel investor and discussing the relative merits of the many sources of funding and backing available to entrepreneurs. My position, as you might expect, was to set out the specific and unique benefits of crowdfunding as a source of funding. In describing the Long Tail model and the characteristics of the crowd as a source of insight and validation I wanted to convey how the crowd is the source of the additional value by virtue of its distinctive qualities.

But I failed.

I know that I failed as my Angel colleague, who spoke after me, went on to emphasise that Angel deals can have a large number of participants and are therefore “a form of crowdfunding”.

Well not all crowds are equal and so, sadly, my Angel was wrong and here is why.

Size matters in certain circumstances of course, but it not just a numbers game. The key aspect which makes the crowd so valuable is diversity. This encompasses a diversity of insight, expectation, motivation, location and pretty much any other characteristic you could imagine. This is the key.

A crowd of Angels is unlikely to bring that breadth. In terms of their expectation of return, the metrics of assessment, perception of risk, the perspective of the opportunity are likely to be relatively common. I would hesitate to accuse it of “group think” or clones but the truth is it isn’t a crowd in the sense that we use it in describing a crowd in crowdfunding.

In the same way many “crowdfunding” platforms are not really crowdfunding platforms, they just describe themselves that way for the opportunistic benefit of being associated with a relatively high profile topic. If the platform does not welcome and embrace the crowd in all that it does then it is not crowdfunding and the projects will not receive the full benefit available via crowdfunding.

Is this important? Yes it is. The promise of crowdfunding is not that it is just another source of the same old money. The promise of crowdfunding is that it is different money, better money, and that it comes with many additional benefits. As I explain in my forth coming book “Crowdfunding To Win”, and in the recently launched Udemy course of the same name, to really see the full benefit in crowdfunding, to truly win at it, it is important that you both understand these unique benefits and target them as appropriate as part of a campaigns targets and that the funding needs to be flexible, responsive and, in some cases, subordinate to those wider aims.

 

Moving from Reward success to Equity – An interview with Derek O’Sullivan of Thermo Tent

Moving from Reward success to Equity – An interview with Derek O’Sullivan of Thermo Tent

A few months ago we interviewed Derek O’Sullivan of Thermo Tent prior to their launch of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Derek promised to return and tell us how it went and what he learned.

Good to his word we caught up with Derek after a successful campaign to raise 50,000 Euro. He tells us what went well, what advantages he has found from the campaign success and he shares with us the news that they now plan to run an equity crowdfund on the Seedrs platform

Download this episode (right click and save)

Find out more about Thermo Tent at ThermoTent

The incidental music used in the podcast is
“Beach Bum” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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