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The Evolution of Crowdfunding

Over the last few years, the term “crowdfunding” has firmly entrenched itself in the modern lexicon. A quick check around the ARTÉMIA office reveals all of us have – at least once – contributed to a crowdfunding campaign, from charity fundraisers to new product launches to supporting individuals with their goals. And as an agency, we have played a part in setting up many crowdfunding campaigns for various clients with differing objectives.

At its essence, the concept of crowdfunding is an old one: a group of people coming together to co-finance something to make it happen. But in recent years, facilitated by the internet and social media in particular, crowdfunding has become something much larger. So much so, that it is set to overtake venture capital and angel investing as one of the primary ways to launch a company. According to this report from symbid.com, crowdfunding’s market value was an estimated $880 million in 2010, and that figure is set to reach $34 billion in 2015, making it a genuine disruptor of the financial services industry.

A new development in the mid-Market Street area of San Francisco is this week grabbing headlines for becoming the first ever (partially) crowdfunded hotel, demonstrating just how extensive and far-reaching crowdfunding has become. It can be utilized for almost any project and in any industry. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the project managers behind “Yotel” felt crowdfunding was a smart and more direct way to get potential investors involved. To quote Justin Palmer, CEO of the group behind the development, “Because the property is in the heart of Mid-Market, we felt this was a way to get some local tech entrepreneurs interested in and potentially invested in the project.” The Yotel crowdfunding model provides investors with equity; other models include Kickstarter, where “investors” will be rewarded with anything ranging from personal thank you notes to bragging rights as founding contributors to unique gifts. In addition, there are lending models (think Kiva), and straight-up donations on sites such as Go Fund Me.

What all this means is that it pays to think differently. The numbers show that this is an area of the finance industry which is undergoing rapid change – and will continue to do so as momentum builds. If you’d like our insights on the opportunities that may exist in crowdfunding for your company, please get in touch.



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