We decided to take a look at some of the big brands who have been jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon. Crowdfunding has been a cult phenonminon that has swept across the globe with much excitement. Whether investing in the latest techy watch, movie, album, or designer, the crowd has mobilized around hip and cutting edge concepts. Traditional investors have also benefited by participating in crowdfunding sites that offer equity opportunities for accredited investors. What has been missing from the equation is known and established brands. That has suddenly changed.
This famous hotel chain is similar to a franchise in that each location is individually owned and they pay for the rights to the brand name. The owner of the Palm Springs location, Andre Carpiac, needed to raise $1.5 million so he turned to the crowd. With a campaign for accredited investors to “own a piece of the Rock” they hit the ground running. Within a couple of days they raised $500,000. In exchange for their investment, investors received discounts on hotel stay, access to the owners pool deck, VIP treatment and receptions, food and drink credits, and a portion of the profits. This is an excellent opportunity for accredited investors to be part of the Hard Rock franchise without actually owning one.
This famous vacation state is testing the idea of crowfunding portions of their education system. If fully implemented, this will be the first state to do so. The pilot program is seeking to raise capital for the repair of two local schools.
A famous college, the University of California Los Angeles has launched crowdfunding in order to fund research and ideas that students or faculty have. They are trying to tap into this new form of capital in order to meet some of their funding goals.
Even famous movie stars are getting in on the action. Kristen Bell succesfully raised the funds she needed for a Veronica Mars movie through crowdfunding and now the movie is out in theaters. The company Junction makes movies for people like Tom Hanks. Now, movie fans can get in on the action before it ever hits theaters.
The fact that name brands and powerful players are now participating in crowdfunding should be a sign of its ability to cross over all business sizes, consumer groups, and industries. The staying power of crowdfunding will remain as long as the crowd continues to be interested. Businesses and entrepreneuers will always need capital. This is one of the sources they can turn to for it.
A key challenge going forward will be connecting the crowd to the right campaigns. Crowdfunding platforms will need to continue to improve their search and matching features. This may lead investors towards specailized crowdfunding platforms that focus on one specific industry. In the meantime, investors are enjoying sorting through crowdfunding listings in search of the next big thing and everyone is noticing.
SMEs are increasingly looking at crowdfunding as a way of raising finance without dealing with bureaucratic banks and fickle investors. However, new rules by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which came into force recently, regulate certain types of crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding involves raising finance by taking small investments, loans or donations from a large number of people. Depending on who you believe, the new FCA rules have either "taken the crowd out of crowdfunding" or "represent the right balance between the freedom to invest and investor protection".