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Crowdfuture – A gateway to the future of Italian crowdfunding.

Porta MaggioreFor the past few days I have been in Rome enjoying the sights and sounds of the “eternal city” and helping out with the organisation of Italy’s first Crowdfunding Conference called Crowdfuture. twintangibles co-curated this along with Nois3lab and it is another example of how we live out the Anglo Italian nature of the firm.

The event was a great success, completely sold out and covered widely in the Italian media. Some fantastic speakers allowed the 300 delegates explore all sorts of aspects of crowdfunding and the impact of the recent legislation Crescita 2.0 which proposes to permit limited equity based crowdfunding. Dan Marom provided, as usual, a fantastically thought provoking keynote to draw the speaker led part of the day to a close before a series of workshops completed a demanding schedule.

Dan made the point that often government lags behind industry but in Italy it seems that the government has almost preempted the rise of crowdfunding and has begun the process of putting in a legislative framework. In a subsequent conversation with Dan we reflected on the role of legislative frameworks and how different groups react to them. In some cases the absence of specific legislation dealing with or permitting crowdfunding, as in the UK, means that crowdfunders see this as a challenge to be overcome and to create an approach to satisfying existing demands and make it possible to crowdfund. In other environments like the USA legislation effectively outlawed equity based approaches and the JOBS act is a mechanism to enable or permit it. In Italy they have almost preempted it . Dan and I wondered if there was a cultural or psychological aspect to this in that different business and social cultures and traditions respond to legislation or lack of it in different ways. So do some require a framework to permit it in order to have the confidence to act and without it it will no action will take place or do some see its absence as an opportunity?. I guess Fons Trompenaars might have a view in this as well!

Oliver Gajda also used the event as an opportunity to announce the release of the European Crowdfunding Networks ( of which twintangibles is a founding member)  White Paper A Framework for European Crowdfunding. This is published today ( October 29th) and has numerous recommendations that encourage european institutions to consider putting place an enabling code that allows crowdfunding to be both trans europe and so inevitably stronger, and to establish a greater sense of permanence and credibility around a phenomena that is here to stay and will form part of our entrepreneurial eco system for the future.

Personally I found the experience inspiring and certainly from the passion and diversity of approach on show Italy is on the brink of significant potential development in this area. As I made my way to The Sapienza University of Rome – the venue for the main event –  past the Porta Maggiore early in the day I wondered if, metaphorically speaking, Italy was on the brink of going through a gateway to new opportunity or if it would be a bit “tutto fumo e niente arrosto” – an awful lot of sizzle but not much steak!. By the end of the day I was certain that there was plenty of steak and the that Italy have made a real first step in taking advantage of this new opportunity. I and twintangibles were proud to be associated with it.

All that and crowdknitting too!

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