Chance Barnett | March 6, 2014 | Huff Post – Last week was Global Innovation Week 2014 and one of the highlights was the Global Innovation Summit (GIS) in Silicon Valley.
The focus of the GIS conference was on the great topic of ecosystem development – a topic of great import to conference leaders Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt, venture partners at T2 Ventures and authors of The Rainforest: The Secret to Building The Next Silicon Valley.
In this article I share the 3 ways in which equity crowdfunding will accelerate the growth of local entrepreneurial ecosystems, in the U.S. and internationally.
Equity Crowdfunding: One of Many Ecosystem Growth Drivers
Innovation ecosystems, where entrepreneurship flourishes, have several different growth drivers within a given city or country. Some of these drivers include: mentors, education, culture, talent, dense “clustering” and, finally, capital.
Today, I’m going to talk about capital. Reason being, I believe that you and I are alive at a unique moment in history where we are experiencing what is likely the most radical shift in early stage finance for entrepreneurs that we’ll see in our lifetime.
In the U.S. this shift has recently been enabled by the JOBS Act and the movement of early stage investing online. Globally, there has been similar legislation introduced and implemented to move entrepreneur capital online in a growing number of countries.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve already heard about this shift in finance. I’m talking about crowdfunding. Or more specifically, equity crowdfunding.
Rewards-based crowdfunding has grown exponentially over the last 5 to 7 years from virtually an entirely new model to a multi-billion dollar industry.
Now the crowdfunding model has expanded via sites like Crowdfunder.com and CircleUp who are bringing an ever more potent and powerful element to the table — investment. (Previously, it was against the law to raise investment online.)
Of course, equity crowdfunding is not purely a U.S. phenomenon, as some US investment platforms have already expanded internationally to help bring the model of early stage investing in startups and innovation to new regions.