How to Pick A Crowdfunding Consultant

Editor’s Note: The following comes to us from Rose Spinelli, founder of The CrowdFundamentals, a crowdfunding consultancy. Spinelli offers newcomers some tips on how to choose a crowdfunding consultant that’s right for them. The original piece appeared on Spinelli’s blog, and we are reposting it here with her permission. Be sure to follow The CrowdFundamentals @TCFRose.

As trends go, crowdfunding is a toddler: all fired up and streaked with independence, in constant motion and grabbing at any shiny object put in its path, wobbly but growing more confident each day. If crowdfunding were a tactile thing, les enfants terribles would take a bite out of you.

But crowdfunding is not so new that it hasn’t birthed its own progeny—the crowdfund consultant. (I am referring to donor- and reward-based crowdfunding since, to push my metaphor one image too far, equity crowdfunding remains in a protracted period of gestation.) You could argue that the nature of crowdfunding defies such conventional paths, that part of its appeal is that every individual now has the tools and the potential audience to find her own way to success, middlemen be damned. Yet it’s a career track that’s found a foothold, and by the looks of the roster of individuals and companies identifying themselves as such, in my own niche capacity myself included, there are no signs the trend will slacken.

The truth is crowdfunding done well is really hard. It takes a diverse skill set. Creative types, who are big users of this new source of capital, are often weak on the communication, marketing and business end of things. Just scour a popular platform and you’ll see projects with great potential that don’t achieve their goal simply because they don’t know the space well enough to leverage it.

It also takes time to learn how to be successful at crowdfunding. Six months is a reasonable learning curve. Creators would rather be working on their art, innovators are immersed in inventions, and entrepreneurs seem to run on fumes as it is. So there is a need, and the vacuum is filling up, fast.

In an industry so untested, how is an individual or startup supposed to know whom to hire? Just saying you’re an expert doesn’t make it so. Since I spend an ungodly amount of time on the topic, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I’ve picked up along the way. And since it would defeat the purpose to limit it to just one opinion, I contacted some of my colleagues, with whom I’ve formed a virtual salon on various LinkedIn crowdfunding groups, and asked them to weigh in.

Here’s what’s come of my research:

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SEC to Hold Annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation

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Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2012 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it will hold its annual SEC Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation on November 15 at its Washington, D.C. headquarters.

This year’s forum will begin with panel discussions on the implementation of the recently enacted Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, and on small business capital formation issues not addressed by the JOBS Act. During the afternoon, participants will work in groups to formulate specific policy recommendations.

The forum begins at 9 a.m. ET with the panel discussions, which will be webcast live on the SEC’s website. The afternoon breakout group sessions will be open to the public and accessible by teleconference, but will not be webcast. Anyone wishing to participate in a breakout group, either in person or by teleconference, must register online by November 12.

The names of panel participants and the full agenda for the forum will be announced at a later date and posted on the SEC’s website. Members of the public are invited to make suggestions for recommendations or topics to be discussed at the forum. These suggestions, and any questions about the forum, should be e-mailed to the SEC’s Office of Small Business Policy atSmallBusiness@sec.gov. For more information, call (202) 551-3460.

Forbes Article On Crowdfunding Explosion in 2013

Read this article on Forbes today. Very well written and accurate:

The world of entrepreneurial finance is changing rapidly; we are at a tipping point that will make what seems like a vibrant part of our global economy today seem small in one year’s hindsight.

Whether you are a service provider, social entrepreneur, angel investor, venture capitalist, or one of the millions of people ready to become a small-scale start up financier, it is time to pay attention.

Estimates for annual crowdfunding transactions go as high as $500 billion annually compared to 2011’s $1.5 billion (anticipated to be $3 billion in 2012).  If crowdfunding even begins to approach that scale, it will completely change the landscape for start-up financing.

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Adult Content Crowdfunding Platform – www.adultxfund.com

Do you need an adult content friendly crowdfunding platform? Well a new site at http://www.adultxfund.com/ has just gone live and is specializing in adult initiatives and is backed by GrowVC:

AdultXfund is a place where companies can offer equity for investment in their adult business and projects – a network that’s dedicated to adult industry entrepreneurs and investors, bringing sexing and interesting projects to new partners, and to helping its members realise their full potential.

Backed by Grow VC, entrepreneurs and funders can have the confidence that the tools and support teams are in place to make sure that everything is secure and reliable.

I know there are or will be others and I will report on them just as I do the non-adult platforms and I fully expect that other niche markets will be seeing their own platforms pop up as the crowdfunding platform market reaches saturation point.

 

 

 

Steve Case Hailed as JOBS Act Hero

Steve Case Hailed as JOBS Act Hero

April 6th, 2012 by Posted in AOLJOBS ActObamastartupSteve CaseWall Street Journal

On the heels of President Obama signing theJOBS Act (which loosens regulations on small businesses, making it easier for startups to grow), the Wall Street Journal published an article Thursday afternoon attributing much of the success of the bill to Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and venture capitalist.

Case co-chaired the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship and was a member of the President’s Council on Jobs & Competitiveness.

“He’s really been pivotal in terms of being able to present a case for why we need this bill, why we need to get rid of red tape that’s blocking start-up companies to begin and to grow,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) told the Wall Street Journal.

Case wrote about the virtues and complexities of the JOBS Act, the goal of which is to “provide better access to capital for a wide range of companies, in a variety of sectors and regions – and provide new options for accessing capital at each stage of a company’s lifecycle,” he explained.

In his post, Case explained that startup growth has declined due to an inability to secure investors and funding. “But access to capital was critical,” his post says, “and that’s why I’ve spent time in recent months helping to build bipartisan support for the JOBS Act.”

[Image via whitehouse.gov]

A Crowdfunding Pioneer Psychoanalyzes Crowdfunding’s True Believers

Paul Spinrad is the guy who gave the movement for a crowdfunding exemption in the U.S. its first big shove towards becoming law. In the first part of this exclusive series on Crowdsourcing.org, he recalled those early days and the efforts that have since begun to blossom in the form of the JOBS Act. Below, in the second half of the series, he also gives us an inside look at the fanatical devotion of some of crowdfunding’s true believers.

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Crowdfunding Will Bring More Capital To Small Businesses, Panel Tells Congress

Washington, DC — September 13, 2012 – The Securities and Exchange Commission should move with “due speed and clarity,” a panel urged the House Joint Subcommittee Hearing on JOBS Act Implementation. Naval Ravikant, CEO of AngelList, tesified that crowdfund investing will bring more capital to small business, adding ”Today’s small start-ups are tomorrow’s Fortune 500 employer.”

The committee originally scheduled the hearing to get a progress report from SEC chair Mary Schapiro, regarding the creation of rules that will implement the JOBS Act. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch regulations to govern crowdfund investing. The Act will enable small businesses to raise up to $ 1 million per year from small investors through online, crowdfund portals.

Although Ms. Schaprio could not attend, members of academia, small businesses and the crowdfund communities urged that job creation visioned under the JOBS Act should move forward with due speed and clarity. “Critics have argued loose rules may invite fraud, Mr. Ravikand testified. “Rules that are too tight, however, may repel the good companies – the ones who drive all of the economic returns for investors.”

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