Please quote as: Gierczak, M. M.; Bretschneider, U.; Haas, P.; Blohm, I. &
Leimeister, J. M.(2015): Crowdfunding – Outlining the New Era of
Fundraising. In: Gajda, O. & Brüntje, D. (Eds.), Crowdfunding in Europe – State of
The Art in Theory And Practice; FGF Studies in Small Business and
Entrepreneurship (pp. 7-23). Cham: Springer Science + Business Media.
Crowdfunding: Outlining the New Era
Michael M. Gierczak, Ulrich Bretschneider, Philipp Haas, Ivo Blohm,
and Jan Marco Leimeister
Abstract Crowdfunding is increasingly gaining attention in theory and practice.
Various platforms have emerged, offering entrepreneurs and project owners the
possibility to raise money from an undeﬁned group of online users (“crowd”). In
this article we aim to provide a deeper understanding of the rise of crowdfunding as
an alternative funding opportunity by discussing its main characteristics, the market
development, different classiﬁcation approaches, its ﬁelds of application and by
providing directions for future research.
Keywords Crowdfunding • Crowdinvesting • Crowdsourcing • Crowdfunding
types • Crowdfunding platforms
The development of Web 2.0 technologies within the past decade has enabled the
evolution of new and innovative business models, in which the digital user plays an
increasingly important role by changing the way goods are being used and con-
sumed (Brenner et al., 2014). This digital user is no longer located at the end of the
value chain. He is an integral part of it, a co-decision-maker. This change requires
whole industries to think and act differently leading to a fundamental transfor-
mation from ofﬂine business models to digital ones. In this context, crowdsourcing
is a striking example. It describes the outsourcing of various tasks to an undeﬁned
group of people using information technologies (Blohm, Leimeister, & Krcmar,
M.M. Gierczak (*) • U. Bretschneider
Information Systems, Kassel University, Pfannkuchstraße 1, 34121 Kassel, Germany
e mail: michael.gierczak@uni kassel.de
P. Haas • I. Blohm
Institute of Information Management (IWI), University of St. Gallen, Mu
¨ller Friedberg Strasse
8, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Information Systems, Kassel University, Pfannkuchstraße 1, 34121 Kassel, Germany
Institute of Information Management (IWI), University of St. Gallen, Mu
¨ller Friedberg Strasse
8, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland
©Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
¨ntje, O. Gajda (eds.), Crowdfunding in Europe, FGF Studies in Small
Business and Entrepreneurship, DOI 10.1007/978 3 319 18017 5 2
2013; Leimeister, 2012). It helps companies to develop new ideas and innovations
by including customers’ needs and requests in the innovation process (Chesbrough,
2006). Crowdsourcing approaches often aim to beneﬁt from the wisdom of the
crowd (Surowiecki, 2004) and from collective intelligence (Leimeister, 2010).
One of the main crowdsourcing forms besides crowdvoting and crowdcreation
is crowdfunding (Howe, 2006;Leimeister,2012). It can be deﬁned as an open call
mostly through the Internet for the provision of ﬁnancial resources by a group of
individuals instead of professional parties either in form of donations, in exchange for a
future product or in exchange for some form of reward (Belleﬂamme, Lambert, &
Schwienbacher, 2014;Schwienbacher&Larralde,2012). Using a proverb,
crowdfunding can be described as “many alittlemakesamickle”, meaning that a
large amount of money can be raised by accumulating small contributions from a large
group of backers. Therefore, using Internet platforms as intermediaries between indi-
viduals, start-ups or companies on the one hand, and potential backers on the other, the
process of fundraising is sourced out to the crowd (Moritz & Block, 2014).
Being referred to as an innovative method of funding, the basic idea of
crowdfunding is not a new phenomenon. A frequently cited example of early
crowdfunding is the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. In 1885, Joseph Pulitzer, at
that time publisher of New York’s newspaper “World”, asked the citizens of
New York for a ﬁnancial contribution to the pedestal of the statue. In return, he
offered to print the name of each backer in his newspaper. After 5 months, the
“World” announced that the donation campaign had reached US$102,000. Remark-
ably, the funds of New Yorkers who donated less than US$1 made up for 80 % of
the grand total (Harris, 1986). More recent examples include the 2008 election
campaign of US-president Barack Obama. Obama’s team managed to raise three-
quarter of a billion USD by crowdfunding. Of note, about half of the overall
donation sum was raised by contributions under US$200 (Kappel, 2009). Up-to-
date various ventures, start-ups and individuals have already applied the method of
crowdfunding (Bradford, 2012). Successful examples of crowdfunding campaigns
reaching wide public attention are, for instance, the movie Stromberg (2011), a
cinematic version of a German sitcom (BRAINPOOL Artist & Content Services
GmbH, 2013) which raised 1 million euros in total in less than 1 week and Coolest
Cooler, a portable cooler that includes extra-functions (e.g. an integrated blender
and bluetooth speakers). Coolest Cooler was funded on Kickstarter attracting
62.642 backers and raising US$13,285,226 (Kickstarter, 2014a).
Since 2007 crowdfunding is gaining attention both in theory and in practice.
Different researchers from all over the world investigated crowdfunding by pro-
viding new insights in this emerging research ﬁeld and thus creating different
views. The purpose of this article is to consolidate some of these research streams
by providing a holistic view on crowdfunding and crowdfunding-related topics as
well as shedding light on the crowdfunding market in general, discussing current
views on crowdfunding and its types and principles, identifying common ﬁelds of
application and discussing potential future research directions. Our article will help
8 M.M. Gierczak et al.
to understand crowdfunding as a new and important possibility of fundraising that
has a great economic and social value.
2 The Crowdfunding Market
The crowdfunding market is still growing. The modern, digitised form of
crowdfunding has its roots in the beginning of this century. Many of today’s largest
crowdfunding platforms are from the US and were launched from 2005 onwards. In
2010, the crowdfunding wave swapped over to Europe. From this moment on,
crowdfunding started to particularly gain momentum in the UK, Germany and the
Netherlands, the most mature European crowdfunding markets. The overall market
numbers indicate an impressive development of crowdfunding. According to the
Crowdfunding Industry Report 2013, over 800 crowdfunding platforms are cur-
rently active or in the process of being built (Massolution, 2012). The total volume
is projected to US$5.1 billion in 2013 (Massolution, 2012). The biggest
crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, has already reached a total of US$1 billion
of funds in 2014 (Kickstarter, 2014b). Nevertheless, crowdfunding has not yet
reached its full potential. The growth of the crowdfunding market is not only
limited to the US. Current ﬁgures from the European market show an increase in
¨nder.de, 2014). In Germany there are 66 active crowdfunding
platforms over which 19 million euros has been raised in 2013 (Blohm, Leimeister,
Wenzlaff, & Gebert, 2013). Compared to 2012, the funding volume has doubled.
With a share of 25 % of the global crowdfunding volume, the European
crowdfunding market is the second largest in the world (Massolution, 2012).
The overall results of a Delphi study carried out by the University of St. Gallen
in early 2014 show that the growth of the crowdfunding market will continue in the
next years (Blohm et al., 2014). In this study, 70 experts were asked in two rounds
on the future development of the crowdfunding industry in Germany, Switzerland
and Austria. In detail, the experts think that the global crowdfunding volume will
rise up to US$35 billion in 2020. In the same period, the crowdfunding volume of
the German market is expected to rise up to 359 million euros (median). The most
signiﬁcant growth is expected in proﬁt-oriented models, such as equity-based and
lending-based crowdfunding. According to the experts, these two models will reach
a market share of around 60 80 %, both globally and in Germany. Looking at the
years ahead, the experts are convinced that crowdfunding in Germany will be able
to continue to grow, in particular helping creative projects (97 %), start-ups (87 %)
and young growth companies (92 %) to raise money (see Table 1).
Crowdfunding: Outlining the New Era of Fundraising 9
3 A Classiﬁcation of Crowdfunding
3.1 Crowdfunding Principles
Crowdfunding typically contains three participating stakeholders: the project initi-
ators who seek funding for their projects, the backers who are willing to back a
speciﬁc project, and the matchmaking crowdfunding platforms acting as interme-
diaries (Belleﬂamme et al., 2014). Figure 1illustrates the crowdfunding principle,
containing the three mentioned stakeholders. Each stakeholder type shows differ-
entiating characteristics, which have to be considered by attempting to describe
basic principles of crowdfunding. Based on these basic principles, three archetypes
of crowdfunding can be derived.
3.1.1 Project Initiators and Backers
Most frequently, project initiators and backers are private persons (Gerber, Hui, &
Kuo, 2012; Verstein, 2011). However, organisational project initiators, like start-
ups or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can be found as well (Belleﬂamme
et al., 2014; Bradford, 2012; Schwienbacher & Larralde, 2012). Furthermore, the
recent adoption of the JOBS Act in the USA indicates that there are also
organisational backers (Mollick, 2014; Ordanini, Miceli, Pizzetti, & Parasuraman,
Most research on the crowdfunding stakeholders refers to backers. Studies ﬁnd
that the investment decision of backers is inﬂuenced by social networks (Lin,
Prabhala, & Viswanathan, 2013; Zvilichovsky, Inbar, & Barzilay, 2013), herding
(Burtch, 2011) and free-riding behaviour (Burtch, Ghose, & Wattal, 2013). Lin,
Boh, and Goh (2014) summarise that crowdfunding is manifold and addresses
diverse interests. Backers also differ in their motivation for participation
Table 1 Development of the ﬁelds of application of crowdfunding by the year 2020 (Blohm et al.,
German-speaking market (Germany,
Switzerland, Austria) Global market
Private persons 4 28 64 4453 40 2
Creative projects 40 57 2064 36 0 0
Start-ups 51 36 11 2 70 23 6 0
Young growth companies 13 79 9 0 19 74 60
Small and medium
6 36 57 0 9 40 51 0
Large corporations and
0 0 36 64 0 0 40 60
10 M.M. Gierczak et al.
Funding Mechanism In contrast to traditional ﬁnancial intermediaries,
crowdfunding platforms do not borrow, pool, and lend money on their own account.
They focus on the matching of project initiators and backers by providing infor-
mation about the projects and functionalities, e.g. for reducing the risks of the
investment. Therefore, crowdfunding intermediaries provide particular funding
mechanisms, such as pledge levels, minimum pledge amounts and the all-or-
nothing-/keep-it-all-principle (Gerber et al., 2012; Mitra & Gilbert, 2014; Mollick,
2014; Walsh, 2014).
Project initiators deﬁne levels of possible pledge amounts. Each pledge level
implies a certain return, which increases with higher pledge amounts (e.g. a post-
card for 5 euros, or a poster for 10 euros). A minimum pledge amount represents the
lowest possible sum, which can be pledged by the backers. The minimum level of
the pledge amount varies widely from almost zero, e.g. for charity projects, up to
100 or 1,000 euros for start-up funding. Central to most crowdfunding platforms is
the all-or-nothing-principle (Cumming, Leboeuf, & Schwienbacher, 2014).
Following the all-or-nothing-principle, project initiators are only paid out the
collected amount in case they reach their pre-deﬁned funding goal. This is based
on the assumption that backers are only able to accomplish their project and to
deliver the promised returns if they have the complete resources required for doing
so. However, some crowdfunding platforms are based on a keep-it-all-principle in
which project initiators receive any collected sum (Gerber et al., 2012). This
funding principle is particularly used for charitable projects or projects which use
crowdfunding as a subordinate source of funding (Blohm, Leimeister, Wenzlaff,
et al., 2013).
Specialisation The Internet economy is characterised by so-called hyperspecia-
lisation (Malone, Laubacher, & Johns, 2011). Serving the highly heterogeneous
needs and requirements of project initiators and backers, crowdfunding platforms
focus on speciﬁc niches and serve a particular segment of the crowdfunding market.
Thus, crowdfunding platform specialisation may reach from innovative and crea-
tive projects or products (Agrawal, Catalini, & Goldfarb, 2010), start-ups and new
businesses (Ahlers, Cumming, Gu
¨nther, & Schweizer, 2012; Schwienbacher &
Larralde, 2012) to sustainability and charity projects (Burtch et al., 2013).
Support and Return Type The most obvious characteristic of a crowdfunding
platform is the type of return provided by the project initiator. In crowdfunding,
project initiators offer a bandwidth of possible returns, reaching from altruistic
returns to ﬁnancial compensation. From a legal perspective, Bradford (2012)
distinguishes ﬁve returns: (1) No compensation The backer makes a donation in
order to support projects for the greater good. (2) Reward The backer receives a
non-monetary return. (3) Pre-ordered product The backer’s support is a prepay-
ment for a product. (4) Interests The backer participates in a loan. (5) Proﬁt shares
The backer receives equity shares from the project (e.g. a start-up). The degree of
complexity for the provision of capital and theresultingreturnsincreasefromdonation,
rewards, pre-selling, lendingandequity,asshowninFig.2(Hemer, Schneider,
Dornbusch, & Frey, 2011).
12 M.M. Gierczak et al.
provide small- and medium-sized enterprises with capital to fund certain projects,
or enable the realisation of creative, altruistic, ecological, and social projects
(Belleﬂamme, Lambert, & Schwienbacher, 2010). All of these projects frequently
reﬂect some sort of niche project or projects that have a strong regional focus. As a
consequence, crowdfunding offers not only the possibility of raising money for
start-ups and new ventures but also makes funding possible for niche projects which
perhaps are perceived as non-proﬁtable, and thus are not able to raise money from
traditional sources. Therefore, crowdfunding not only enables prominent and lucra-
tive projects to be funded but also helps to develop less prominent projects. Thus,
crowdfunding may be described as an emerging long tail offer in the ﬁnancial
(Pre-)Sales This form of application of crowdfunding involves businesses
collecting payments in advance for products to be delivered at some later point of
time (Hemer et al., 2011). Doing so, the ﬁx costs of producing a product can be
ﬁnanced before production starts. In most cases, project initiators collect money to
develop a future product, which usually exists only in form of a prototype. The
project initiator guarantees the delivery of the ﬁnal product in return for the
contributor’s pledge. The value of the pledge is determined by an assessment of
the market value of the product. During the campaign, products might be offered at
a discounted price to encourage potential backers to support the crowdfunding
Marketing Crowdfunding is heavily based on social media and online communi-
cation, radically simplifying the sharing of information about a crowdfunding
project across geographical borders (Agrawal et al., 2010). For backers, promoting
crowdfunding projects by forwarding information to friends and other interested
parties is very easy and much faster than using ofﬂine techniques due to decreased
transaction costs. Due to their ﬁnancial investments, backers frequently show a high
level of involvement, making use of the available communication tools in order to
create awareness for projects. As a consequence, crowdfunding enables the creation
of viral marketing effects.
Market Research Due to the fast, easy, and not geographically limited access to
capital, the rapid exchange of information with potential backers allows for an
initial testing of business ideas (Mollick, 2014; The World Bank, 2013). In this
regard, successfully funded or even overfunded projects may serve as acceptance
tests of potential products and value propositions. As potential customers do have to
invest their money, crowdfunding might be more apt to elicit the true beliefs
regarding a product or a service than rating scale based product evaluations and
other crowdsourcing approaches (Riedl, Blohm, Leimeister, & Krcmar, 2013).
Co-creation Many crowdfunding projects have beneﬁted from the crowd’s feed-
back. This feedback can reach from simple questions regarding a future product or
service, to concrete suggestions for improvement, or even innovative new ideas.
Crowdfunding, therefore, is based on the fundamental idea of co-creation, in the
Crowdfunding: Outlining the New Era of Fundraising 15
sense that customers or backers are directly integrated into value creation (Blohm,
Leimeister, & Krcmar, 2013).
Besides the manifold potentials, crowdfunding as a source of ﬁnancing may also
pose some challenges. Uncertainty and risk for backers and cost of capital for the
project initiator are the most important ones.
Uncertainty and Risk Usually, the investment decisions of backers are not based
on solid ﬁnancial data but inﬂuenced by a high degree of emotionality and various
decision biases, such as herding or supporting regional projects (Agrawal et al.,
2011; Burtch et al., 2013). As a consequence, the funding usually implies risk and
uncertainty. For instance, backers may not receive the return as speciﬁed. In this
regard, start-ups going bankrupt or delayed delivery of pre-sold products are among
the most prevalent problems (Gierczak, Bretschneider, & Leimeister, 2014). How-
ever, crowdfunding does not only include uncertainty for backers but also for
project initiators. For instance, many project initiators who use crowdfunding as
pre-sales mechanisms do not possess scalable production facilities. As a conse-
quence, many products and other rewards are delivered with delay, potentially
damaging the reputation of the project initiator. This may also decrease proﬁtability
of the project due to unforeseen extra costs.
Cost of Capital In sum, crowdfunding compared to other forms of ﬁnancing
exhibits high costs of capital (Agrawal, Catalini, & Goldfarb, 2013). On average,
crowdfunding platforms request about 10 % of the raised capital and frequently
charge additional fees for due diligence of projects or insurances reducing uncer-
tainty and risk for the backers. Further, project initiators need to account costs for
the potential returns such as interests, shared proﬁts, discounts, or other types of
rewards. Conducting crowdfunding campaigns frequently requires high efforts with
respect to preparing a video and other information supporting the campaign, the
management of the campaign itself (e.g. responding to questions of potential
backers), and potentially increased investor relation efforts after the end of the
5 Future Research Directions
In view of the relatively new crowdfunding phenomenon, research lacks a deeper
knowledge on crowdfunding and crowdfunding related topics. Therefore, no or
only limited statements can be made with regard to a wide variety of questions
(Burtch, Benedetto, & Mudambi, 2014), as for, for instance, backers’ motivation to
support a crowdfunding campaign as well as project initiators’ motivation to start a
16 M.M. Gierczak et al.
project, the inﬂuence of diverse facets of perceived risk on the funding behaviour
and crowdfunding as an alternative fundraising method for small and medium
enterprises. Crowdfunding research efforts cover inter alia topics on the effective
use of crowdfunding (Schwienbacher & Larralde, 2012), different types of cus-
tomers (Ordanini et al., 2011), the project-speciﬁc selection of crowdfunding
platforms (Belleﬂamme et al., 2014), determinants of project success and failure,
e.g. success factors (Mollick, 2014) or the inﬂuence of creativity and hedonic value
(Schulz, Haas, Blohm, & Leimeister, 2015), investment decisions of backers,
e.g. geographic barriers (Agrawal et al., 2010), the prevalence of herding behaviour
(Burtch, 2011) or free riding behaviour (Burtch et al., 2013).
5.1 Backers’ Motivation
In view of this, research still lacks a deeper knowledge about backers’ motivation
for participating in crowdfunding initiatives. In particular, empirically validated
knowledge on what motivates the crowd to invest in certain projects is very limited,
even though the motives to participate in other forms of crowdsourcing initiatives
have been well investigated. For example, Bretschneider, Leimeister, and
Mathiassen (2015) investigated why the crowd develops ideas for ﬁrms in
crowdsourcing for innovation communities. However, there are calls to investigate
a crowd’s motivation for crowdfunding separately (Lehner, 2012; Moritz & Block,
2014), since it is expected that backers’ crowdfunding motives differ signiﬁcantly
from motives for engaging in other forms of crowdsourcing initiatives. According
to this and as presented in Sect. 3.1, preliminary research results discusses a few
possible motives but they are still incomplete and just derived from theory and as
already mentioned not empirically validated. For example, Bretschneider
et al. (2014) discuss herding behaviour as a possible inﬂuencing motive for partic-
ipation in crowdfunding. Banerjee (1992) describes herding behaviour as “every-
one doing what everyone else is doing” (p. 798). Backers’ motives already
discussed in literature are not an exhaustive list of motives. Certainly, there are a
lot more motives to be detected and to be derived from theory. Hence,
crowdfunding researchers should focus on insights from motivation research and
carefully analyse and screen the body of knowledge in this ﬁeld. These efforts
would certainly reveal further possible motivation factors that are relevant and
applicable to the crowdfunding context. Also, there is the need for empirically
validating backers’ motivation factors in crowdfunding.
5.2 Project Initiators’ Motivation
One further possible direction is strongly related to the preceding remarks. It is still
unclear why project initiators are motivated to use crowdfunding. One might be
Crowdfunding: Outlining the New Era of Fundraising 17
tempted to assume that it is of course the need for capital, which motivates project
initiators to engage in crowdfunding. Even if this is right in many or most cases, it is
by no means the only reason. Why project initiators are actually using
crowdfunding might be the most basic question in this ﬁeld, as it refers to the
fundamental purpose of crowdfunding, which is the starting point and value
proposition for any crowdfunding business model. As shown in the discussion
about the ﬁelds of application of crowdfunding, combining the wisdom of the
crowd (Surowiecki, 2004) with an efﬁcient resource allocation mechanism
(Belleﬂamme et al., 2014; Mollick, 2014; Schwienbacher & Larralde, 2012),
which overcomes information asymmetries (Ahlers et al., 2012; Burtch et al.,
2013) and transaction costs (Agrawal et al., 2010; Bakos, 1998) on an entertaining
platform, reveals manifold opportunities, which address diverse project initiator’s
motives. A differentiated view on project initiators’ motives is necessary in order to
understand them. Therefore, project initiators’ motives should be studied with
respect to the different crowdfunding types, as they might differ a lot. Future
studies should examine project initiators’ motives to use crowdfunding instead of
other forms of funding. This will highlight new insights into crowdfunding and new
facets of this topic. Studying project initiators’ motives provides a better under-
standing of different crowdfunding types, as it focuses on the value for the users not
on how it works. Any business model should take a customer-centred perspective,
rather than a functional perspective. Therefore, functionalities should serve the
purpose of building proper crowdfunding business models, in order to get a better
understanding of the principles and their correlations. Studying project initiators’
motives will have important practical implications as well, as it provides insights in
what actual crowdfunding platforms have to offer in order to satisfy customer
needs. Knowledge about project initiators’ motives will reveal manifold niches
for new crowdfunding platforms as well as new ﬁelds of application for
crowdfunding in general.
5.3 Risk in Crowdfunding
A further research direction should focus on what inﬂuences a customer’s decision
on whether or not to support a crowdfunding initiative ﬁnancially. One possible
direction derived from e-commerce and human behaviour literature could be the
empirical investigation of perceived risk in crowdfunding (Gierczak et al., 2014).
For practitioners, risk has been widely considered to be one of the important factors
that inﬂuence customers’ buying behaviour. To adequately assess and reduce these
risks, it is crucial for project initiators and intermediaries to know which risk
dimensions are of greatest concern to consumers. Risks mainly occur due to
information asymmetries in transactions, in which the seller usually possesses
more information than the buyer (Pavlou & Gefen, 2004). In general, perceived
risks play a crucial role in all types of consumer behaviour (Mitchell, 1992). The
more risks occur, the less likely a consumer is to purchase (Forsythe & Shi, 2003).
18 M.M. Gierczak et al.
Therefore, according to Mitchell (1999), perceived risks are powerful at explaining
consumers’ behaviour because “consumers are more often motivated to avoid
mistakes than to maximise utility in purchasing” (p. 454). Knowing the risks that
arise in a crowdfunding campaign will help to systematically design and implement
potential risk-reducing elements and strategies into the crowdfunding platforms and
projects in order to attract the crowd to invest and therefore to increase their success
(Mollick, 2014). Doing so can further help to convert some visitors into backers and
thus helps to retain and expand the base of backers.
5.4 Crowdfunding for Small and Medium Enterprises
Small and medium enterprises (SME) seeking ﬁnancial support from traditional
funding opportunities bank loans and credits might now face more challenges
upon their request than several years ago. Due to the ﬁnancial market crisis and the
resulting regulations, these requests seem to be signiﬁcantly more difﬁcult. In this
regard, crowdfunding is seen as a valuable alternative to the traditional funding
opportunities in order to provide SME with the ﬁnancial resources required (Rossi,
2014). Nevertheless, crowdfunding research still lacks deeper understanding in this
ﬁeld. Answering questions on how to use crowdfunding for SME, when to use it, for
what purpose as well as specifying general conditions on how platforms should be
designed to ensure success of a crowdfunding campaign will help to strengthen this
funding method for SME, irrespective of the crowdfunding type applied. In the case
of researching on the applicability of crowdfunding for SME, it is important to note
that SME differ a lot, particularly due to their size.
Beside these open research questions, there are further questions that need to be
answered. Among these are issues relating to the following questions: How could
SME and other crowdfunding stakeholders systematically use all potentials of
crowdfunding, not only in terms of fundraising? Which business models are neces-
sary to enable all these potentials? How should marketing, sales or product develop-
ment processes as well as IT-systems be adjusted to ensure the use of crowdfunding?
These above-mentioned potential future directions for research represent only a
minute proportion of potential research directions. Crowdfunding in general still
lacks deeper understanding. Answering these and further questions on
crowdfunding will help to increase its success for all involved parties (Mollick,
2014) and help to ensure the long-term efﬁciency and sustainability of
crowdfunding in total (Burtch et al., 2013).
The aim of this article was to create a better understanding of the continuously
changing ﬁeld of crowdfunding by discussing different fundamentals and potential
future research directions in order to make the term “crowdfunding” become more
Crowdfunding: Outlining the New Era of Fundraising 19
accessible for backers, project initiators and intermediaries as well as for other
interested parties. Crowdfunding is an umbrella term that basically describes the
funding of a project or venture by many individuals (the crowd) using the Internet.
Through crowdfunding, all kinds of projects that would otherwise eventually not
receive funding get the possibility of raising money. Therefore, crowdfunding is
currently gaining and will gain in the future a lot of attention from practice and
theory. This emerging importance is already evident from current market ﬁgures
and the predicted future development. In the near future, the funding volume will
increase signiﬁcantly, new crowdfunding platforms will be established and others
will be withdrawn from the market. In total, this fragmented crowdfunding market
will consolidate. As we have stated in this article, crowdfunding provides a lot of
potentials. Besides its actual function of fundraising, there are further ﬁelds of
interest, inter alia using crowdfunding for the purpose of (pre-)sale marketing and
market research as well as for co-creating with possible future customers. There are
still uncertainties and risks that may appear before, during and after a campaign.
However, there is precious little knowledge about these potential risks and uncer-
tainties. Thus, future research must examine, inter alia, the risks and uncertainties
carefully and research questions on what motivates backers to participate in a
crowdfunding campaign as well as what drives project imitators to call a project
into being. Doing so will help to understand and bring forward this emerging ﬁeld.
Acknowledgements Our thanks go to Oliver Englisch for his excellent support and valuable
comments. This paper was developed within the project “The Open Innovation Project (IOIT)”,
funded by the European Union INTERREG IVB NWE Programme (Funding code: 166F IOIT).
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