10 Bold Predictions for Crowdfunding in 2014
1. Alternative Financing is not a trend. Venture capital is being democratized. More and more entrepreneurs will build crowdfunding into their funding cycle to tap supporters. The market validation, feedback and community building are just as important as the funds being raised. Donations, rewards, equity and debt can all be utilized during the lifecycle of a venture. Still expectations will be reset. There will be disappointment for some. That is just the natural cycle unfolding.
2. Plug n’ Play on high traffic websites. Major online communities in need of funds will plug and play crowdfunding onto their websites, like top 10 US Health Info siteHealthline.com did for medical crowdfunding. Incubators and accelerators will bake crowdfunding services into their programs. Brands will connect their good works more effectively into promotions on their Facebook page, webpage and other social networks.
3. There will be fraud but… Wherever there is money, there are unscrupulous people trying to take advantage. This has existed offline for many years. The good news is that the authentication, verification, social policing and fraud-prevention features platforms are introducing will help keep this in check. None of those checks and balances exist offline.
4. Enterprise will enter the game. Institutions will run matching campaigns to leverage budgets and meet CSR goals. Franchisors will discover the benefits of crowdfunding their brands, financing franchisees and seeding new markets. Social enterprise will continue to ramp up as they combine the entrepreneurial and cause drivers that have been key to successful crowdfunding so far. Communities will harness advocates, dialogue and critically needed project funds.
5. A shift away from destination sites. Once upon a time people built their own payment solutions. Then PayPal offered an easy way to plug in the management of payments, fraud prevention and the like. The same trend will unfold and the impact will be the SaaSavailability of crowdfunding as a funding and payment option. Why build the community of a destination site when you can build your own?
6. Crowdfunding meets Corporate Social Responsibility. Sponsorship networks will emerge that enable brands to attach themselves to locations or categories of interest. Why not make a product offer to contributors as a perk? Attach your equity to the crowdfunding of environmental, technology, healthcare or humane campaigns. CSR objectives will be met at the same time as sales promotion goals. Customers will be acquired, revenues measured and the silos of Cause Marketing and Sales will be broken down.