The traditional approach to raise funds for starting a new business has been to draw up a business plan and run it through interested parties who have the funds and are looking for good investment opportunities. These interested parties could be venture capitalists, angel investors or banks. This has been the most common approach followed in the past for new business ventures. In contrast, crowdfunding is a relatively new idea that is rapidly gaining ground.
What Is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a method of fundraising through the collective contribution of individuals. These individuals could be your family, friends, customers or anyone who finds your idea interesting and is willing to invest. Thus, rather than focusing on a few wealthy individual investors, crowdfunding leverages the funds from a large pool of people. Individual contributions may be smaller but because of several contributors, this can raise big amounts. Funds are typically raised online via social media or crowdfunding platforms.
Benefits Of Online Crowdfunding
There are several benefits of using crowdfunding. Online crowdfunding platforms give you access to a huge number of accredited investors. Accredited investors are individuals whose net worth exceeds a certain amount and are able to legally invest in your venture. A good crowdfunding campaign is bound to include social media, email based newsletters, and other online marketing activities. You can track the status of your fundraising on crowdfunding platforms and see how far you have met your targets for business finance. Online platforms eliminate the need to follow up with each individual investor and you can also very quickly get feedback on your promotions and campaigns.
Types Of Crowdfunding
There are different types of crowdfunding and the one you choose depends on your business venture.
- Rewards-Based Crowdfunding
In this type of fundraising, people invest in your business venture with the promise of a reward in return. This could possibly be the use of your products or services. This is a popular method as there is no financial benefit or ownership to be provided to the investors.
- Equity-Based Crowdfunding
In this type of funding, investors receive your equity shares in return of investment thus becoming part owners of your business venture. Thus investors not only get some ownership but also are entitled to a share of your profits.
- Donation-Based Crowdfunding
In this type of funding, there are no returns provided to the investors. This is usually used for non-profit activities and charity based work.