Crowdfunding in Europe: A fast growing market


Europe’s SMEs need money to grow. To find new sources, a meeting of German and Austrian crowdfunding managers took place in Vienna. Their goal: To give new options to SME’s.

Foto (c) Malone and Company Photography
Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of Indigogo. (c) Malone and Company Photography – no change

The parents of Danae Ringelmann were small businessman in California. Ever since she can remember, the owners of a well working brick-and-mortar business were fighting with banks over loans for faster growth. As the MBA graduate became a banker herself, she learned how private relations decide over acceptance or decline of loans. She backed out of banking and founded her own enterprise which links project initiators and financiers of all parts of society. Today, Ringelmann is co-founder of the worlds biggest crowdfunding platform “Indiegogo”. Many entrepreneurs in Austria share the fate of Ringelmanns parents. Even if business is running well, loans are hard to get. The crowdfunding managers who met for innovation talks in the Viennese Media Tower the 22. of October, want to change this. Sven Hock from the german Indiegogo platform met Theresa Koppler from Startnext, Daniel Horak from Conda and Reinhard Willfort from 1000×1000, the biggest Austrian crowdfunding sites. The meeting, organized by “Wirtschaftsagentur Wien”, is dedicated to give entrepreneurs new input for their crowdfunding campaigns.

Europe is the second biggest market for crowdfunding

Reinhard Willford from 1000×1000 is raising hope concerning the new form of financing: “Various directors of the European Commission have crowdfunding on their list”, he says. Also the Digital Agenda has put a focus on crowd financing. This is not surprising, when looking at the overall capital. With one billion euros, Europe’s crowdfunding market holds rank two of the global market – and counting. In 2012 the global market for crowdfunding was growing by 30 percent.

(c) Crowdfunding Industry Report
Still the US is leading the global crowdfunding market. Europe follows closely.

Legal norms from time before crowdfunding

But the sector also has challenges to face: The legal situation is unsatisfying because regulations come from a time before crowdfunding. Who applies for a sum of more then 250.000 euros needs to propose a prospectus. With costs around 350.000 euros for a prospectus one may ask which projects are feasible for crowdfunding. Also, legislation being bank-oriented makes legal situation unclear for crowdfunding. The lawsuite of shoe-manufacturer “Heini” Staudinger is a parade example for many entrepreneurs. But things may change: Roman Vonderhaid, from “Junge Wirtschaft”, directed new legislations to parliament. They are still waiting for approval by the government.

The future is Big Data!

If asked for about future of crowdfunding, the managers of the innovation talk know just one answer: Big Data! If interactions of project managers and financiers are monitored, guidelines for a successful campaign could be found. Theresa Koppler from Startnext already works together with Max Planck Institute to find patterns in their databases.   Foto Title: (c) Malone and Company Photography – change size This article was published in cooperation with Digital City Vienna

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