Crowdfunding Industry Spotlight : Jonathan Frutkin

by Josef Holm , crowdfunding.biz, 

Jonathan Frutkin is the author of Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners, which is available on Amazon.com.

He is the CEO of Cricca Funding, an advisory service for companies that are looking to take advantage of crowdfunding.

He is also the founder of The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC, a 10-attorney firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Prior to his current activities, he was the owner of a chain of ice cream stores in Las Vegas, did real estate development in Washington, D.C., and was the founder of one of the 50 fastest growing technology firms in the mid-Atlantic region.

jonathan-frutkin

 Q: How did you get into crowdfunding and what was it that attracted you to this industry?

I got involved in crowdfunding shortly after the passage of The JOBS Act in 2012. Like many observers, I thought that it was interesting that there was going to be a new avenue for entrepreneurs and dreamers to raise money for their businesses.

It wasn’t until early 2013 that I recognized that the real power in crowdfunding was the ability to transform a company’s relationship with others. Instead of having customers, you now have a bunch of owners that are committed to the company’s success.

Q: What’s the most common question people ask you about your job and how do you respond?

They will ask one of two questions. 1) What is crowdfunding? Or 2) Is it like Kickstarter? Once the questions begin to get more sophisticated, that will mean that we’re on our way. Until then, I just keep patiently explaining!

Q: Did you have a mentor or is there someone who inspires you as a leader? How did/do they impact on your career and life?

I’m not really one to consider any individual leader as inspirational. But I do think that there are visionary people out there who have completely changed life as we know it. I don’t doubt that Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg and Musk will be considered as important as people like Franklin or Graham Bell.

Q: What is the biggest challenge facing crowdfunding as an industry today and what solutions would you suggest?

The primary problem facing the crowdfunding space is the lack of standards in place to begin equity crowdfunding in the United States. The donation based crowdfunding space is dwarfed by the opportunity presenting in the equity space. Only allowing accredited investors the chance to participate is extremely small solace for us that believe in the marketing potential of crowdfunding.

Q: What advice would you give someone trying to get into crowdfunding right now?

The time to get involved in crowdfunding is now. The opportunities are endless for people with ambition and stamina.

Q: What resources and events (blogs, books, conferences, podcasts, videos, etc) would you recommend to someone looking to become a crowdfunding expert and why?

To learn about crowdfunding, you really need to first figure out what “crowdfunding” means to you. It is obviously self-serving as author of Equity Crowdfunding to recommend that Amazon.com is your first stop. After that, you should consider great news sites like crowdfundbeat.com, where I serve on the Board of Advisors.

Q: What are you doing to make sure you continue to grow and develop as an industry leader?

Despite the fact that there are an excessive number of industry conferences and meetings, I do my best to speak whenever my schedule allows. The amazing thing about attending these conferences is the wide knowledge base that is out there.

You really get the benefit of hearing and learning the latest thoughts about where the industry is going. I also try to spend at least a little time writing on the criccafunding.com blog. It is helpful for me to try to capture my thoughts in writing.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about how social networking and Web 2.0 have affected your organization or you personally?

I think that social networking is an important bridge to the future of collaboration and communication. If you consider the way that people interacted before the Internet, it was slow and cumbersome.

Now, there is a much more rapid ability to disseminate information, which makes people feel more connected. I think that it is inevitable that more and more financial transparency will result from this acceleration of communication. For us, we obviously like to use social media to create and cement relationships that we have with potential opportunities.

Q: What do you think the crowdfunding space will look like five years from now?

think that five years from now the P2P lending market will reach its peak. The real estate opportunities on-line will continue to grow. I anticipate that the United States will continue to lag because of paralyzing fears relating to fraud (despite the massive evidence that fraud does not occur very often in crowdfunding).

Q: What ultimate goal are you working towards?

My personal goal is to continue to work toward the integration of marketing strategies and finance. I believe that it is insane that companies are busy raising massive amounts of money, only to spend that money on dubious strategies to increase market share. An investor is more likely to be a better consumer, because there is built-in brand loyalty.

Those investors become super-customers, and more importantly, evangelicals promoting the business to their social network. The problem is that most finance professionals don’t understand marketing, and most marketing professionals are intimidated by finance. Crowdfunding will change the job description for both.

 @FrutkinLaw

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