Crowdfunding is an Internetenabled way for businesses or other organizations to raise money in the form of either donations or investments from multiple individuals. This new form of capital formation emerged in an organized way in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis largely because of the difficulties faced by artisans, entrepreneurs and early-stage enterprises in raising funds. With traditional banks less willing to lend, entrepreneurs started to look elsewhere for capital.
Crowdfunding began as an online extension of traditional financing by friends and family: communities pool money to fund members with business ideas. In less than a decade, crowdfunding has gained traction in a number of developed economies, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. This exciting phenomenon is spreading across the developed world and is now attracting considerable interest in the developing world as well.
Crowdfunding takes advantage of crowd-based decision-making and innovation, and applies it to the funding of projects or businesses. Using social networks, social profiles, and the viral nature of webbased communication, individuals and companies have raised billions of dollars in debt, equity, and donations for projects over the past five years. Kickstarter, for instance, the market leader in pledge or donation-based crowdfunding, has channeled over US$815 million from 4.9 million backers (29 percent of which have invested in more than one project) to nearly 50,000 projects throughout the world since 2009.
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