FinTech Terms Explained: Crowdfunding

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

FinTech Terms Explained: Crowdfunding

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

FinTech Terms Explained: Crowdfunding

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

FinTech Terms Explained: Crowdfunding

In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular method for entrepreneurs to raise capital for their ventures. This innovative financing method allows individuals to invest in new projects and receive some form of reward in return. Despite its popularity, many people still lack a basic understanding of what crowdfunding is and how it works. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of crowdfunding, including its history, benefits, risks, and different types.

Understanding Crowdfunding

Definition of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a funding method whereby a large number of individuals fund a project or venture by contributing small amounts of money. Instead of seeking investment from a few large investors, crowdfunding relies on the cumulative contributions of many people to finance a project. The amount raised can be used to develop new products, produce new content, or launch a new business.

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way for entrepreneurs to raise money for their projects. It provides a way to get funding without having to go through the traditional channels of venture capital or angel investors. Crowdfunding also allows entrepreneurs to test the market for their ideas, as they can gauge interest in their project before investing a lot of time and money.

The History of Crowdfunding

The origins of crowdfunding can be traced back to the early 18th century, when Alexander Pope used subscriptions to fund the translation of Homer's Iliad. However, the advent of the internet and social media has made crowdfunding a widespread phenomenon. The first online crowdfunding platform was created in 1997 by UK-based artist Brian Eno. Since then, numerous crowdfunding platforms have since emerged, making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs and investors to connect.

One of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns was the Pebble Watch, which raised over $10 million on Kickstarter in 2012. The Pebble Watch was a smartwatch that could connect to a smartphone and display notifications. The success of the Pebble Watch campaign helped to establish crowdfunding as a legitimate way to raise money for tech startups.

How Crowdfunding Works

Crowdfunding typically involves three key parties: the project creator, the backers, and the crowdfunding platform. The project creator initiates the campaign by setting a specific funding goal and creating a project proposal. Then, backers can contribute money to the project through the crowdfunding platform. If the funding goal is met within the set timeframe, the project creator can access the funds raised. The platform typically takes a percentage of the total raised as a fee.

There are several different types of crowdfunding, including equity crowdfunding, reward-based crowdfunding, and donation-based crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding involves investors contributing money in exchange for a stake in the company. Reward-based crowdfunding involves backers receiving a reward in exchange for their contribution, such as a product or service. Donation-based crowdfunding involves backers contributing money without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Crowdfunding has become a popular way to fund creative projects, such as films, music albums, and art installations. It has also been used to fund charitable causes and to help individuals in need. Crowdfunding has democratized the funding process, making it possible for anyone with a good idea to raise money and bring their project to life.

Types of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a popular way for businesses and individuals to raise funds for their projects or causes. There are several types of crowdfunding, each with its own unique features and benefits. Let's take a closer look at the different types of crowdfunding available.

Donation-Based Crowdfunding

Donation-based crowdfunding is the simplest form of crowdfunding. In this type of crowdfunding, backers donate money to support a cause or charity without receiving any reward. This type of crowdfunding is generally used for non-profit and social causes. For example, a charity organization may use donation-based crowdfunding to fundraise for a new community center or to provide aid to those affected by a natural disaster.

Donation-based crowdfunding can also be used for personal causes, such as medical expenses or education fees. In these cases, individuals may turn to crowdfunding to help cover the costs of their treatment or education when they are unable to do so on their own.

Rewards-Based Crowdfunding

Rewards-based crowdfunding is the most popular type of crowdfunding. In this type of crowdfunding, backers contribute money to a project in exchange for a reward, such as a signed copy of the product or a discount on the final product. This type of crowdfunding is commonly used by startups that want to bring a new product to market.

Rewards-based crowdfunding can be a great way for businesses to test the market and gauge interest in their product before launching it. By offering rewards to backers, businesses can also build a loyal customer base and generate buzz around their product.

Equity-Based Crowdfunding

Equity-based crowdfunding allows investors to receive shares of the company in exchange for their contribution. This type of crowdfunding is commonly used by startups looking to raise larger amounts of capital and can provide investors with an opportunity to make a profit if the company becomes successful.

Equity-based crowdfunding can be a great option for businesses that are looking to scale quickly and need a significant amount of capital to do so. By offering shares of the company, businesses can also attract investors who are passionate about their product or mission and who want to be a part of their growth.

Debt-Based Crowdfunding

Debt-based crowdfunding allows businesses to borrow money from investors, who will be repaid with interest. This type of crowdfunding is similar to traditional loans, but offers lower interest rates and greater flexibility for investors.

Debt-based crowdfunding can be a good option for businesses that are looking for a flexible and affordable way to raise capital. By borrowing from a pool of investors, businesses can also spread out their risk and avoid taking on too much debt from a single lender.

Overall, crowdfunding can be a powerful tool for businesses and individuals looking to raise funds for their projects. By understanding the different types of crowdfunding available, you can choose the option that best fits your needs and goals.

Benefits of Crowdfunding

Access to Capital

One of the main benefits of crowdfunding is that it provides entrepreneurs with access to capital without relying on traditional sources such as banks or venture capitalists. Crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to raise funds from a large number of investors, providing them with the financial resources they need to bring their ideas to life.

Market Validation

Crowdfunding can also be a valuable tool for market validation. By launching a crowdfunding campaign, entrepreneurs can test the market demand for their product before investing time and money into development. If they are unable to reach their funding goal, it may indicate that their product is not viable in the market.

Increased Brand Exposure

Crowdfunding campaigns can also help increase brand exposure and build a community of loyal customers. By engaging with potential customers through the crowdfunding platform, entrepreneurs can build relationships and generate valuable feedback that can inform product development and marketing strategies.

Building a Loyal Community

Crowdfunding can also be an effective way to build a loyal community of backers who are invested in the success of the project. By involving backers in the development process and keeping them updated on progress, entrepreneurs can create a sense of ownership and pride among their supporters.

Risks and Challenges of Crowdfunding

Failure to Reach Funding Goals

One of the main risks of crowdfunding is that entrepreneurs may fail to reach their funding goals. If they are unable to raise the necessary funds within the specified timeframe, the campaign will fail and backers will not receive their rewards. This can be a significant setback for entrepreneurs who have invested significant time and resources into the campaign.

Legal and Regulatory Issues

Crowdfunding can also be subject to legal and regulatory issues, particularly when it comes to equity-based crowdfunding. Regulations around crowdfunding vary by jurisdiction, and entrepreneurs may need to navigate complicated legal requirements when launching a campaign.

Intellectual Property Concerns

Crowdfunding can also raise intellectual property concerns, particularly when it comes to the protection of trade secrets and other confidential information. Entrepreneurs may need to take steps to ensure that their intellectual property is properly protected before launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Managing Backer Expectations

Crowdfunding can also be challenging for entrepreneurs when it comes to managing backer expectations. If the product does not meet the expectations of backers, it can lead to negative reviews and damage to the entrepreneur's reputation.


Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular method for entrepreneurs to raise capital and bring their ideas to life. By understanding the different types of crowdfunding, its benefits, risks, and challenges, entrepreneurs can use this innovative financing method to their advantage. However, it is important to navigate the complex legal and regulatory requirements of crowdfunding, manage backer expectations and protect their intellectual property to ensure success.