News, updates and industry insights - all the latest from Crowdsurfer
Crowd finance and the graduate job market
IThe rise of fin-tech and crowd finance is having an impact on the graduate job market. The success stories of innovative companies such as Zopa, Seedrs and Nutmeg are changing the aspirations of MBAs and encouraging them to consider alternative career paths.
How blockchain is shaping the future of finance
According to the FT, blockchain's adoption in the old world of wealth and asset management is not happening as quickly as many thought it might. In positive news, the number of job adverts on LinkedIn for blockchain-related positions has more than trebled in the past year. Near 10,000 people on LinkedIn list blockchain as a skill, half of them in the technology industry, a quarter in the financial services sector.
Crowdsurfer adds data of UK P2P lender Zopa to further enhance alternative finance analysis
Zopa, the world’s first and one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, has lent in excess of £2.3 billion to customers in the UK, and the addition of its data set will deepen Crowdsurfer’s insight into the global alternative finance market.
Crowd finance and the future of work
This week, Google’s computer program AlphaGo defeated the world’s best player of Go, the ancient Chinese board game. It served as another reminder that automation and machine learning are here to stay and will have a huge impact on all of our lives. For many, this is deeply troubling. But it should be considered an opportunity – one that can only be realised with the help of the crowd economy.
The Democratisation Of Democracy: Political Crowdfunding in 2017 and Beyond
Digital technology and politics make combustible bedfellows. Politicians and activists are reinventing the art of political communication via the Internet, so it’s natural they should leverage the web for fundraising initiatives, too. The snap UK General Election has propelled crowdfunding into the political mainstream. With only 51 days to sell their vision to the electorate, candidates searching for a way to reach donors at scale have turned to crowdfunding.
The Innovation Game: Crowdsurfer and the Cambridge Phenomenon
Cambridge is a strange and potent mix of tradition and modernity. The magnificent architecture of the city and its world-renowned university play host to an army of talented academics, young and old, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and expertise.
How Picky Is The Crowd?
A school of thought states that everything – from a simple widget to a brave, world-changing idea – can be financed via the crowd. In crowd finance, there are takers for every opportunity, no matter how outlandish. But evidence we’ve uncovered argues the contrary. It shows that the crowd is actually discerning and selective.
In Dog We Trust- Lessons Learned From Brewdog
In a little over 10 years, Brewdog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie have built a £1 billion business. This remarkable story highlights the immense growth that can be achieved when a business aligns first-class product, unorthodox brand marketing and innovative strategy and financing, in this case, crowdfunding.
The Learning Curve: Crowd finance for students
Student debt is a hot topic in the UK right now. University students in England graduate with higher levels of debt than those in any other English-speaking country. Can other finance providers – particularly the crowd economy – step in to help? We looked at the data to compare interest rates on tuition loans with rates offered via crowd finance platforms.
The Deep Thinker - An Interview With David Gammon
This week we meet Crowd surfer investor David Gammon. David is founder and CEO of Cambridge-based advisory and investment business, Rockspring, a family company, run by David, his wife, Sarah, and their three sons. Its portfolio is made up of thirty-two past and present early stage companies, ranging from those with a billion pounds in turnover today to pre-revenue start-ups. David’s success as an investor is clear from the returns his portfolio has delivered but, in conversation, you discover he’s anything but an ordinary provider of early venture stage funding.
Crowd finance in the home of banking
Will crowd finance achieve its slated aim of democratizing financial services in Italy, ensuring efficient and legally valid distribution of finance to those who deserve it? Could disintermediation spell the end of financial crime in Italy, revolutionizing business and society across the country, and how would vested interests respond to such a development?
Microfinance: the good, the bad and the ugly
In recent years, microfinance has boomed, but its egalitarian aims have existed for centuries, with the intention being to alleviate poverty by funding and educating the people fighting it. This is done with microloans – small, short-term, low-interest loans, extended to those who can’t raise finance via traditional methods.
From Sitting Room to City Of London: The Rise of RateSetter
RateSetter have been at the vanguard of the peer-to-peer lending movement. Founders Rhydian Lewis and Peter Behrens previously worked in traditional financial services at Lazard and RBS but in 2009 they decided to leave the old world in order to found the new.
Crowd Finance 101: The Current State of UK Crowd Finance
Our ‘Crowd Finance 101’ series takes a look at the nuts and bolts of crowd finance. Following on from the last three weeks in the series where we considered equity, debt, charity and rewards crowd finance, today we take a look at the composition of the UK crowd finance market as a whole, comparing P2P with crowdfunding.
The Fintech Laboratory
Fintech is still relatively new. It’s fast growing. It’s global. And it has the potential to hurt consumers on a massive scale if not properly regulated. Industry growth is needed to challenge incumbents to innovate, lower prices and provide a better service to customers. Over-regulation is as much a risk to the sector as under-regulation.
Crowd finance 101: How do rewards and charity crowd finance actually work?
Our ‘Crowd Finance 101’ series takes a look at the nuts and bolts of crowd finance. Following on from the last fortnight where we considered equity and debt crowd finance, today we complete the series by looking at the rewards and charity sectors.
Inflation and deflation; the ugly sisters of finance
Inflation and its uglier sister, deflation, are not glamorous. They barely get any media coverage until something goes seriously wrong. Most people don’t know much about them and they don’t want to know. But they should, because inflation and deflation affect every aspect of our lives.
So you’re thinking about raising money from the crowd? Choosing a crowd finance platform
The sheer number of crowd finance platforms can be intimidating for those looking to raise funds.....But don’t worry. Crowdsurfer’s got your back. After all, crowd finance is our thing. So, before launching your campaign, here’s some friendly advice on how to choose the right platform.
Blockchain is on a collision course with crowd finance
Blockchain is one of the most important digital innovations to have surfaced since the turn of the millennium. First put forward by Satoshi Nakamoto, it arrived not a moment too soon, with the need for trusted, decentralised means of verification never more in demand.
Brewing and crowd finance - just a lot of froth?
ne of crowd finance’s great success stories has been craft beer producer, Brewdog. Last year, Brewdog closed what was at the time the most successful equity crowd raise in history, taking the total amount they have raised in the UK since 2010, via their infamous Equity For Punks campaigns, to £26 million.
Why We Do What We Do
Crowdsurfer is the leading independent source of crowd finance industry data. But we’re much more than that. Our mission is to use data engineering and machine intelligence to supply the voice of truth and reason, promote the industry, and so enable accurate participation and reaction.
The elephants marching into the P2P room
The news this month that, whilst delayed, Hargreaves Lansdown will roll out their peer-to-peer lending platform in the second quarter of this year, was further evidence that major players in the traditional finance space are trying to carve out their niche in the $3 billion world of P2P lending.
Fintech and The Donald: Where Do We Go From Here?
On Friday 20th January, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States in a ceremony that dates back to the days of George Washington. After he swears the presidential oath, the United States Marine Band will perform four ruffles and flourishes, followed by ‘Hail to the Chief’. That chief will have profound implications for global financial markets – and for fintech. Here’s why.
The Rise of AI and Chatbots
By now, you will have heard of Artificial Intelligence because AI is everywhere, from chicken-nannying robots to Robo Advisors. In December last year, Crowdsurfer released our own AI application, Daisy, designed to apply the latest in machine learning to the mass of data generated by crowd finance. In this decision to adopt the new technology we aren't alone in the financial services world, and in a sign of rising interest, there is now a full conference dedicated to the topic of AI in finance.
The Guardian got it right: Agribusiness turns to the crowd for funding
In April 2016, the Guardian ran an article with the headline “Herdfunding: how the internet is raising money for farms”. It focussed on the trend of farmers turning to crowd finance instead of banks when looking to raise extra capital for their businesses.
What would a US interest rate hike mean for crowd finance investors?
In spite of the uncertain political outlook, US equity markets continue to soar, with the Federal Reserve anticipating further US economic strength in 2017 and ongoing selling in US bond markets. A fresh Fed rate rise across the Atlantic looks like a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’.
Crowdsurfer launches groundbreaking machine learning application for crowd finance
Crowd finance data intelligence specialists, Crowdsurfer, today announce the global public release of their machine intelligence system. Daisy, Crowdsurfer’s Digital Assistive Intelligence, has been created to provide answers and insights about the fast growing crowd finance industry, where it is unfeasible or impractical for humans to provide high-quality analysis.
The future of US crowd finance in the Trump era
The stunning news of Donald Trump becoming the US president-elect has taken the world by surprise and unleashed rampant speculation as to future developments on all fronts. As the dust begins to settle, we’ve taken a look at what this could mean for the future of crowd finance (websites for equity, debt, rewards, philanthropy and more) in the US.
The crowd goes green
Earlier this year, good-with-money.com published an article entitled "The future's bright, the future's green" which looked at the growing popularity of green energy solutions, so-called 'cleantech', amongst crowd finance investors.
As a few months have passed, we wanted to take another look at crowd finance for green technology and what you need to know to make a success of your own cleantech raise.
“The UK continues to lead the way” - Crowdsurfer’s responses to the FCA post-implementation review
Crowdsurfer was asked to comment as part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s post-implementation review of the UK’s current crowd finance rules. Of the questions posed in the FCA's study we responded to those specifically related to reporting and disclosure of information, reflecting our role as providers of data intelligence on all parts of the crowd finance industry.
How innovative businesses are turning crowd finance into opportunity
Over the past decade, the crowd finance industry has grown dramatically and is now providing billions of dollars to businesses, projects, and causes which otherwise might never have got off the ground. It has also harnessed the enthusiasm and collective wealth of millions of individual investors worldwide.
Crowd finance and the iPhone 7 headphone controversy
Earlier this month Apple announced its new iPhone 7 handset will not include a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, instead relying on Apple’s own Lightning Port and wireless technology.
This decision caused controversy amongst Apple fans, with some heralding it a bold move, whilst others were unhappy that their existing headphones had been rendered obsolete.
Celebrating crowd finance with #WhatYouMakeHappen
At Crowdsurfer we want to highlight the positive effects of crowdfunding at a global level, and the life-changing projects alternative finance has helped to fund.
In the last week you may have seen us tweeting about different crowd finance campaigns using the hashtags #WhatYouMakeHappen & #CelebrateCrowdFinance.
Beyond the hype: the data truth about crowdfunding with Emily Mackay
Crowdsurfer CEO Emily Mackay was a speaker at this year's Crowdsourcing Week 2016, where she focused on the recent evolution of crowdfunding. Watch her presentation here, and for further information find the presentation slides below.
Making a date with the crowd
In its recent article "Crowd is clamoring to play the dating game", the Times profiled former The Apprentice contestant Vana Koutsomitis and her current project DatePlay, which is currently crowdfunding on Seedrs.
Inspired by this article we used Crowdsurfer Pro to see whether other dating services are turning to crowd finance for funding and what we could find out about them.
Is crowdfunding in fashion?
Fashion and crowdfunding were in our minds over the last week for two reasons. The first was a query from one of our users, a crowd finance advisor, who wanted to provide his client with answers on fashion related crowdfunding. The second was the announcement that Wool and the Gang is being acquired by Blue Gem Capital Partners
Why we chose material design
This week we launched Crowdsurfer Pro; a completely refreshed version of our crowd finance market intelligence dashboard. This release included a major change in our dashboard's user interface and in this blog, I want to share with you the reasons behind this change and explain our decision to adopt Google's Material Design philosophy.
Creating Crowdsurfer Pro
The release of Crowdsurfer Pro 1.0 (or Gandalf as we affectionately refer to it in the office). earlier this week was a great step in the continued development of Crowdsurfer. Whilst I have referred to it as Pro 1.0 above, for those who don’t know it is actually the second iteration of our flagship crowd finance intelligence dashboard
The product decisions behind Crowdsurfer Pro
Crowdsurfer Pro is a great step forward in terms of product development. Not only does it look and feel very different from the open beta dashboard we released in February, it also introduces three modules: Raise, Invest and Track. This post explores the product decisions behind the creation of those modules.
The next generation of crowd finance intelligence
Crowdsurfer, the global data intelligence service for crowd finance, today announces the release of its next-generation, online intelligence dashboard, Crowdsurfer Pro. The new version of the dashboard offers the most advanced way to analyse the crowd finance industry with on-demand intelligence, enabling users to make informed decisions quickly.
6 reasons why crowd finance is here to stay
Crowdsurfer has been in the thick of the developing and evolving crowd finance movement for a few years, building the global data intelligence service for the industry. Over this period, my experiences and unique exposure to the industry in all its forms have convinced me more than ever that online marketplaces are unequivocally here to stay. Here are my top 6 reasons why:
Crowdsurfer announces Richard Baker as new Chairman
Crowdsurfer, the data intelligence service for crowd finance, announces today that Richard Baker has been appointed its new Chair, replacing retiring Chair, Walter Herriot OBE. Crowdsurfer serves those organisations impacted by crowd finance (defined as web-based marketplaces for debt, equity and other funding), enabling them to monitor and react to the industry using data intelligence tools and empirical deep data.
UK Equity Crowdfunding grows by 33% in 1H of 2016
Businesses raised £127M through 25 UK equity crowd finance platforms (excluding property) in the first half of 2016, an increase of 33% on the second half of 2015. In all, £222M has been raised in the last 12 months, dwarfing the £99M raised between July 2014 and June 2015 and illustrating the increasing significance of this form of business financing.
Crowd financing and the Brexit decision
In our recent publications, we gave you the Crowdsurfer response to the EU referendum and we captured the wider crowd finance industry reaction. Following that commentary, we thought it would be interesting to explore some of the crowd finance campaigns that relate to the Brexit decision.
Putting your mouth where their money is!
Dear broadcasters, news corporations and magazine editors: collecting lots of data on the crowd finance economy is allowing Crowdsurfer to discover particularly newsworthy stories. A new data set is emerging from a 21st century (and perhaps more Utopian) e-commerce movement that decentralises funding and improves the transparency of transactions.
Brexit: reaction from the UK crowd finance industry
Since the result of the UK's EU referendum last week, we have closely monitored the early reaction from the crowd finance industry, with Emily (our CEO) sharing our immediate thoughts in a blog post on Friday (it's worth reading if you haven't done so). From the platforms themselves it appears that a mood of continuity, reassurance and pragmatic optimism prevails.
4 possible effects of Brexit on crowd finance
Over the last 24 hours, we have followed the fallout from the vote and closely monitored the reaction from the crowd finance industry. As a very international team it’s fair to say we’re more than a bit uneasy about the outcome. However, there could be great opportunity in this change for the industry, and I wanted to share these possibilities:
Cooking up success: when restaurants, cafes and pubs start using crowd finance.
As if it's not challenging enough to deal with 8 major food allergens, restaurant, bar and cafe owners are often stuck looking for ways to finance new or expanding businesses. With many of these businesses turning to crowd finance, many questions arise on what's been funded and how, for instance:
What Title III means for US equity crowdfunding
About a year ago I wrote about Title IV, the latest piece in the jigsaw of crowd finance regulatory reform in the USA. The final missing piece was Title III, the long awaited rules that allowed anyone to invest in an equity raise, not just the accredited. 16 May saw Title III come into force. If you want 600+ pages of bed time reading, the full document directly from the SEC.
Researching equity crowdfunding valuations
For fundraisers, their decision to use equity crowdfunding is often dependent upon the valuations they can achieve and the likelihood of raise success. For investors, valuations are instrumental in determining whether the fundraise is an attractive investment opportunity. We therefore have many users coming to us to research the valuations that similar businesses have achieved.
Equity crowdfunding: comparing the US and UK markets
Title III of the JOBS Act went live in the US on the 16th May 2016 and has led to comparisons between the different ways the US and the UK are supporting equity crowdfunding. Running with this theme, we decided to explore the extent to which the differences in regulatory approach in each country has impacted the launch of platforms in each market and the relative maturity of the industry.
Are investment firms using crowd finance to raise a fund?
With the launch of Downing LLP’s new crowd finance platform Downing Crowd, we were thinking about the extent to which other investment firms are already using crowd finance as a new source of funding. Those considering it are coming to us with a message of fundraising difficulties and expectations that crowd finance could plug a looming shortfall.
Crowdfunding the crowdfunders
The crowd finance industry, having established the first generation of platforms for funders and fundraisers to transact, is now supporting its own next generation. Those keeping pace with the developments may know that new platforms are successfully raising on other platforms, and existing platforms are using their own services to raise their own funds.
How many crowd finance platforms succeed/fail?
Crowd finance is a fresh and disruptive industry, so we regularly see innovative and exciting platforms cropping up. The industry is young and platforms are still figuring out the lay of the land; inevitably some will get it wrong. So what are the stats behind it all?
Driverless vehicles chasing the crowd
Earlier this month, Cruise Automation, a producer of autonomous vehicle technology, became the first equity crowdfunded company to achieve a $1 billion exit. The company was acquired by General Motors, having previously raised $100,000 through crowd financing from AngelList.
Using data for the public good
There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle in the UK over the government’s proposed changes to disability payments. It’s led to an MP resigning in protest, and now it’s officially big news. That’s not really the point of this blog. It did, however, precipitate a train of thought regarding the use of data for the public good.
The crowd says yes to financing renewable energy
With WITT Energy passing its £750,000 crowdfunding target earlier in the week, we were pleased to see another example of the crowd finance industry supporting renewable energy initiatives. With this in mind we thought it'd be fun to share a selection of other renewable energy raises that crossed the £750,000 threshold.
Crowd finance funding in 2015: USD 0-50k
Crowd finance has quickly grown into a major industry and is funding millions of individuals, businesses and charitable endeavours. There are many questions about the type of financing this market is providing and using 2015 as a reference year, we wanted to explore this through a series of insights illustrating different funding amounts.
Why we can't afford to think like Turner
Accessible (theoretically at least) to the 3.5 billion people who form the internet-connected population, and a potential funding mechanism for the c.100m businesses worldwide, crowdfunding marketplaces are embracing online behaviours. They are bringing together online technology and payments, demand for funding, and demand for decentralised control on where and how money is deployed, to create a highly disruptive fintech movement.
By how much do crowdfunded campaigns overfund?
In an analysis of successful campaign funding across rewards, equity and donations, our data shows that the degree of overfunding is more extreme in rewards and donations, but of all the models, the average raise in equity crowdfunding campaigns is the greatest.
Reflecting on 2015 for Crowdsurfer
It’s a huge technical challenge to bring to life a data service for a new high-growth market (estimated at around $40B globally). We're tackling it with big data engineering, bespoke technology development and great support and input from the crowd finance community and early beta clients.
Our 7 rules for what is and what isn't crowd finance
It sounds like it should be very straightforward, but actually there are a few grey areas in what is a very high-growth, evolving, global industry. The applications of web technology to directly connect people financially are various and are evolving quickly. So what characterises the burgeoning crowd finance industry distinctly from everything else?
Half a billion reasons for Crowdsurfer (and counting)
In the last few years, crowd finance has established itself as the new, exciting, socially conscious way to raise and deploy money. Thousands of online money marketplaces for individuals, charities, business, the arts, and much more, have moved many billion of dollars around the world this year alone.
European equity crowdfunding grows by 107% in 1H 2015
The last 12 months has seen a significant increase in the amount raised from equity crowdfunding across Europe. In a comparison of 25 platforms spanning 11 European countries, the total raised in the first six months of the year totalled €129 million compared with €62 million raised between July to December 2014.