Growing pains and blessings: Manifestations and implications of equity crowdfunding industry maturation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionLukkarinen, A., Shneor, R. & Wallenius, J. (2022). Growing pains and blessings: Manifestations and implications of equity crowdfunding industry maturation. Decision Support Systems, 157, 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.dss.2022.113768
The equity crowdfunding industry has grown significantly in the past decade. Industry life cycle theory suggests that growth dynamics and relations between stakeholders change as industries mature. The present study examines the characteristics and implications of maturation in the equity crowdfunding industry via the lens of industry life cycle theory. Specifically, we explore whether the industry is reverting to traditional entrepreneurial finance practice, or whether it retains its original distinguishing characteristics. Accordingly, we first assess changes with respect to users (investors) and products (campaigns and investment objects). Second, we assess the implications of these changes by comparing the determinants of fundraising campaign success in earlier and later industry stages. We use a longitudinal database and survey data sourced from a long-standing European equity crowdfunding platform. We show that equity crowdfunding seems to be converging towards traditional entrepreneurial finance practice, yet maintaining certain unique features stemming from digitality, platform nature, and investor diversity. Specifically, we show that (1) fundraising ventures and their campaigns have become larger and more professional, and (2) engaged investors became more knowledgeable and return-oriented. Accordingly, traditional investment criteria, such as team and commercial terms ratings, have become more important predictors of campaign success, and easily observable campaign characteristics, such as B2C business models, and minimum investment thresholds, less so. The findings support platform managers and entrepreneurs as they plan for campaigns seeking to attract investors in the industry's later stages.