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国际资讯

众筹融资 一举三得

对于众筹而言,有人认为必须要在公司初期就构建起一定的结构和透明度,这样才能从大众手中筹集到资金。这有利于公司为其产品或服务进行市场地位,颁布更多的有效决策,也能吸引更多的后续投资人。

虽然众筹集资产业仍刚刚起步,我们仍然可以找到一些它能够促进企业发展的迹象。

我们对87家成功通过众筹平台筹资的企业进行了深入的采访。采访包含了三类众筹集资的形式:奖励式、债权和股权。

众筹集资能够提高销量么?

我们假设众筹集资也可以同时作为一种市场营销。专家们通常认为,通过众筹集资,公司提高了它自身和其产品、服务的曝光率,由此带动产品销量上涨。

为此,我们向公司的负责人询问了他们每季度的销售额(不包含众筹集资的收入),结论如下 :

  • 所有众筹融资成功的公司,不论是奖励式、债权还是股权融资,季度收入平均较众筹集资前增长了24% (这并不包括融资期间的销售额度)。
  • 特别值得关注的是,股权筹资企业的季度收入的增长竟然达到了惊人的351%。

受访者调查显示,出资人不再是那种投资大公司的“被动投资者”,而是把自己当做一个“主动投资者”,因其对自我投资的兴趣关注度更高,进而对投资品牌的忠诚度也更高,无形中演变成了一股新的销售力量。

众筹集资能够为筹资公司带来更多的岗位么?

我们想要弄清楚公司用众筹筹到的钱做了些什么。

  • 从调查中我们发现,平均每家公司在结束筹资后的90天内就会把筹集到的所有资金都花完。
  • 大部分的筹资都用于或者计划用于雇佣新员工来帮助公司实现筹资活动的设定目标。
  •  39%的公司在众筹集资后平均雇佣了2.2个新员工。
  • 另外有48%的公司称他们想要用众筹资金雇佣新员工。
  • 有两名以上员工的公司比只有一名员工的公司更倾向于用筹得的资金雇佣新员工。

通过众筹集资,平均每家公司可以募得11.1万美金,似乎这些公司足以提供报酬颇丰的职位。进一步的研究可能主要关注这些新工作对于当地经济的影响。

众筹集资会妨碍后续的投资么?

“天使和风投永远都不愿意跟投一家由大量素质参差不齐的投资者投资的公司。”如果我们每次听到这种说法都能得到一块钱(那么我们就瞬间富了)。

在过去的二十年中,早期投资的操作模式基本上是没有什么变化的。主要的困难在于管理投资者,比如要耗费大量的时间和他们交涉,还有收集他们的投票。(本篇作者经营过Inc.500公司,所以有这方面的体会。)然而数据显示,虽然有些人对众筹集资持否定态度,还是有人愿意使用这种新工具进行筹资。

在众筹集资活动开始的三个月内:

  • 28%的公司完成了一轮天使或者风险投资。
  • 另外43%的公司正与机构投资者进行洽谈。

这意味着有71%的众筹成功的公司已经获得跟投或者正在处于交涉的过程之中。

通过进一步研究我们发现,参与融资的大众实际为公司及其产品提供了担保。大家的投资“降低了跟投的风险”,因为这说明“大家愿意冒险用自己的钱来获得公司的未来可能收入。”投资者(不论是众筹集资人,私募基金还是公开市场)都想要投资一家有着有趣发家史、伟大产品、优秀商业模式和精良团队的公司,而这些正是一些成功众筹筹资的公司所具备的特征。

众筹集资除了钱,还筹集到了什么?

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众筹集资,像所有筹集资本的方法一样,都是充满挑战并且耗费时间的。那么究竟众筹融资还能带来什么其他额外的好处吗?

有意思的是,受访者基本都同意,尽管他们基本的目的是为了钱,但是整个众筹集资的体验给他们带来的经常“超过他们的期望”。额外的好处包括:

  • 全面投产前的产品反馈。
  • 市场营销意见(可能改变整个营销的计划)。
  • 投资者的知识和经验,这些本来是公司需要“花巨资从咨询公司获取的”,但是现在却能从给他们的投资人那里得到,“不仅免费还有得到一张支票”。

尽管这只是从少量受访者那里取得的初步调查,不过相关的迹象是很显著的,我们会继续和我们与UC伯克利在2012年共同创办的企业和社会融资创新项目合作,在这个领域进行深入的研究。

我们相信众筹集资会带来更多实力更强、更成功的新创企业和中小型企业。但是未来还有很多未知和挑战,今年股权众筹集资正式推出时可能带来的影响才是一个真正的挑战。

One of the arguments behind crowdfunding is that by sourcing money from the crowd, you may enforce structure and transparency on companies earlier in their lives. That, in turn, could help them to demonstrate a market for their product or service, make potentially more informed decisions, and attract follow-on investors.

While crowdfunding is still in its nascent stage, we set out to find some early signals of how it’s meeting these promises.

We conducted in-depth interviews with 87 companies that were successful in raising money via crowdfunding campaigns. The survey looked at three forms of crowdfunding: rewards, debt, and equity. Here’s what we found.

Does Crowdfunding Improve Sales?

We wanted to test the hypothesis that a crowdfunding campaign can also serve as a marketing campaign. Experts regularly assert that crowdfunding increases exposure about a company and their product or service and, in doing so, leads to net new product sales.

To test this, we asked company executives about their quarter-to-quarter sales (net of crowdfunding proceeds) and this is what we found:

  • Among all companies that concluded successful rewards, equity, or debt campaigns, quarterly revenues increased by an average of 24 percent post crowdfunding (not including amounts raised by crowdfunding).
  • Of particular note: When we filtered for equity-based campaigns, we saw a shocking increase of 351 percent quarterly revenue increase.

The results indicate that crowdfunding positively impacts sales, and those that run equity-based campaigns see the greatest quarterly increase.

Initial research from interviews revealed that the funders see themselves as “active investors” rather than passive investors in large, pubic companies and want to be “loyal to the brand” and “act as an extended sales force” with a “vested interest in the success” of their investment.

Does Crowdfunding Create Jobs in Companies That Use It?

Here we wanted to understand what companies do with the money they crowdfund.

  • From our research, we uncovered the average company spent 100 percent of the proceeds within 90 days of the end of the campaign.
  • Much of that money went to or was planned to go into hiring people to help the company accomplish the goals of the crowdfunding campaign.
  • 39 percent of companies hired an average of 2.2 new employees per company after crowdfunding.
  • An additional 48 percent of companies said they intended to use crowdfunding proceeds to hire new staff.
  • Companies with more than two employees were more likely to use the funds to hire than companies with only one employee.

With the average raise among all forms of crowdfunding being $111,000, it would appear that these companies may be creating quality, living wage jobs. Future research will look into how these new jobs can impact their local economies.

Does Crowdfunding Deter Follow-on Investment?

If only we had a dollar for every time someone said to us, “Angels and VCs will never follow a crowdfunded company that has a large number of unsophisticated investors.”

The way the world has worked in early stage investing has been fairly stable over the last 20 years. The argument is that it’s hard to manage investors, time-consuming to communicate with them, and challenging to gather their votes. (The authors understand this having run Inc. 500 companies.) The data demonstrates, however, that while some investors may be saying negative things about crowdfunding, others are using this new tool for deal flow.

Within three months of a crowdfunding campaign:

  • 28 percent of the companies had closed an angel investor or venture capital round.
  • An additional 43 percent were in discussions with institutional investors.

This means that a total of 71 percent of companies that were successful with crowdfunding had already received or were in conversations to accept follow on investors.

Digging deeper, we came to understand that “the crowd provided social proof” for the company or product. Their investment “de-risked follow on investment” because it “showed that people were willing to risk money for the potential return of the company.” Investors (be it crowdfunders, private money, or public markets) want to invest in companies that have a great story, a great product, a great business model, and a great team — all characteristics that successful crowdfunding campaigns seemed to demonstrate.

Is There Anything More to Crowdfunding Than Just the Money?

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Crowdfunding, like all methods of raising capital, is challenging and time-consuming. So what, if any, additional benefits does a company get from it?

Interestingly enough, the responders seemed to agree that, while they primarily “went into it for the money,” what they got out of the experience of crowdfunding was “more than they expected.” Additional benefits included:

  • Feedback on their product that they were able to incorporate prior to full-scale production.
  • Marketing advice that changed their marketing plans.
  • Investor knowledge and experience that they “would have had to pay hefty advisor fees to receive” but instead got “in addition to a check” from their investors / contributors.

While this is preliminary research from a small data set of responders, we think the signals are strong, and our firm will continue to study of this sector in conjunction with the UC Berkeley Program on Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance that we co-founded in 2012.

We continue to believe that crowdfunding will lead to an increased number of stronger, more successful startups and SMEs. There are still unknowns and a number of challenges ahead, however. The real test will be when the full impact of equity crowdfunding goes live this year.


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