How Crowdfunding is becoming regular investing
A decade ago, an entrepreneur wanting to raise cash pretty much had to have rich relatives or pals, or gain entry into the clubby world of venture capital. Sure, that entrepreneur could take it to the web, asking people to make their own relatively small investments, but that was considered less than respectable – the digital version, perhaps, of panhandling.
My, how much has changed since 2009. Now crowdsourcing is not only the hip way to raise money, but is pretty much expected to be part of the overall fundraising process. And one person who has helped in that shift is Jeff Kelisky, CEO of Seedrs, a crowdsourcing platform where new businesses seek and raise cash. Karen Webster from PYMNTS recently caught up with him to review the past decade of innovation – and to look into where investing and FinTech are headed in the new decade that’s about to start.
“It came together because, at heart, I am sort of a nerd,” Kelisky said, describing the journey that led him to Seedrs. “I would be coding to 3 a.m. in the morning on my IBM PC when that was a thing.” Indeed, his path led him from IBM to consulting to Microsoft before he spent nearly three years getting Seedrs in shape to launch – a period of time largely spent checking off regulatory boxes, and a lesson for other entrepreneurs seeking to make a splash in FinTech and other highly regulated industries.
Confusion and Anxiety
But that’s just part of being an entrepreneur. So is the ability to have a sharp vision when others don’t – almost like an artist, in fact. “Uncertainty breeds entrepreneurship,” Kelisky told Webster. “The people who rise from that confusion and anxiety are the ones who are the entrepreneurs. They are the ones who spot the patterns.”
If so, this must be a hot time for entrepreneurship, given such uncertainly as Brexit (Seedrs is based in the U.K.), trade wars and global political realignment – to say nothing of all the disruption in tech, payments and financial services (thanks to PSD2 and other regulatory efforts). As all that happens, digital technology and the crowdsourcing it engenders are changing the way businesses raise capital and build customer bases.
Now, the guy who created code at those ungodly hours is helping entrepreneurs raise capital in amounts ranging from about 50,000 euros to five million euros.
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