International Perspectives on Crowdfunding

Cover of International Perspectives on Crowdfunding

Positive, Normative and Critical Theory

Subject:

Synopsis

Table of contents

(16 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xxxvi
Content available

Part One Positive Crowdfunding Theory – Micro Economic Underpinnings, Contingency Factors and Regulation Issues

This chapter shows how the theory of industrial organization can help us understand some important aspects of crowdfunding that go beyond the finance sphere of the firm. A special attention is devoted to the role and behavior of crowdfunding platforms, which intermediate between entrepreneurs and contributors.

Equity crowdfunding offers a wide audience – the crowd – the possibility of financing a business project by choosing the beneficiary in accordance with the positive impact of the investment on society or the environment. This new funding mode may be located between venture capital and microcredit. In Africa, the phenomenon is embryonic but could find its place in the microfinance system since it is based on the widespread traditional model of “tontines.” We first observed the crowdfunding platforms dedicated to Africa and conducted interviews in Gabon with microfinance institutions and small business owners. This empirical work then led us to mobilize new institutional theory to suggest a conceptual broadening of the participatory financing system, with a view to enhancing local economic development in Africa.

Purpose

We are interested in how and why people use or take part to crowdfunding projects.

Methodology/approach

Over the past four years, we have interviewed over 120 crowdfunding requesters and supporters of over 15 project types from dance to technology to publishing.

Findings

The key contributions of this research are: An understanding of the work involved, an understanding of motivations for participation, and an understanding of how the design of platforms influences engagement.

Originality/value

We adopt a computer-supported cooperative work approach from sociology, computer science, and design to provide a new perspective to researchers who seek to understand user behavior, motivations, and the mechanisms in place to support engagement with crowdfunding technology.

Crowdfunding (CF) has been recognized by media narrations as a disruptive approach to funding social entrepreneurship, although there is a lack of evidence in academic literature about factors capable of supporting social entrepreneurs in developing a successful CF campaign. This chapter aims to improve both academic knowledge and CF practice in those areas that can effectively support social entrepreneurs in managing their campaigns. An empirical analysis of 250 CF campaigns launched by Italian social enterprises was conducted. We focused on three main issues in terms of their effect on the overall level of funding achieved: the social enterprise’s network, the choice of CF platform, and CF campaign design. Our results demonstrate that the social enterprise’s presence on Twitter, the choice of a specific reward-based platform, and active management of the CF campaign have a significant impact on the achievement of the funding goal.

Even if crowdfunding is now practiced on all continents, not all countries have reached the same stage in creating a legal framework. The countries based on common law were the first to practice crowdfunding and have, for the majority of them, already regulated the use of crowdfunding. On continental Europe, the countries experienced a later development of crowdfunding but they nevertheless wished to be at the forefront of crowdfunding legislation. The purpose of this chapter is to present the main legislation or projects related to crowdfunding seeking to compare, as far as possible, the different legal frameworks together.

Part Two Normative Crowdfunding Theory – Models, Modes and Contexts

Purpose

This study examines how narratives and legitimacy formation affect crowdfunding capital assembly from distributed, heterogeneous investors.

Methodology/approach

The study explores a dataset of 80,181 projects from Kickstarter, a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, between 2009 and 2013. We explore the link between project-related variables, legitimacy formation and outcomes.

Findings

Entrepreneurs design narratives and create project legitimacy by exploiting crowdfunding platform-specific features. First, lower funding targets and shorter campaign durations confer positive project legitimacy. Second, entrepreneurs exploit reward-levels as narrative tools that encourage funders to engage with the project. Third, visual pitches transmit a broader sociocultural narrative, leveraging emotional rather than financial reasoning. We also note certain gender effects.

Research implications

Crowdfunding platforms allow entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas to a broad online audience. We show that project legitimacy, including both structural and narrative elements, is linked to crowdfunding outcomes. In particular, legitimacy is co-created through the generation of a persuasive narrative linking the entrepreneur and investor cohort.

Practical implications

Entrepreneurs use crowdfunding platforms to generate a coherent narrative around unfamiliar business models. Generic platform tools may be set and manipulated in online crowdfunding pitches to support project legitimacy. Ultimately, these are less important than establishing an affinity-based narrative that engages and exploits investor participation. Successful crowdfunding pitches co-author the project story with investors.

Originality/value

Crowdfunding has been traditionally understood as simply an online-mediated venture resource assembly tool. A narrative framework highlights the critical role of legitimacy formation in a disintermediated investment system.

Purpose

Crowdfunding is an emergent practice that is increasing exponentially as a means of financing to complement company capital. This chapter focuses on an innovative way of organizing peer-to-peer lending, known as crowdlending. The characteristics of crowdlending are social reward or interest and using the Internet as a medium for communication, prospection and raising funds. To fill the gap in the literature in this regard, this chapter addresses the following questions: Can crowdfunding be considered as a feasible conventional financial tool? What makes crowdlending work? Is it possible to apply the mutual cash holding (MCH) model to crowdlending as well as to previous examples such as the Mondragon Corporation and Trocobuy?

Methodology/approach

We use three cases (Mondragon Corporation, Trocobuy and Arboribus) to highlight financial tools that use the concept of stakeholder theory that is based on the collaborative management of cash surpluses. Using the Delphi technique combined with in-depth interviews we demonstrate the contribution of the MCH model to crowdlending. We show that the model could be applied to different organizations, thereby indicating its robustness and implying that it could be used in many other cases.

Findings

The present study suggests that crowdlending describes a new financing tool as a principal form of lending; it enables companies to implement a financial tool that allows for social development and stakeholder participation and that can ensure companies’ financial sustainability.

Practical implications

This model is based on six elements: expectations of mutual benefits, trust, management, guarantees, mutual profit and benefit. It suggests mutual benefit and positive social values for all stakeholders. However, cash surpluses will be efficiently used only when crowdlending is relevant to investors’ economic objective, because crowdlending as a social innovation does not in itself guarantee economic benefit.

Originality/value

The chapter provides evidence of crowdlending in practice. The research compares key cases in which the MCH model is applied. It also provides important insights into crowdlending as a social innovation.

click here to view access options
Purpose

We propose a framework based on social network analysis for crowdfunding projects.

Methodology/approach

Our approach is based on the strength of both weak and strong ties of the social network established by the project proponents. Our approach also considers not only the characteristics of the target population and the close social circle of the proponent but also mainly the community of potential backers strongly and weakly attached to his or her network of friends.

Findings

Supported by a literature review on social networks, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, we have established a framework with five constructs (Extension, Cohesion, Centralization, Clustering, and Power) that can help entrepreneurs to raise funds through crowdfunding platforms.

Originality/value

Structural properties of these social networks such as size, cohesion and centralization may prove useful for applicants and platforms interested in succeeding in their projects and for stimulating the interest of scholars in the growing crowdfunding phenomenon.

Purpose

Crowdfunding though existent, is still at the nascent stage in India being limited to charity and reward-based funding of creative and social projects by the crowd. The Indian regulatory authorities are in the process of formulating policies to encourage and monitor crowdfunding platforms that are based on financial return. The Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in particular is facing financing problems, and crowdfunding could be a viable alternative to traditional sources of finance. In this context, the study attempts to suggest an operational framework for crowdfunding in India with special reference to the MSME sector in terms of eligibility norms, rules for investor protection, sustaining market integrity, providing a supportive infrastructure and defining the role of online crowdfunding platforms.

Methodology/approach

This is a qualitative study conducted through personal interviews based on unstructured questions. The Directors or Chief Finance Officers of MSME firms and Senior Officials (with minimum work experience of 15 years) in the SME divisions of banks (private and public) located in the National Capital Region, were interviewed to identify the perspectives on the research issues of the chapter. The sampling criterion allowed us to incorporate both investors’ and investees’ concerns regarding the research issues.

Research limitations

These are the inherent nature of qualitative analysis, interviewees’ individual understanding of the subject and sample size.

Practical implications

The study will contribute to the vital discussion prior to the government’s decision on role of equity and debt-based crowdfunding in India in the future.

Social implications

The study will shed light on the fact that Indian society needs to be well informed about novel investment options such as crowdfunding. The Indian MSME sector can also discuss the opportunities offered by crowdfunding with the government to reduce their problem of access to finance.

Originality/value

The scope of crowdfunding in the Indian MSME sector has not been thoroughly researched, as the phenomenon is new in India. The study highlights how the use of crowdfunding by micro, small and medium firms has the potential to boost manufacturing- and service-related business activities to further increase the national income.

click here to view access options

The comparative analysis of the characteristics of both crowdfunding and Islamic finance shows that there is little divergence between these financing tools. In fact, an “Islamic crowdfunding” has recently emerged, with activities in several countries, despite a conceptual status which has to be confirmed because of the absence of consensus about its exact name. Meanwhile, platforms of “Islamic crowdfunding” are quite heterogeneous as far as the proposed financing type and the reference to Sharia are concerned.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter was to deconstruct the underlying contradictions of crowdfunding practices and to show how crowdfunding practitioners develop a schizophrenic use of these contradictions.

Methodology/approach

The main contradictions of crowdfunding practices are introduced with theoretical references. Then short cases are used to illustrate how crowdfunding practitioners try to cope with these contradictions.

Findings

The crowd addresses many contradictions, first because it is a syncretic concept, second because online crowds are still to be proven crowds. In any case, crowdfunding practitioners do their best to take the advantage of these contradictions, and run the risk of falling between two stools.

Originality/value

An attempt to provide an analysis of crowdfunding as a social, and not only economic, phenomenon, to suggest avenues for further critical research on crowdfunding.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to expose the limitations of the equity-based crowdfunding provisions of the 2012 JOBS Act. These provisions have received much attention because they have the potential to open funding opportunities to countless underfunded entrepreneurs and small businesses. In addition, they can provide everyday investors with new ways to diversify their portfolios. However, the author asserts that the JOBS Act is unlikely to be successful in its current incarnation, because it overly burdens the entrepreneur with reporting and accountability requirements, among other things. The author resolves these issues by articulating a regulatory alternative to the JOBS Act.

Methodology/approach

This chapter reviews the general requirements for equity-based crowdfunding under the 2012 JOBS Act. It also reviews the various approaches individual states and other countries have taken to promote equity-based crowdfunding.

Findings

The existing law and proposed regulations for equity-based crowdfunding under the JOBS Act are overly burdensome and will impair the ability of entrepreneurs and small-businesses to successfully use equity-based crowdfunding throughout the United States. Regulators and other lawmakers need to adopt new rules focused on protecting consumers via spending limits.

Research limitations/implications

Most of the research is based on theory, because the equity-based regulations have not been finalized or implemented at the federal level. However, the United States can learn much from the equity-based crowdfunding efforts of individual states and other countries.

Originality/value

This chapter’s critique is designed to engage lawmakers, regulators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in a new discussion about equity-based crowdfunding regulations.

In this chapter, we explore to what extent psychological contracts occur between the crowdfunded and the crowdfunders. First argument: fundamentals of finance imply a psychological dimension in financial transactions, which are at the same time contractual. Second arguments: some concrete cases of crowdfunding scandals pertain to contractual violation, which provides evidence for the importance of psychological contracts in crowdfunding projects and processes. This leads to two contributions: (1) a systematic review of the concepts related to psychological contracts theory and the assessment of their transferability to crowdfunding and (2) a list of questions and operational recommendations for every crowdfunding project developer.

About the Authors

Pages 257-263
Content available

Index

Pages 265-269
Content available
Cover of International Perspectives on Crowdfunding
DOI
10.1108/9781785603143
Publication date
2016-07-20
Editors
ISBN
978-1-78560-315-0
eISBN
978-1-78560-314-3