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An interview with Dan Marom, co-author of The Crowdfunding Revolution

An interview with Dan Marom, co-author of The Crowdfunding Revolution

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure to have a chat with Dan Marom, co-author of The Crowdfunding Revolution. He will be skyping in during our event at Social Media Week Glasgow taking place on the 28th of September at 5pm. The event will be live streamed too.


Hi Dan, thanks for taking the time to do this interview, really appreciated. You’re probably a person as well known and well published in the crowdfunding area as anybody, so we really appreciate your time. Tell us a bit about your view of crowdfunding.

Thank you for the kind words. One of the first things to note about crowdfunding is the nature of it is purely social. Kevin Lawton and I recently finalized the second edition of our book, “The Crowdfunding Revolution”, where we wrote a chapter dedicated to the idea that crowdfunding is the new “Like”.  I am of the opinion (albeit a provocative one), that companies who are looking to be “liked” on Facebook are doing yesterdays work. Why? Because “liking” a company is a passive way to engage, whereas crowdfunding is active engagement. Individuals can pick and choose the brands, initiatives, and entrepreneurs they care about, and invest in them. It is a more sophisticated and active form of engagement, engagement, and the social effects are what count.

We would echo those feelings entirely. It’s quite a profound connection that you make when you invest and you offer a level of binding to the brand and organisation or to a project in a way that is much stronger than buying a ticket.

Yes, absolutely. I find it extremely fascinating, and it is my honour to participate to Social Media Week (Glasgow), and to crowdfuture (Rome) in October to talk about this.

It will be our pleasure to have you there. When is the book actually due to come out?

The 2nd edition is forthcoming soon (this December) by McGraw-Hill.

Looking forward to that. Where did you meet Kevin Lawton, the co-author, and what prompted you to write the book in the first place?

It’s actually a funny story–despite writing a book together, Kevin and I have not yet met in person. In the book’s introduction, we discuss the global effects of crowdfunding and the manner in which the age of the internet has changed the way we interact, and we are a living, breathing example! Kevin and I are live 15,000 miles from each other, we have never met, and yet we are writing the second edition of our book! Our story is a testament to virtual cooperation.

Three years ago, while I was looking for an exciting issue to write a Phd thesis about, I wrote several pages and started to interview academic researchers. At the same time, I thought that I should write a popular science book, so I started approaching and interviewing different thought leaders in the field.  At that time, many of the current platforms were in their infancy, but I had the opportunity to interact with the different parties involved. Then I happened upon a blog post Kevin authored about trends, was intrigued by his material, and then one thing led to another and we decided to write the book together. Kevin is a fantastic guy, very smart, and is a true thought leader in this field.

That’s amazing and it’s a great testament to what’s possible now with these technical platform that are available to us (and giving that SMW’s main global theme is empowering change through collaboration there is a wonderful example of it, it’s fantastic).

Going back to the book, when writing the second edition, you must have seen quite a few changes in the 2 years since you did the first edition. Have you updated it at all and what would be the key things that are different now from when you first published? 

That is a great question. We wrote the book in mid 2010, so the landscape has changed in the past two years. The second edition has several updates. First, integrated the latest milestones of the crowdfunding scene. Second, we added several chapters that are focused on the funding campaign, with best practices, suggestions and pointers to make the book more practical.
When we started to interview the major players at the beginning of 2010, the overall crowdfunding market was very small. We have gone a long way since then and the book illustrates the metamorphosis both companies experienced.
All in all, I think that most of our predictions were actualized and we illustrated some of the future trends that we are seeing now.

The thing that I think will make huge difference is that whilst equity crowdfunding has been possible in the UK for some time with Crowdcube leading the way, and Brewdog, a Scottish craft brewery, that raised 3.5 million in equity share sales through crowdfunding, in the States this wasn’t legal. But now if the JOBS act becomes permissible then clearly there will be a massive burgeoning of the take up and popularity of equity based crowdfunding platforms.

Absolutely. Over the past three years, Kevin and I have been involved in several groups working on the regulatory aspects. We are optimistic the JOBS act will transform crowdfunding from a trend to the industry standard. While it will take time, and there will certainly be challenges, I think it will happen. I am also interested in the regulations aspect of crowdfunding. Kevin took a leading part at the work on the JOBS act, and we anticipate the SEC regulations will be impactful on the future of crowdfunding in a positive way.

I think you’re right. (A law firm here in Glasgow just launched their own equity based crowdfunding platform, it’s really starting to take off over here too.) The thing that I find fascinating is that much of this equity based crowdfunding will be first round, so the traditional capital market will get involved at the second and third round funding. I’ll be really interested to see if and how these traditional capital market players will come get to grips with the fact that they’re second-round investing in a company that has already sold 10 per cent of their equities to people that are out of their traditional environment.

Great point. I believe hybrid mechanisms are the future. The crowd itself will find it hard to succeed with a start-up company or any other initiative alone without some institutional money, and the classical financing intermediators are currently resisting to any change. There is  tension between these mechanisms, and I think we will see a lot of change in the next five years. There are no alternatives to these hybrid mechanisms. It is also a major business opportunity, and has serious potential to be a gold mine. The bridging between financial institutions to crowdfunding platforms and players could be a significant area of growth in the near future.

Thank you very much, Dan. 

Glasgow is going social again

Glasgow is going social again

As you may have heard, Social Media Week is coming back to Glasgow 24th – 28th September. Looks like Glasgow did a nice job last year, give yourselves a round of applause. And we at twintangibles are happy to be part of it again this year for another week of creativity, collaboration, innovation, connectivity and sharing with a global audience.

Last year many of you didn’t know us and what we it is that we do. ‘Event organisers’ was probably the most popular guess. By now we hope you have a clearer idea, not only of what twintangibles is, but especially of the connection we have with this global event.

But in case you don’t know here is a quick review. We first got involved with Social Media Week because we liked its vision and objectives – a worldwide event to explore the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. At twintangibles we have always focused our work on assisting organisations to understand, identify and create value from the opportunities presented by Social Media and the mindset that underpins it.

For us it’s always been important to help people understand how social technologies have revolutionised the way we interact with the world and how we relate to it, both individually and collectively. We need to constantly remind both ourselves and others that new generations will have never known the world without the “social“ and their attitudes and mental processes are shaped by and through these new technologies. This presents us with challenges and tremendous opportunity to re-think our approaches to almost every aspect of our daily lives. Understanding the diversity of application of these technologies is crucial. Day after day we encounter interesting initiatives in all sectors, students doing the most innovative research, and we hear of innovative projects we could have never thought of, empowered by the use of social technologies. Everything is connected by one only common denominator: social media influence and empowerment.

Social Media Week is the perfect “event” to showcase the diverse application of Social Media not least because it is crowdsourced, emergent and created by you, individually and all together. And it’s an event that not only demonstrates diversity and innovation around the globe, but also inspires us to be even more creative, to think differently, and to connect all the points of a global social world. It also encourages us to think big: anything is possible. We can reinvent ourselves and be whoever we want, connect and participate as never before through the power of digital technologies to liberated voices, talents, distribution, capital. Social Media Week is an amazing window on to all this, and we are delighted and honoured to be part of it again along with all of you.

As curators, we will do our best to ensure that Glasgow adds something of great value to the global conversation that will be going on in that week around the theme ‘empowering change through collaboration‘. This is the 2012 theme devised by non other than the Global Curator of Social Media Week Don Tapscott who we had the honour of having as our closing keynote speaker last year.

Another reason why we decided to put Glasgow forward again this year is because we know we can count even more on your support, collaboration and help. On Tuesday after the first ‘soft’ announcement was made that Glasgow will be one of the participating cities, we quickly noticed a good “buzz” on twitter. It’s all very exciting already and we are really looking forward to the 2nd of May when the full line up of cities will be announced and we can begin the process of building a fantastic week with you. If you want to get involved or to know more about this global event as it emerges, go to SMW Glasgow website or email us here.

Daniela & Tim

It’s Social Media Week again!

It’s Social Media Week again!

Feels like yesterday that Glasgow was buzzing, tweeting and talking all about Social Media Week 2011.
Now it’s time for another SMW! From this morning to Friday, another 12 cities, including Tokyo, Singapore, Hamburg, Paris, and NYC are going to live the wonderful experience that Glasgow lived six months ago. The UK hub this time will be London, and we wish all the best to the amazing team at Chinwag who are coordinating things in an excellent way!

After the great time we had last year, we thought we couldn’t really miss SMW this time. Even if good part of it will be livestreamed, we wanted to be part of it again as close as we could, that’s why we’re going to London this week, with some of Social Media Glasgow partners.

We will be at the Hub Westminster this Thursday, the 16th of February, from 6pm for  Socially Scotland, a collaborative event with twintangibles, Inner Ear & KILTR to celebrate the impact of Social Media Week in Glasgow and Scotland’s growing digital community, highlighting some of the creative output from schemes initiated during Social Media Week Glasgow, and reviewing the growing opportunities developing in Scotland.

We will share some of the highlights of the week and present the projects and initiatives born as spinoffs from SMWGla. We will also unveil some interesting figures and stats regarding Social Media Week Glasgow: who attended, what sectors were most represented, what the hot topics were, and so on. Here’s a taste of it, some voxpops from the SMWGla review night we organised last November (thanks to the great Inner Ear team):

Creative content communications company Inner Ear will talk about some of the projects they showcased during Social Media Week, including the company’s long running alternative, underground music internet radio station, Radio Magnetic and new streetwise audio walking tours producers Walking Heads. They’ll also present the results of a collaborative spinoff from SMW Glasgow: Spokenherd, a crowdsourced audiobook.

Kiltr, the rising niche network for anyone with an interest in Scotland, will take the opportunity to meet its members and discuss the latest developments of the network including the forthcoming launch of version one.

Scottish craft beer, generously offered by WEST brewery and Ayr Brewing Company, and ‘Scotland’s flavourite’ tea cakes and biscuits offered by Tunnock’s, will be available throughout the event.

Socially Scotland will be a networking opportunity for all Scots in London and for anyone interested in Scotland to get a flavour of what is happening North of the border.

The official hashtag for the event is #smwldngla – Please use it to connect and network!

Join us, be part of it again!

Our Crowdfunding Seminar at Social Media Week London

Our Crowdfunding Seminar at Social Media Week London

Our last few posts have been all about crowdfunding,  a phenomenon that is picking up pace the world over. The proposed changes in legislation on crowdfunding for equity before the Senate in the USA, if passed, will probably give it another big push. Crowdfunding is set to become a common and effective approach to funding for the future, so why not learn a bit more about it? It’s never too early to be ready for the next “big thing” in the social web.

We help organisations to understand, identify and create value from the opportunities presented by Social Media and the mindset that underpins it, and our advice on crowdfunding is part of that. Crowdfunding is very rooted in the dynamics of Social Media, i.e. lower barriers to entry, the concept of the ‘long tail’, social media reach to name but a few. Our research and work in this area over the past couple of years has, we believe, given us excellent insight to the the practicalities of effective crowdfunding.

Last June, we organised one of the first events on crowdfunding to take place in Scotland, and during Social Media Week, which we curated for Glasgow, there was a very interesting gathering of UK crowdfunding platforms, including GrowVC and WeDidThis. Scotland itself seems to be a very fertile area for crowdfunding, and the buzz around it is growing. Furthermore, we have just completed  our crowdfunding blog series on Social Media Week website, which gave us the opportunity to speak  again with some of the key players in the field, like Crowdcube, Profounder, Fund:it.

We would like to share some of our insights with you. That’s why we are hosting a free seminar on crowdfunding, as part of Social Media Week London, addressed to those who want to learn more about crowdfunding and how it links to the Social Media mindset. Delegates will hear about the options available and how they can develop a strategy for success in their approach to using this new model for raising finance.

Hope to see you there!

Book Here: Crowdfunding – A Concept Whose Time Has Come? – Fri 17, 12-1pm, Hub Westminster,  London

The Rise of Crowdfunding

The Rise of Crowdfunding

When a word gets shortlisted for the OED you can be reasonably confident that it is seeing a bit of use. This year the word crowdfunding was shortlisted for the US version of that august publication. Frankly we at twintangibles are not surprised as it is a subject we get asked about more and more.

The proposed definition is Crowdfunding: The practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. At its most basic, that definition gets to the core of it, but what that definition doesn’t get into is a more detailed analysis dealing with the role of social media or concepts like the The Long Tail, and how these are key components in successful crowdfunding. But it does at least capture the aspect that is causing the word to become increasingly popular, and that is that it is about raising money.

At a time when the traditional mechanisms of raising funding to – say – launch a business, start a project, or even make a film, are increasingly tough, then people start looking for alternatives, and crowdfunding is one of them.

Seemingly everyday we hear of new projects (even the Krankies are involved in one!) and new platforms to raise finance via crowdfunding. In the US, it is apparent that the Obama administration have come to recognise that it has merit to potentially drive entrepreneurship and job creation and so plans are progressing to adjust SEC rules to make limited equity-based crowdfunding permissible. Closer to home, Brewdog have announced that their recent second crowdfunding campaign has been almost 100% taken up.

So, with all this in mind we are pleased to be able to announce that we have been asked to curate a series of articles and debates on the subject of crowdfunding for the Social Media Week global blog. Over the next few months we will be covering many aspects of this emerging trend and look forward to some interesting interviews, debates and comments. We will keep you posted as to when the series starts.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about crowdfunding and how to put together a crowdfunding campaign, then you might want to attend our workshop in Glasgow on the 14th of December.

[Images used with this blog are supplied by]


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