Crowdfunding doesn't have to be complicated. But there are a lot of options open to you, and like any new place or community, it takes you a while to find your way around. If you're like us, that happens with a lot of new things: you read some stories in the papers, then you hear that a friend has done it, then you decide to find out for yourself.
Too many shadows, whispering voices
Faces on posters, too many choices
If? When? Why? What?
How much have you got?
(Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls)
We put this site together for people who are curious about crowdfunding: who think they might want to invest, but want to do well and need to know more. We'll be building up the site, week by week, with news, commentary, and research
The two main taypes of crowdfunding on which we'll focus are Debt Crowdfunding and Equity Crowdfunding. You quite possibly know those words already, but basically, debt is lending somebody money, and getting it back with interest, while equity means owning share in a business, and receiving a share of the profits.
There are other forms of crowdfunding: Donation Crowdfunding is like sponsoring somebody to do something. We've seen plenty of arts and music projects funded this way. Reward Crowdfunding is where you get something back based on how much money you put in, but the thing you get back is more like a privilige or a present than a reliable return on your stake. And there's also Advanced Purchase, which is where you put money in and you get back the goods that the business makes.
We will talk about these other types of crowdfunding fromtime-to-time, because they help explain how crowdfunding works and where some of the business practices originated. But we're eriting for investors, so our focus will be on how to make money by lending to businesses, and how to make money by owning shares in businesses.
The crowdfunding sector is very diverse. Firms offer different products and services, differentiated according to who pays, what you get, what parts of the returns are guaranteed (if any) what might conceivably go wrong, and what your options are if you need to get your money out sooner than you planned. We'll be looking at the different platforms and websites, how they work, which kind of businesses go there to raise funds, and what profile of investor might want to put money into them.