Trevor Clawson | Forbes | april 14, 2014 – It was probably only a matter of time before the UK’s burgeoning crowdfunding industry gave birth to a TV channel. After all, in its purest form, crowdfunding is all about reaching beyond traditional investor groups and pitching to a wider public. And as Marc Hayward, founder of CrowdboxTV observes: “One of the best ways to reach people is via the television.”
Launched in January, Crowdbox provides entrepreneurs with a platform on which to extend the reach of their crowdfunding campaigns by submitting promotional videos for broadcast on the channel. As such, the channelhas the potential to provide funders with a selection of opportunities drawn from a number of different crowdfund platforms. Equally important it aims to give businesses access to a larger number of potential funders.
The sight of enthusiastic entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas on screen is not an entirely novel concept. At its peak, BBC2’s Dragons’ Den attracted nearly 5 million viewers and its reality TV format – five angel investors assessing and possibly investing in a succession of startups – continues to generate healthy ratings. Arguably it has done more than any TV show in raising interest in entrepreneurship while shedding at least some light on the thinking and practices of equity investors.
But from a viewer’s perspective, Dragons Den is about other people’s money. The appeal of crowdfunding, on the other hand, is that the man or woman on the street can become actively engaged with a business or creative venture by pledging a relatively small sum. CrowdBox gives these “armchair dragons” their own TV channel.