Crowdfunding

 

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and of alternative finance.

Crowdfunding [ˈkɹaʊdˌfʌndiŋ] (von englisch crowd für ‚(Menschen-)Menge‘, und funding für ‚Finanzierung‘, deutsch auch Schwarmfinanzierung) ist eine Art der Finanzierung.

Although the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods, it is now often performed via Internet-mediated registries. This modern crowdfunding model is generally based on three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded, individuals or groups who support the idea, and a moderating organization (the "platform") that brings the parties together to launch the idea.

Mit dieser Methode der Geldbeschaffung lassen sich Projekte, Produkte, die Umsetzung von Geschäftsideen und vieles andere mit Eigenkapital oder dem Eigenkapital ähnlichen Mitteln, in Deutschland zumeist in Form partiarischer Darlehen oder stiller Beteiligungen, versorgen. Eine so finanzierte Unternehmung und ihr Ablauf werden auch als eine Aktion bezeichnet. Ihre Kapitalgeber sind eine Vielzahl von Personen – in aller Regel bestehend aus Internetnutzern, da zum Crowdfunding meist im World Wide Web aufgerufen wird.

Crowdfunding has a long history with more than one root. Books have been crowdfunded for centuries: Authors and publishers would advertise book projects in praenumeration or subscription schemes. The book would be written and published if enough subscribers signaled their readiness to buy the book once it was out. The subscription business model is not exactly crowdfunding, since the actual flow of money only begins with the arrival of the product. The list of subscribers has, though, the power to create the necessary confidence among investors that is needed to risk the publication.

Historisch gesehen ist Crowdfunding ein relativ junger Begriff, der erst seit einigen Jahren verstärkt eingesetzt wird. In der nebenstehenden Abbildung ist die Anzahl der bei Google gefundenen Einträge für den Suchbegriff Crowdfunding in den Jahren 2000 bis 2010 dargestellt. (Der Wert für 2010 basiert auf einer linearen Hochrechnung aus den ersten drei Monaten des Jahres.) Deutlich erkennbar ist, dass ab 2006 die Verwendung der Bezeichnung Crowdfunding stark zunimmt. Zur gleichen Zeit wurde von Jeff Howe der Begriff des Crowdsourcing in einem Wired-Artikel geprägt. Einige Jahre später erarbeitete er auch erste Ansätze für eine Definition des Begriffs Crowdfunding, angelehnt an Crowdsourcing.

War bonds are theoretically a form of crowdfunding military conflicts. London's mercantile community saved the Bank of England in the 1730s when customers demanded their pounds to be converted into gold - they supported the currency until confidence in the pound was restored, thus crowdfunded their own money. A clearer case of modern crowdfunding is Auguste Comte's scheme to issue notes for the public support of his further work as a philosopher. The "Premiere Circulaire Annuelle adressée par l’auteur du Systeme de Philosophie Positive" was published on 14 March 1850, and several of these notes, blank and with sums have survived. The cooperative movement of the 19th and 20th centuries is a broader precursor. It generated collective groups, such as community or interest-based groups, pooling subscribed funds to develop new concepts, products, and means of distribution and production, particularly in rural areas of Western Europe and North America. In 1885, when government sources failed to provide funding to build a monumental base for the Statue of Liberty, a newspaper-led campaign attracted small donations from 160,000 donors.

Das Wort setzt sich aus den englischen Wörtern crowd ‚Menge, Menschenmasse‘ und funding ‚Finanzierung‘ zusammen. Als Verdeutschung wird gelegentlich Schwarmfinanzierung verwendet. Mit der Herkunft dieser Eindeutschung beschäftigte sich im März 2013 der Sprachwissenschaftler Anatol Stefanowitsch im Sprachlog in den Beiträgen And the Winner is: Crowdfunding! und Sprachschmuggler in der Wikipedia? Dabei ergaben seine Recherchen, dass dieser Begriff seinen Ursprung in einem am 23. März 2011 erfolgten Eintrag im Artikel Crowdfunding der deutschsprachigen Wikipedia habe.

Modern crowdfunding is a new phenomenon mostly with its use of social media. It first gained popular and mainstream use here in arts and music communities. The first instance of crowdfunding was in 1997, when fans underwrote an entire U.S. tour for the British rock group Marillion, raising US$60,000 in donations by means of a fan-based Internet campaign. The idea was conceived and managed by fans without any involvement from the band, although Marillion themselves used this method successfully to fund the recording and marketing of their 2001 album Anoraknophobia, the first crowdfunded recording. They continued to do so with subsequent albums Marbles (2004), Happiness is the Road (2008), and Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012).

In der Literatur werden heute grundsätzlich vier Modelle des Crowdfunding unterschieden:

In the film industry, independent writer/director Mark Tapio Kines designed a website in 1997 for his then-unfinished first feature film Foreign Correspondents. By early 1999, he had raised more than US$125,000 on the Internet from at least 25 fans, providing him with the funds to complete his film. In 2002, the "Free Blender" campaign was an early software crowdfunding precursor. The campaign aimed for open-sourcing the Blender 3D computer graphics software by collecting $100,000 from the community while offering additional benefits for donating members.

Crowdfunding gained traction after the launch of ArtistShare, in 2003. Following ArtistShare, more crowdfunding sites started to appear on the web such as IndieGoGo (2008), Kickstarter (2009), and Microventures (2010). However, Sellaband, started in 2006 as a music-focused platform, initially controlled the crowdfunding market. This can be contributed to creators and funders, who perceive the platform to be more valuable with more members. Later, Kickstarter gained popularity for its wide-ranging focus. Both platforms prohibit equity funding. However, Sellaband offered revenue sharing, a type of equity crowdfunding, for three years after the platform’s founding. It was later controlled by a German company and heightened security restrictions. The phenomenon of crowdfunding is older than the term "crowdfunding". The earliest recorded use of the word was by Michael Sullivan in fundavlog in August 2006.

Donation-Based Crowdfunding (Crowddonation)
Reward-Based Crowdfunding (Crowdsupporting, aufgeteilt in Crowdfunding und Pre-Selling)
Lending-Based Crowdfunding (Crowdlending)
Equity-Based Crowdfunding (im Deutschen auch Crowdinvesting genannt)

The Crowdfunding Centre's May 2014 report identified two primary types of crowdfunding:

Im Oktober 2003 startete der Musiker und Produzent Brian Camelio die Internet-Plattform ArtistShare als Reaktion auf die Entwicklungen des Raubkopierens und die Bestrebungen der Musikindustrie für ein digitales Rechtemanagement. Die Website ermöglichte es Musikern, das Geld für die Produktion eines Albums zu erhalten, bevor es veröffentlicht wurde. Als SellaBand im August 2006 in Europa startete, galt es, je 50.000 US-Dollar für Musiker und Bands mit der Hilfe sogenannter Believer zu erreichen, um ein Album zu produzieren. Bereits am 2. November 2006 hatte die Band Nemesea 528 Unterstützer zusammen und konnte so ihr Album „In Control“ aufnehmen. In den vergangenen vier Jahren haben es weitere 50 Bands (Stand: September 2010) ins Tonstudio bei Sellaband geschafft.

Rewards crowdfunding: entrepreneurs presell a product or service to launch a business concept without incurring debt or sacrificing equity/shares.

2008 wurde Indiegogo gegründet. 2009 wurde in den USA die Crowdfunding-Plattform Kickstarter.com gegründet. Eine Gewinnbeteiligung gibt es bei Kickstarter nicht. Die Initiatoren versuchen meist, mit einem Video von sich oder dem Projekt zu überzeugen. Nach dem gleichen Vorbild sind u. a. mit RocketHub weitere Crowdfunding-Plattformen online gegangen.

Equity crowdfunding: the backer receives shares of a company, usually in its early stages, in exchange for the money pledged.

Anfang 2010 nutzte mit Public Enemy eine bereits etablierte Band solch eine Crowdfunding-Plattform, um ihr nächstes Album gemeinsam mit Fans und Unterstützern finanzieren zu lassen. Die Band selbst beschreibt auf ihrer Website: „In our six months on SellaBand, we are proud to have broken ground into a new paradigm of music financing and to have learned so much about the fan funding model with our fans.“ Im Oktober 2010 stand das Vorhaben bei 91 % von 75.000 US-Dollar. Das eigentliche Ziel in Höhe von 250.000 US-Dollar wurde nach unten korrigiert, als die Plattform im Februar 2010 Insolvenz anmeldete. Seit der Insolvenz wird das einstige niederländische Unternehmen als GmbH mit dem Hauptsitz in München weitergeführt.

The inputs of the individuals in the crowd trigger the crowdfunding process and influence the ultimate value of the offerings or outcomes of the process. Each individual acts as an agent of the offering, selecting and promoting the projects in which they believe. They sometimes play a donor role oriented towards providing help on social projects. In some cases, they become shareholders and contribute to the development and growth of the offering. Individuals disseminate information about projects they support in their online communities, generating further support (promoters). Motivation for consumer participation stems from the feeling of being at least partly responsible for the success of others’ initiatives (desire for patronage), striving to be a part of a communal social initiative (desire for social participation), and seeking a payoff from monetary contributions (desire for investment). Additionally, individuals participate in crowdfunding to see new and innovative products before the public. Early access often allows funders to participate more directly in the development of the product. Crowdfunding is also particularly attractive to funders who are family and friends of a creator. It helps to mediate the terms of their financial agreement and manage each group’s expectations for the project.

Im Juni 2010 erhielt das Software-Projekt Diaspora Medienaufmerksamkeit: Für die Entwicklung einer Internetplattform haben vier Studenten 10.000 US-Dollar benötigt. Mit der Plattform wurde Facebook der Kampf angesagt und angekündigt, ein Pendant zu entwickeln, welches bessere Vorkehrungen im Bereich Datenschutz treffen würde und die Daten seiner Nutzer dezentral immer auf dem eigenen Rechner des Anwenders speichere. Dies fand enormen Zuspruch in der Bevölkerung, die das Projekt gemeinsam mit 200.641 US-Dollar überfinanziert hat. Unter den 6.479 Spendern befand sich auch Facebook-Gründer Mark Zuckerberg. Im Interview mit dem Magazin Wired sagte Zuckerberg: „I donated. I think it is a cool idea.“

An individual who takes part in crowdfunding initiatives tends to reveal several distinct traits: innovative orientation, which stimulates the desire to try new modes of interacting with firms and other consumers; social identification with the content, cause or project selected for funding, which sparks the desire to be a part of the initiative; (monetary) exploitation, which motivates the individual to participate by expecting a payoff. Crowdfunding platforms are motivated to generate income by drawing worthwhile projects and generous funders. These sites also seek widespread public attention for their projects and platform.

Mayday US ist ein Super-PAC in den USA, welcher sich zum Ziel gesetzt hat, alle Super-PACs abzuschaffen. Das Ziel ist es, Abgeordnete in den Kongress zu wählen, welche sich gegen den korrumpierenden Einfluss von Geld in der Politik stellen und Super-PACs abschaffen möchten. Das Projekt ist mit mehr als 7,9 Millionen Dollar ausgestattet und wurde von mehr als 55.300 Spendern durch Crowdfunding finanziert (Stand August 2014). Der Initiator des PACs ist der Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig.

Crowdfunding websites helped companies and individuals worldwide raise US$89 million from members of the public in 2010, $1.47 billion in 2011, and $2.66 billion in 2012 — $1.6 billion of the 2012 amount was raised in North America. In 2012, more than one million individual campaigns were established globally and the industry was projected to grow to US$5.1 billion in 2013. and to reach US$1 trillion in 2025. A May 2014 report, released by the United Kingdom-based The Crowdfunding Centre and titled "The State of the Crowdfunding Nation", presented data showing that during March 2014, more than US$60,000 were raised on an hourly basis via global crowdfunding initiatives. Also during this period, 442 crowdfunding campaigns were launched globally on a daily basis.

Mit der Unterzeichnung des JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) in den USA durch Präsident Barack Obama wurde eine gesetzliche Grundlage geschaffen.

As of 2012, over 450 crowdfunding platforms had been established. Project creators need to exercise their own due diligence to understand which platform is the best to use depending on the type of project that they want to launch. Fundamental differences exist in the services provided by many crowdfunding platforms. For instance, CrowdCube and Seedrs are Internet platforms which enable small companies to issue shares over the Internet and receive small investments from registered users in return. While CrowdCube is meant for users to invest small amounts and acquire shares directly in start-up companies, Seedrs pools the funds to invest in new businesses, as a nominated agent.

Zu der 2004 gestarteten Finanzierung des Roadmovies Hatschi Madame – Sorry Monsieur konnte durch den Erwerb einer Eintrittskarte ein Platz im Abspann erworben werden. Einige mediale Aufmerksamkeit wurde Crowdfunding zuteil, als der Film Hotel Desire durch Spenden von 175.000 Euro finanziert wurde. Das bis dato größte Crowdfunding-Projekt im Filmbereich in Deutschland startete die Kölner Firma Brainpool im Dezember 2011. Für den geplanten Kinofilm zur TV-Serie Stromberg wollte das Unternehmen bis März 2012 eine Million Euro einsammeln. Nach zwei Tagen lagen die Einnahmen bereits bei über 150.000 Euro; innerhalb einer Woche wurde die Plansumme erreicht.

Curated crowdfunding platforms serve as "network orchestrators" by curating the offerings that are allowed on the platform. They create the necessary organizational systems and conditions for resource integration among other players to take place. Relational mediators act as an intermediary between supply and demand. They replace traditional intermediaries (such as traditional record companies, venture capitalists). These platforms link new artists, designers, project initiators with committed supporters who believe in the persons behind the projects strongly enough to provide monetary support.[citation needed] Growth engines focus on the strong inclusion of investors. They "disintermediate" by eliminating the activity of a service provider previously involved in the network. The platforms that use crowdfunding to seek stakes from a community of high net-worth private investors and match them directly with project initiators.

Neben nationalen Plattformen gibt es auch regionale Crowdfunding-Initiativen. Diese fokussieren sich vor allem auf Projekte für Start-ups aus der jeweiligen Region.

Crowdfunding is being explored as a potential funding mechanism for creative work such as blogging and journalism, music, independent film (see crowdfunded film), and for funding startup companies.Community music labels are usually for-profit organizations where "fans assume the traditional financier role of a record label for artists they believe in by funding the recording process". Since pioneering crowdfunding in the film industry, Spanner Films has published a "how to" guide. A Financialist article published in mid-September 2013 stated that "the niche for crowdfunding exists in financing films with budgets in the [US]$1 to $10 million range" and crowdfunding campaigns are "much more likely to be successful if they tap into a significant pre-existing fan base and fulfill an existing gap in the market." Innovative new platforms, such as RocketHub, have emerged that combine traditional funding for creative work with branded crowdsourcing—helping artists and entrepreneurs unite with brands "without the need for a middle man."

Crowdfunding gilt eher als Variante für die Finanzierung von Nischen-Projekten; Crowdinvesting benennt eine Art der Mittelaufnahme für Unternehmen oder Immobilien. Hierbei können Beteiligungen an Unternehmen erworben werden. Diese Beteiligungen verbriefen einen Anspruch auf einen Anteil am Unternehmensgewinn sowie häufig auch am Verkaufserlös und können verkauft werden. Beim Crowdinvesting soll, ähnlich wie beim Crowdfunding, das Risiko auf zahlreiche Investoren zu kleinen Beträgen verteilt werden; bei einer Finanzierung durch Business Angels oder Venture Capital wird das Kapital in der Regel dagegen von wenigen aufgebracht.

Crowdfunding campaigns provide producers with a number of benefits, beyond the strict financial gains. The following are non financial benefits of crowdfunding.

Die Novelle des Kleinanlegerschutzgesetzes vom 9. Juli 2015 hat auch das Crowdinvesting in Deutschland neu geregelt.

Profile – a compelling project can raise a producer's profile and provide a boost to their reputation.
Marketing – project initiators can show there is an audience and market for their project. In the case of an unsuccessful campaign, it provides good market feedback.
Audience engagement – crowd funding creates a forum where project initiators can engage with their audiences. Audience can engage in the production process by following progress through updates from the creators and sharing feedback via comment features on the project's crowdfunding page.
Feedback – offering pre-release access to content or the opportunity to beta-test content to project backers as a part of the funding incentives provides the project initiators with instant access to good market testing feedback.
There are also financial benefits to the creator. For one, crowdfunding allows creators to attain low-cost capital. Traditionally, a creator would need to look to "personal savings, home equity loans, personal credit cards, friends and family members, angel investors, and venture capitalists." With crowdfunding, creators can find funders from around the world, sell both their product and equity, and benefit from increased information flow. Additionally, crowdfunding that supports pre-buying allows creators to obtain early feedback on the product. Proponents of the crowdfunding approach argue that it allows good ideas which do not fit the pattern required by conventional financiers to break through and attract cash through the wisdom of the crowd. If it does achieve "traction" in this way, not only can the enterprise secure seed funding to begin its project, but it may also secure evidence of backing from potential customers and benefit from word of mouth promotion in order to reach the fundraising goal. Another potential positive effect is the propensity of groups to "produce an accurate aggregate prediction" about market outcomes as identified by author James Surowiecki in his book The Wisdom of Crowds, thereby placing financial backing behind ventures likely to succeed.

Seit 2015 gibt es in Zusammenarbeit mit der IHK München und Oberbayern und dem Deutschen CrowdSourcing-Verband ein Ausbildungsformat zum zertifizierten Crowdfunding-Manager (IHK).

Proponents also identify a potential outcome of crowdfunding as an exponential increase in available venture capital. One report claims that If every American family gave one percent of their investable assets to crowdfunding, $300 billion (a 10X increase) would come into venture capital. Proponents also cite that a benefit for companies receiving crowdfunding support is that they retain control of their operations, as voting rights are not conveyed along with ownership when crowdfunding. As part of his response to the Amanda Palmer Kickstarter controversy, Albini expressed his supportive views of crowdfunding for musicians, explaining: "I've said many times that I think they're part of the new way bands and their audience interact and they can be a fantastic resource, enabling bands to do things essentially in cooperation with their audience." Albini described the concept of crowdfunding as "pretty amazing."

Seit 2013 findet jährlich der Crowd Dialog in München als deutsches Branchentreffen statt. Sein Ziel ist, den Dialog zwischen Politik, Praxis und Wissenschaft zu crowdbasierten Themen zu fördern und Industrie und Mittelstand über Chancen und Risiken zu informieren.

Crowdfunding also comes with a number of potential risks or barriers. For the creator, as well as the investor, studies show that crowdfunding contains "high levels of risk, uncertainty, and information asymmetry."

Reputation – failure to meet campaign goals or to generate interest results in a public failure. Reaching financial goals and successfully gathering substantial public support but being unable to deliver on a project for some reason can severely negatively impact one's reputation.
IP protection – many Interactive Digital Media developers and content producers are reluctant to publicly announce the details of a project before production due to concerns about idea theft and protecting their IP from plagiarism. Creators who engage in crowdfunding are required to release their product to the public in early stages of funding and development, exposing themselves to the risk of copy by competitors.
Donor exhaustion – there is a risk that if the same network of supporters is reached out to multiple times, that network will eventually cease to supply necessary support.
Public fear of abuse – concern among supporters that without a regulatory framework, the likelihood of a scam or an abuse of funds is high. The concern may become a barrier to public engagement.
For crowdfunding of equity stock purchases, there is some research in social psychology that indicates that, like in all investments, people don't always do their due diligence to determine if it's a sound investment before investing, which leads to making investment decisions based on emotion rather than financial logic. By using crowdfunding, creators also forgo potential support and value that a single angel investor or venture capitalist might offer. Likewise, crowdfunding requires that creators manage their investors. This can be time consuming and financially burdensome as the number of investors in the crowd rises. Crowdfunding draws a crowd: investors and other interested observers who follow the progress, or lack of progress, of a project. Sometimes it proves easier to raise the money for a project than to make the project a success. Managing communications with a large number of possibly disappointed investors and supporters can be a substantial, and potentially diverting, task.

Some of the most popular fundraisings are for commercial companies which use the process to reach customers and at the same time market their products and services. This favors companies like microbreweries and specialist restaurants – in effect creating a "club" of people who are customers as well as investors. In the USA in 2015, new rules from the SEC to regulate equity crowdfunding will mean that larger businesses with more than 500 investors and more than $25 million in assets will have to file reports like a public company. The Wall Street Journal commented "It is all the pain of an IPO without the benefits of the IPO." These two trends may mean crowdfunding is most suited to small consumer facing companies rather than tech start ups.

 

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