Should you be Crowd Funding in 2013?

Ladies and Gentlemen, our first New Year’s present has arrived.

It’s another gift from our kids; a generation feverishly bent on serious change. And this time they’re re-engineering the perennial landscape of small business financing. It’s the Internet meets Crowd Funding part 2, courtesy of the Jobs Act in Washington. You’ve heard of it, Crowd Funding, where budding entrepreneurs raise money on the internet for new sticky-wand hair removers and degravitizing dust particle vacuums, right? There is that. But what if, as well, it was soon to become the most measureable small business economic payoff from Social Media of all time? Would that get more attention?

Until now, for most of my clients (and me) crowd funding has been little more than a mere curiosity. Most business owners I know still think to raise money the old fashioned way, they borrow it, from a bank, with thick walls and a vault. But what if that were not the right way anymore? Enter the rise of the CFPs (crowd funding platforms) in 2013. That is when under the Jobs Act crowd funding platforms are expecting to expand beyond facilitating donations and rewards. The new options which include debt and equity raises may begin to ruffle old feathers. Why? Think of it. One company has already seen over $10 million in crowd funds pledged for their product line! That’s serious coin. But how is that possible without Gangnam Style you wonder??

In business school we all learned about how innovations like Facebook can dramatically disrupt an industry’s rate of change. Well, perhaps on some smaller level it’s proper to say, like it or not here we go again. This time, it’s not brick and mortar bookstores going down, it’s brick and mortar banks. Especially small local banks, they better watch out. Is that a stretch? Maybe. But at some point the key question becomes obvious: why would anyone (like a small company) let a local bank have all the fun (so to speak) when you can now tap into a growing planet of online users (you don’t even know) to help finance your company’s next big thing?

Well, 2013 could be just that bell ringing, and the year this thing takes off. According to there are already over 500 CFPs (crowd funding platforms) worldwide. Most are in the US where new rules have been written, lessons have been learned, and it’s where over $800mil in crowd funds were raised in 2011. So maybe it’s time to get more familiar with it and in what better way than by using a recent SCORE Crowd Funding webinar to spread the word. It’s a 1-hour moderated prerecorded online webinar from SCORE.ORG (where I too am a proud Business workshop instructor). The program is a moderated slide show discussion between two crowd funding companies, Indiegogo and Somolend, who (like Kickstarter) facilitate specific crowd fund-raising processes for a fee of about 4%, although pricing varies.

They use a few simple real-life case studies to explain exactly how crowd funding successes are achieved… start to finish. I would consider the info an early 2013 heads up present for small business owners, and it’s free: You’ll quickly learn:

  • What      is Crowd Funding & How it Works
  • Types      of CF: new Debt/Equity option vs Donation/Reward
  • Why      the 30-Day Campaign is a big hit
  • Best      Practice Case Studies & Tips for Success
  • SEC      and FINRA views and rules

Is it a global tide change for small business lending; a disruptive evolution in the making? It could be that. But on the face of it, do I see crowd funding platforms replacing Wall Street bankers anytime soon? Not really. But then $10 million isn’t play money either.

About the author: Rick Andrade is a Managing Director and investment banker in Los Angeles. He represents active sellers and buyers of middle market companies. Rick has his BA and MBA from UCLA along with his Series 7, 63 & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, published writer and blogger at for issues important to middle market business owners. You can reach him at