Thursday, September 15, 2011

Congressional hearing on crowdfunding, video available

The video of today's Congressional hearing on crowdfunding is now online.  This is the 2nd related hearing, the 1st one was focused more broadly on capital formation.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dylan Ratigan Show: Woody Neiss talks crowdfunding!

See the uber-tanned Woody Neiss (from startupexemption.com), talk with Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC, one day before the Congressional hearing on the same topic!

Note that I keep track of many such things here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 'next Facebook' will be a crowdfunding platform

The leading social network service is ... Facebook.
The leading micro-blogging service is ... Twitter.
What's the 800 lb gorilla in online services for startups? ... There isn't one.

There is no one place 'everybody' goes online for startups.  And thus:
  • You can't access a 3rd party app market and related APIs.
  • There is no 'search' for startups.
  • There is no central ecosystem for all the related players (office rentals, IP lawyers, accountants, benefits companies, employees, ...)
  • There is no way to apply deep quantitative models and trend analytics to startups.
  • And of course, as a consequence, much of the startup market remains opaque and difficult to access.
And yet, think about how huge the small business ecosystem is.  American "informal investors" put approximately $51 billion into early companies in 2010 alone (business angels, only $9.4 billion of that).  But it's the size of the entire ecosystem around small companies that really drives the value of being a "Facebook of startups" -- and that's going to be an order of magnitude bigger.

So what happens when across the global scene (or some fraction of it), trillions of dollars worth of ecosystem start focusing its time on one (or a few) winners in the online startup space?  And when players access related apps from a marketplace, find employees, employers, lawyers, administrative services, office space, designers, etc?  Investors will find a rich ecosystem equally valuable and transformational, given that large data sets of info will enable trend analytics and custom deal potential identification.  Do you suppose that will make a 'Facebook' of the space valuable?

I've had a conversation with a number of VCs about a crowdfunding platform being the next major investment potential.  Mostly they just politely change the subject, or even roll their eyes.  Reminds me of trying to get funded in the 90's for a virtualization startup (doh!).  Well, I'm going all-in on perhaps my biggest ever trend call.  The next Facebook-sized investment opportunity in software startups, is a crowdfunding platform.  And it's going to have an app market & APIs.  Roll your eyes all you want, sheople.  It's about to get interesting...

P.S. It's worth noting the momentum picking up in regulatory changes for crowdfunding.

Congressional hearing on crowdfunding, White House blog post on crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is really picking up steam in the U.S.:
  • Hearing #2 in a House of Representatives subcommittee (this time specifically about crowdfunding!) is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 15.  Btw, you can request that C-SPAN covers this hearing, by calling them the day before at 202-737-3220.
  • In a recent blog post from the White House Office of Science and Technology, point#1 makes the case for allowing crowdfunding as part of the Startup America initiative.
This is a great time to get the word out about the petition for crowdfunding at StartupExemption.com.  It's important to show support while this is a hot topic.

We keep track of related events in a dedicated page.