As a market that has more than quadrupled in value since 2013 and which is currently expected to raise $34.4bn (£22bn, €31bn) in 2015, crowdfunding might be one of the most popular investment forms of our time.

Crowdfunding allows businesses and entrepreneurs to raise funds from many investors through a platform, such as Crowdcube, rather than seeking out one 'angel investor', which provides all the funds and agrees a percentage return on capital with the entrepreneur.

Luke Lang, co-founder and chief marketing officer of crowdfunding website Crowdcube, told IBTimes UK: "Angel investors, by their very nature, were very few and far between, they were very much the rich and the wealthy top 1% of citizens, so they were very difficult to find."

Lang said that the company was founded out of frustration about how difficult it was to access funds to set up a business.

Crowdcube, which has helped raise start-up businesses as well as settled companies a total of more than £89m, is especially interesting because of its rewards system and the fact that it is an actual investment platform, rather than a platform for charitable causes.

Entrepreneurs and business owners offer anywhere between 5% and 20% equity for investors, depending on the risk of the product or business in question.

Crowdfunding as an investment form is a lot more popular among smaller investors because of the 'easy access' it offers. Lang said: "I think the interesting thing to highlight with investors is how dramatically the profile or demographic of a crowdfunding investor differs from a traditional angel investor."

Younger and more diverse, crowdfunding investors often work in finance, sales and marketing jobs. "Those professions have an appreciation of business and what to look out for," Lang said.

Seasoned entrepreneurs

Crowdcube features mainly new products, interesting app ideas and inventions. Some of these might seem a little odd, but most ideas are innovative and bring something new to the market.

The website does not only feature entrepreneurs, however. Job board website Adzuna posted a crowdfunding campaign on the website, set up by the former chief executive officer of property giant Zoopla.

"That's a growing trend, I guess, as we start to see, increasingly, more interesting and stronger business propositions coming to Crowdcube which attracts more investors," Lang explained. "They're making the switch from the way they used to operate five or 10 years ago are actually switching to the online model which they find much more convenient. The quality of the deal flow is strong as well."


Furniture designer Kelly Hoppen, a big name in the industry and normally an investor in new ideas and innovations herself, because of her role on Dragons' Den, was one of those people who are established, credible, and put their product up for crowdfunding.

Offering 11% equity and asking for a total of £1.1m for her new product range, Hoppen was hopeful to be on the receiving end of innovation investments for once, but had to pull her product in June 2015, when it turned out she did not reach her target before the deadline.

Around 50% of campaigns do not reach their funding target in time, Lang said. If companies have to withdraw their campaign, investors keep their money.

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular form of investment (and humanitarian aid), and it keeps gaining momentum for entrepreneurs and experienced business people as well as investors.

"You're starting to see a really interesting dynamic and shift in the evolution of crowdfunding, which I think is terribly exciting," Lang said. "Of course we are still very much focused on raising finance for smaller businesses, no less aspirational and ambitious but maybe just in the early stages of their journey when they are looking to raise steep finance."