2,337 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Editor's Note: The following comes to us from contributing expert, SoMoLend founder Candace Klein. It's also well worth your time to take a look at her other recent posts on Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act or try to catch her in one of our live chats on the topic.
Some interesting data about crowdfunding was released this week by the American Dream Composite Index, or ADCI, a statistical measure of the American Dream that was launched nearly one year ago by Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As the JOBS Act approached its final days in the Senate before being signed into law, the ADCI surveyed thousands of Americans across the country to determine just how apt Americans might be to invest via crowdfunding. April’s survey question appeared as:
The Law now permits the use of "CROWDFUNDING," the practice of funding a business venture through the collection of many small investments from a large number of people via the Internet.
The initial responses to this question were both surprising and encouraging.
General: First, the general American public is still hesitant to invest via crowdfunding. Americans, by and large, either don’t know what crowdfunding means or do not fully understand it. For those of us involved in crowdfunding, either as users (i.e., investors, fundraisers and platforms) or as regulators, it is our job to educate the public about crowdfunding, and make them fully aware of both the opportunities and the risks that this new industry presents. This will come with time.
The more intriguing and telling findings have to do with who, among all respondents, are more likely to invest in crowdfunding campaigns.
Ethnicity: Of the four ethnic groups queried in the survey—African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Caucasian—Caucasians are less likely to invest through crowdfunding, while African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics are more likely. Interestingly, African-Americans and Hispanics would prefer to know the business they are investing in, while Asians are just as likely to invest in businesses with which they have no connection.
Age: Age also matters considerably regarding who will and will not engage in crowdfunding, according to the ADCI. Overall, those between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most likely to make investment decisions via crowdfunding platforms, compared to the high unlikelihood of their elders (45 and older) to invest with this new tool.
Gender: Males are greater risk-takers with their investment decisions, as they are more open to investing in companies that have been assessed by a third party than their female counterparts, who prefer to only invest in those businesses they know or have assessed themselves.
Wages Earned: As you might expect, higher wage-earners, or those who earn an annual income of $100,000 or more, are more open to crowdfunding than other income brackets. However, the data does show that those who earn $40,000 or more annually may invest, but only if they have substantial working knowledge of the actual companies in whom they are considering investing.
Home Ownership: One data point surprised me… home ownership does not appear influence one’s consideration of crowdfunding in either direction. Renters are just as likely as home-owners to participate.
In summary, the nature of the ADCI makes it very simple to get an accurate and customized read on a variety of variables that contribute to the composite findings. For this reason, everyone from marketers to political campaigns to media pundits should be able to slice and dice the data to provide accurate analyses for their audiences. But be forewarned, the data is the data, meaning at the end of the day, those audiences will need to accept the findings, whether they like or dislike what they see.
For those of us leading the crowdfunding discussion, it is far too early in the game for us to make any resolute decisions based solely on the ADCI data. But we do now know where we might look at focusing our energy and message. It appears those most receptive to crowdfunding in this new economy are those who are realizing more opportunity overall in our melting-pot society, and who desire transparency in choosing their investments.