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Crowdfunding small businesses and startups: A systematic review, an appraisal of theoretical insights and future research directions


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Purpose: This contribution evaluates key theoretical bases that were used in previous research, to investigate the use of crowdfunding platforms by small businesses and startups. It presents the findings from a systematic review to better explain the pros and cons of utilizing these disruptive technologies for crowdsourcing or crowd-investing purposes. Method: A PRISMA’s methodical protocol was used to search, screen, extract and scrutinize seventy-two (72) articles that were indexed in both Scopus and Web of Science. The researcher examines these research questions and describes their methodologies. Afterwards, he synthesizes the findings from previous literature, outlines the implications of this contribution and discusses about future research avenues. Findings: A thorough review of the relevant literature suggests that there are opportunities as well as challenges for project initiators as well as for crowd-investors, if they are considering equity crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and rewards-based crowdfunding platforms, among others, to raise awareness about their projects, and to access finance from crowd-investors. Research limitations/implications: Further research is required on this timely topic. There are a number of theories relating to technology adoption and/or innovation management, strategic management, accounting and financial reporting, and normative/business ethics, among other research areas, that can be utilized as theoretical bases, to explore this topic. Practical implications: Crowd-investors are striving in their endeavors to find a trade-off between potential rewards and a number of risks that are associated with crowd-financing. Originality: Currently, there are few systematic reviews and conceptual articles focused on the crowdfunding of small businesses and startups. Hence this contribution closes this gap in the academic literature. Moreover, it links the extant theory to practice. It clarifies that the resource-based view theory of the firm, the theory of planned behavior, the diffusion of innovations theory, as well as the signaling theory, among other conceptual frameworks, can be used to investigate different facets of crowdfunding/crowdsourcing and crowd-investing.
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Crowdfunding small businesses and startups: A systematic review, an appraisal
of theoretical insights and future research directions
By Mark Anthony Camilleri1 2 and Stefano Bresciani3
This is a prepublication version.
Suggested citation: Camilleri, M.A. & Bresciani, S. (2022). Crowdfunding small businesses and startups: A systematic
review, an appraisal of theoretical insights and future research directions, European Journal of Innovation Management,
This contribution aims to evaluate key theoretical bases that were used in previous research, to investigate the
use of crowdfunding platforms by small businesses and startups. It presents the findings from a systematic
review to better explain the pros and cons of utilizing these disruptive technologies for crowdsourcing and/or
crowd-investing purposes.
The researchers adopt the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
methodical protocol to search, screen, extract and scrutinize seventy-two (72) articles that were indexed in
both Scopus and Web of Science. They examine their research questions, describe their methodologies.
Afterwards, they synthesize the findings from previous literature, outline implications and discuss about
future research avenues.
A thorough review of the relevant literature suggests that there are opportunities as well as challenges for
project initiators as well as for crowd-investors, if they are considering equity crowdfunding, peer-to-peer
(P2P) lending and rewards-based crowdfunding platforms, among others, to raise awareness about their
projects and to access finance from crowd-investors.
Research limitations/implications
Further research is required on this timely topic. There are a number of theories relating to technology
adoption and/or innovation management, strategic management, accounting and financial reporting, and
normative/business ethics, among other research areas, that can be utilized as theoretical bases, to explore this
Practical implications
Crowd-investors are striving in their endeavors to find a trade-off between risks and rewards associated with
Currently, there are few systematic reviews and conceptual articles focused on the crowdfunding of small
businesses and startups. Hence this contribution closes this gap in the academic literature. Moreover, it links
the extant theory to practice. It clarifies that the resource-based view theory of the firm, the theory of planned
behavior, the diffusion of innovations theory as well as the signaling theory, among other conceptual
frameworks, can be used to investigate different facets of crowdsourcing and crowd-investing.
Keywords: crowdfunding; crowd sourcing; crowd-investing; resource-based view, diffusion of innovations, signaling
1 Department of Corporate Communication, Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta, Malta. Email:
2 The Business School, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
3 Department of Management, University of Turin, Italy.
1. Introduction
Crowdfunding is an alternative method of raising funds that is independent from financial
institutions. Individual entrepreneurs, startups and established businesses can utilize online
crowdfunding platforms to access finance for new ventures or existing projects, from a large number
of investors, in return for products or equity stakes (Belleflamme et al., 2015; Camilleri, 2021a;
Mollick, 2014; Troise and Tani, 2020). Project initiators would usually specify their financing goals
and set time frames with deadlines, for their crowdfunding campaigns. If the pre-set funding goal is
not met, they will not garner any funds for their project.
The fund-raising campaigns have to appeal to as many investors as possible. Hence, initiators
ought to feature engaging content, including texts, images, photos, videos, and the like, to lure
investors to support their innovative ideas, startups or business ventures. They can launch fundraising
campaigns through various crowdfunding platforms, in different markets, to connect with online users,
thereby circumventing traditional financial institutions like banks, venture capitalists and business
angels. The crowdfunding websites are “disintermediating" traditional distribution channels by
connecting online users directly with project initiators (Vismara, 2016). They serve as "network
orchestrators" as they curate the offerings they receive (Bruton, Khavul, Siegel and Wright, 2015;
Vrontis, Christofi, Battisti and Graziano, 2020). More individuals and organizations are turning to
crowdfunding sources to raise funds for business ventures, artistic or creative projects and for medical
expenses, among other purposes. Alternatively, they use them to donate financial resources to cause-
related, socially and environmentally responsible projects.
The crowd-investors would usually put their money in those projects in which they believe or
hold lucrative potential. They may be considered as shareholders if they provide capital finance,
thereby contributing to the development and growth of crowdfunded projects. There are various
motivations that could attract individuals or groups to pledge their support to equity crowdfunding
campaigns (Belleflamme et al., 2014; Bonini, and Capizzi, 2019; Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2018),
peer-to-peer (P2P) lending/lending crowdfunding (Boylan et al., 2018; Polena and Regner, 2018), and
to debt-securities crowdfunding (Boylan et al., 2018; Cox and Nguyen, 2018; Gan et al., 2021;
Subramanian, 2020), among other crowdfunding products.
Prospective investors might be willing to be involved in the development and success of
entrepreneurial projects including startups (Di Pietro et al., 2018; Eiteneyer et al., 2019; Oliva et al.,
2019; Paschen, 2017). They may be seeking a return on investment for their monetary contributions,
particularly if they believe that project initiators could deliver exceptional service quality and/or are
in a position to develop new technological innovations and cutting-edge products (Del Giudice et al.,
2021; Troise et al., 2021). Hence, they will usually trust and have faith in the investees’ knowledge
and capabilities, to foster positive change in business and society.
In this light, the researchers link key theoretical underpinnings relating to social capital (Groza
et al., 2020; Lin and Wang, 2021; Rezaei et al., 2020; Troise et al., 2020); Yang and Koh, 2022; Zheng
et al., 2014), stakeholder engagement (Camilleri, 2022; Freeman, 1984; Valančienė and Jegelevičiūtė
2014), resource based view (RBV) (Barney, 1986; Lagazio and Querci, 2018; Wernerfelt, 1984;
Mitrega et al., 2021), technology adoption (Ajzen, 1991; Davis, 1989; Rahman et al., 2020; Shneor
and Munim, 2019) and to the diffusion of innovations (Bento et al., 2019; Presenza et al., 2019;
Rogers, 2003; Yang and Lee, 2019; Yang et al., 2016), among others, to better explain the acceptance
and use of disruptive crowdfunding platforms among different stakeholders, including project
initiators as well as crowd-investors.
A systematic research methodology was used to capture, analyze and synthesize previous
research on crowdfunding of small businesses and startups. The authors discuss about the pros / cons
of crowdfunding products and elaborate on the demand for / supply of crowdfunding investments.
Their argumentation is based on key theoretical insights including those related to the resource-based
view, the theory of planned behavior as well as on the diffusion of innovation, among other models.
Afterwards, they clarify the implications of their contribution, and put forward future research avenues
to academia.
2. Theoretical insights
Previous research confirmed that crowdfunding has become a very popular field of study
across different disciplines including finance, innovation management, information technology, and
marketing, among other social sciences, in the past decade. Many researchers relied on different
paradigms to explore this topic in depth and breadth. Table 1 features some of the most popular
theories that were used to shed light on the use of crowdfunding as an alternative strategy to raise
finance (from online sources).
Table 1. Key concepts and theoretical underpinnings that guided researchers of crowdfunding
Credit rationing
The credit rationing theory suggests that the
providers of finance may limit credit to
borrowers if they perceive that their projects
are uncertain.
(Miglo 2020).
The decision-making theory maintains that
individuals ought to behave in a rational
manner in risky and uncertain conditions. It
posits that the decision-making processes
should be based on the adoption and
application of logical choices.
(Hoegen et al., 2018).
The diffusion of innovations theory seeks to
explain how, why, and at what rate
(Bento et al., 2019; Presenza
et al.
, 2019; Rogers, 2003;
Diffusion of
new ideas and technology spread. Diffusion is
the process by which an innovation is
communicated over time, among the
Yang and Lee, 2019; Yang
et al., 2016).
Flexibility theory
The flexibility theory suggests that firms
preserve debt capacity or hold back on issuing
debt because they want to maintain flexibility.
This theory maintains that firms with a lot of
potential investment and growth opportunities
have a lower debt/equity ratio.
(Miglo, 2020).
Game theory
The game theory is intended to conceive
optimal decisions in a competitive
environment. It provides tools that are used to
analyze situations in which parties, called
players, make decisions that are
(Jiménez-Jiménez et al.,
attainment theory
The goal attainment theory includes a human
process of interactions that can lead to
transactions and to the attainment of goals (and
positive outcomes).
(Li et al., 2019).
capital theory
The human capital theory suggests that
organizations should invest in their employees'
attributes, knowledge, skills and competences
that are considered useful to improve the
quality of their production processes.
(Hornuf et al., 2018).
Pecking order
The pecking order theory (also known as the
dominance hierarchy theory) suggests that
there is a hierarchy or relative rankings, among
social groups.
(Lin and Wang, 2021).
focus theory
The regulatory focus theory describes how
people engage in self-regulation to achieve
their goals. This theory implies that individuals
adopt a promotion focus (to attain desired
outcomes), or a prevention focus (to avoid
undesirable outcomes).
(Higgins, 1998; Shahab et
al., 2021).
Resource based
view theory
The resource-based view theory (RBV)
suggests that the firms' performance is
determined by the resources at their disposal.
The way they use their resources could enable
them to outperform their rivals, and to achieve
a competitive advantage.
(Barney, 1986; Lagazio and
Querci, 2018; Wernerfelt,
Signaling theory
The signaling theory is focused on the
communications among two or more parties
(individuals or groups). It posits that one of the
parties, conveys information (i.e. a signal) to
the other parties (i.e. the receivers of the
message), who must choose how to interpret
the signal
that are conveyed to them
(Connelly et al., 2011;
Kleinert et al., 2020; Lim
and Busenitz, 2020;
Reichenbach and Walther,
capital theory
The social capital theory suggests that social
networks lead to significant benefits to a
society. This theory clarifies that businesses
can improve their performance by building
strategic alliances and by improving
relationships with stakeholders.
(Coleman, 1988; Groza et
al., 2020; Zheng et al.,
Social exchange
The social exchange theory presumes that two
individuals or organizations would be willing
to engage in mutually beneficial relationships.
This theory suggests that these relationships
would usually be based on frequent exchanges
of resources or goods, that are supposed to add
value to each party.
(Yang and Koh, 2022).
The social responsibility theory suggests that
everyone have a responsibility to bear in
society. This normative theory posits that
individuals and/or organizations are
accountable to fulfill their duties and
responsibilities. It clarifies that their actions
ought to benefit the welfare of society and the
(Berns et al., 2020;
Camilleri, 2019a).
The stakeholder theory seeks to define the
organizations' relationships with different
stakeholders including employees, suppliers,
local communities, creditors, and regulatory
authorities, among others. This social theory
builds on the resource-based view of the firm,
market-based view as well as on relevant
normative theories relating to ethical
(Camilleri, 2019b; Freeman,
1984; Troise and Camilleri,
2021; Valančienė and
Jegelevičiūtė 2014).
responsibility, that address social issues in
Status quo bias
The status quo bias theory suggests that
individuals, groups and organizations tend to
prefer the current state of affairs, as they are
averse to change. The status quo cognitive bias
their behaviors.
(Yang and Lee, 2019).
content theory
The stereotype content theory postulates that
individuals are predisposed to assess other
persons and groups based on their feelings of
trust, connection and warmth. Alternatively,
their opinions about others can be based on
their impressions of skills, intelligence or
(Johnson et al., 2018).
acceptance model
The technology acceptance model (TAM)
presumes that the individuals' perceived ease
of use and their perceived usefulness of
technologies are two factors that can determine
their intentions to use them.
(Davis, 1989; Rahman et al.,
Theory of
planned behavior
The theory of planned behavior (TPB) builds
on the theory of reasoned action. It posits that
three factors, namely, attitudes toward
behaviors, subjective norms (social
influences), and perceived behavioral control
influence the individuals' intentions to perform
(including using technologies)
(Ajzen, 1991; Rahman et al.,
2020; Shneor and Munim,
Theory of
reasoned action
The theory of reasoned action (TRA) suggests
that the individuals' behaviors are determined
by their intentions to perform behaviors and
that these intentions are, in turn, affected by
their attitudes toward the behaviors as well as
by the subjective norms (social influences) that
are imposed by
(Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975;
Rahman et al., 2020)
Unified theory of
acceptance and
use of technology
The unified theory of acceptance and use of
technology (UTAUT) is a technology
acceptance model presumes that the
individuals’ performance expectancy, effort
expectancy, social influences, and facilitating
conditions, would have an effect on their
intentions to use technology.
(Bakri et al., 2021;
Venkatesh et al., 2003).
Venture quality
The venture quality theory posits that ventures
(and investment opportunities) can be
evaluated according to specific signals or
attributes (like financial potential, intellectual
property, partnerships, associated individuals,
and the management team). These factors are
some of the elements that could induce
investors to commit financial resources in an
equity crowdfunding context.
(Kim and Hall, 2020).
The word-of-mouth theory refers to oral
communications (about their experiences with
products and/or services), between two or
more individuals.
(Kim and Hall, 2020).
3. Methodology
The researchers relied on a grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2014), to capture and analyze
data, that was retrieved through a systematic review from reliable sources. They followed PRISMA’s
robust, 4-stage protocol to search, screen, extract and synthesize the findings from previous
contributions that were indexed in Scopus’ and in Web of Sciences’ SSCI and SCI-EXPANDED, as
shown in Figure 1. The bibliographic analysis was carefully planned and documented in all stages, to
ensure accountability, integrity, and transparency. PRISMA ensured that the data collection and the
analyses were rigorous and trustworthy (Paschou et al., 2020).
Figure 1. A PRISMA protocol for systematic analysis
3.1 Searching
The systematic review considered publications that featured "crowdfunding" AND "small
business(es)" OR “startup(s)" in their title, abstract and keywords. The search query was carried out
through Scopus’ and Web of Science’s repositories. It considered the total number of publications that
were written in English, from January 2017 up to December 2021. Scopus as well as Web of Science
featured a list of contributing authors, identified their articles’ subject areas and keywords. Moreover,
Records identified through
Removal of duplicated records
Screening of records Exclusion of records
Evaluation of full-text articles
Exclusion of full-text articles Extraction of full-text articles
Identification and categorization of the themes of research
Integration and synthesis of the articles’ content
Records identified through
Web of Science’s (SSCI and
they sorted them from highest to lowest number of citations. These two repositories distinguished
between different publication stages, document types and source titles.
Empirical and theoretical/conceptual articles that were published in peer-reviewed journals were
considered as eligible publications for this systematic review. The chosen list included only
contributions that were indexed in Scopus and Web of Science’s core collections in Emerging Sources
Citations Index (ESCI), Science Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) and Social Sciences Citations Index
(SSCI). The researchers avoided the duplication of results from Scopus and Web of Sciences. Their
search query excluded publications that were featured in books, book series, conference proceedings
and trade publications from this review exercise. Table 2 summarizes the search criteria:
Table 2. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for the systematic review
Search Criterion Inclusion Exclusion
Repository SCOPUS and Web of
Other sources.
Publication type Articles, including
experimental, quantitative
(survey), qualitative
(interviews), reviews
(conceptual, content analyses,
discursive, meta-analyses).
Books, Book series, Chapters,
Conference proceedings,
Trade publications.
Date 2017-2021 (5 years).
Language English. Other languages.
3.2 Screening
The query yielded 213 document results in Scopus and 252 publications in Web of Science’s
repositories. These results were narrowed down to 107 documents in Scopus and to 140 documents in
Web of Science, when the search was limited to journal articles and reviews, that were published in
English, during the past five years (i.e., from January 2017 to December 2021).
According to Scopus, the top 10 subject areas of these articles were related to: Business,
Management and Accounting (64); Economics, Econometrics and Finance (43); Social Sciences (27);
Decision Sciences (10); Computer Science (9); Engineering (8); Environmental Science (5);
Mathematics (4); Energy (3); and Psychology (2).
Web of Science indicated that the most researched areas were associated with Business
Economics (89); Science Technology and Other Topics (18); Engineering (10); Environmental
Sciences and Ecology (10); Computer Science (9); Information Science and Library Science (6);
Communication (5); Government Law (4); Operations Research and Management Science (4); and
Psychology (3).
There were 72 (out of 107 publications in Scopus) that were also included in Web of Sciences’
repositories. 44 were featured within the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), 21 were in Emerging
Sources Citation Index, 4 in SCI-EXPANDED, and 3 were in both SSCI as well as in SCI-
3.3 Extraction
This systematic review revealed that 45 of these contributions were empirical studies (38 of
them were quantitative studies, 6 involved interviews or focus groups, and 1 of them relied on
sentiment/content analysis, to explore primary data). Moreover, there were 16 reviews/discursive
papers, 9 exploratory analyses / descriptive research and 2 case studies.
Table 3 provides a list of contributions on crowdfunding of small businesses and/or startups.
It endorses the contributing authors, features the keywords of their manuscripts, clarifies their research
questions and describes their methodological approaches.
Table 3. A non-exhaustive list of articles on crowdfunding of small businesses and startups (sorted from highest to lowest citations)
WOS Scopus Authors Year Source
Research question
SSCI Hornuf and
Schwienbacher 2018
Journal of
Entrepreneurial finance;
Equity crowdfunding;
Investment dynamics;
Securities issuance;
This research describes the German
equity crowdfunding market and the
business model of different portals.
The authors formulate hypotheses on
various allocation mechanisms, the
influence of information, and
behavioral aspects of crowd-
SSCI Hornuf and
Schwienbacher 2017 Small Business
Crowd-investing; Equity
crowdfunding; Investor
protection; Securities
regulation; Small
business finance.
This research aims to understand
how securities’ regulations can affect
equity crowdfunding in different
countries. The authors discuss about
exemptions to prospectuses and on
registration requirements (for project
SSCI Johnson et al. 2018
Journal of
Female entrepreneurs;
Gender Bias;
Cognitive stereotypes;
This research relies on social-
psychology theorizing - specifically
on the stereotype content model
(SCM) - to explore an unanticipated
female advantage in informal
funding markets.
SSCI Paschen 2017 Business
Crowdfunding; Startup
Crowdsourcing; Crowd
capital; Information
asymmetry; Crowd
communication; Startup
This research presents a framework
that describes the startup’s
crowdfunding life cycle. It also
provides practical advice on
crowdfunding best practices.
SSCI Brown et al. 2017 Business
Branding strategy;
Relationship marketing;
This research examines the extent to
which crowdfunding websites are
accessible to organizations. The
authors discuss on these marketing
SSCI Hornuf et al. 2018
Governance: An
Corporate governance,
Equity crowdfunding,
Followup funding, Firm
This study investigates the
determinants of follow
up fundings,
and elaborate on firm failures - after
an equity crowdfunding campaign
has taken place.
SSCI Di Pietro et al. 2018
Open innovation;
Startups; Crowdfunding;
Professional investors;
Knowledge; Networks.
This article identifies the type of
inputs provided by equity investors.
It clarifies how these inputs are
related to startups’ and founders’
characteristics (and on the startups’
later performance
SSCI Kgoroeadira, et al. 2019 Small Business
Loan crowdfunding;
Small business;
Creditworthiness; Credit
risk; Information
asymmetries; P2P
lending websites.
This research examines an American
online, peer-to-peer (P2P) loan
crowdfunding website. It explores
whether this innovation makes any
difference to the recipients of
SSCI Hoegen et al. 2018 Electronic
Decision-making in
crowdfunding; types of
This research examines 68 articles to
better understand relevant influence
factors relating to crowdfunding
investment decisions.
SSCI Eiteneyer et al. 2019 Research Policy
Crowdfunding; Co-
creation; Digitization;
Open innovation; Social
capital; Startups.
This research explores how
community-derived social capital
influences the ventures’ approach to
engaging backers in new product
development. The researchers clarify
how this, in turn, advances product
SSCI Block et al. 2021 Small Business
Finance markets;
crowdfunding; initial
coin offerings.
This editorial article is focused on
crowdfunding and on initial coin
offerings (relating to the
entrepreneurial finance market).
SSCI Hervé and
Schwienbacher 2018
Journal of
Entrepreneurial finance;
This research explores the literature
that links crowdfunding with
SSCI Berns et al 2020 Journal of
Business Ethics
Prosocial crowdfunding;
Social responsibility;
Ethical lending.
This research uses a social
responsibility lens to examine
whether crowd-funders on a lending-
based prosocial platform (Kiva) lend
their money based on altruistic or
strategic motives.
SSCI Mamonov et al. 2017 Venture Capital
Equity crowdfunding;
JOBS act; Title II; Real
This research explores how Title II
crowdfunding fits into the larger
crowdfunding landscape. The authors
seek to understand the types of
business ventures that have been
successful in raising capital under
tle II
SSCI Bonini and Capizzi 2019 Venture Capital
Venture capital;
Business angels; Equity
crowdfunding; Startup
This paper reviews the main features,
investment policies and risk-return
profiles of institutional and informal
investors (those operating in the very
early stage of the life cycle of
entrepreneurial firms
SSCI Kaminski and Hopp 2020 Small Business
Startups, Crowdfunding,
Pitch, Machine learning,
Neural network, Natural
language processing.
This paper introduces a neural
network and natural language
processing approach to predict the
outcome of crowdfunding startup
pitches by using text, speech, and
video metadata in 20,188
crowdfunding campaigns.
SSCI Gupta and Bose 2019
Forecasting and
Social Change
Business model
Crowdfunding; Digital
business model; Market
pioneering; Strategic
learning; Wishberry.
This research investigates how
digital ventures gain strategic
knowledge for the successful
transformation of business models.
The researchers investigate
Wishberry, an online crowdfunding
startup in India.
Case study
ESCI Polena and Regner 2018 Games
Crowdfunding; Peer-to-
peer lending; P2P;
Credit grade; FICO
score; Default risk.
This research explores the factors
that can affect the borrowers’ default
in P2P lending. The researchers rely
on a new data set consisting of
70,673 loan observations from the
Lending Club.
ESCI Cox and Nguyen 2018
Journal of Small
Business and
Entrepreneurial finance,
Small business,
Financial sources,
This research investigates the extent
to which rewards-based
crowdfunding could provide
financial support for start-ups and
small businesses.
SSCI Li and Wang 2019
Journal of
crowdfunding; Prosocial
motivation; Economic
motivation; Goal
proximity; Uncertainty;
Public goods; Private
goods; Fundraising.
This study provides a better
understanding of backer motivations
by empirically investigating their
attitudes during different stages of
the funded projects.
SSCI Groza et al. 2020
Journal of
Innovation; Startups;
Social capital; Female
This study integrates social capital
theory along with the theory of
choice homophily to better
understand the motivating factors of
male and female investors.
SSCI Schwienbacher 2019 Venture Capital
Entrepreneurial finance;
Fintech; Equity finance.
This article reviews achievements
that were made in the last 10 years
since the emergence of
crowdfunding. The author identifies
important challenges.
ESCI Malaga et al. 2018
Journal of
Gender and
entrepreneurship, Equity
This research explores whether Title
II equity crowdfunding represents an
opportunity for women-owned
companies to raise their capital
requirements (at rates similar to
companies owned by men
SSCI Kgoroeadira et al. 2018 Finance a Uver -
Czech Journal of
This research focuses on reward-
based crowdfunding and identifies
Economics and
Startups, Information,
the basic determinants of successful
crowdfunding campaigns.
SSCI Kim and Hall 2020 Current Issues in
Tourism investment;
Venture quality theory;
Uncertainty theory;
Word-of-mouth theory;
Re-participation; Visitor
This study develops and tests an
inclusive and integrated theoretical
framework on the concepts of
venture quality, uncertainty level,
participation, word-of-mouth, and re-
participation in tourism investment
SSCI Lim and Busenitz 2020
Journal of Small
Equity crowdfunding;
Entrepreneurial teams;
Signaling; Human
capital characteristics.
This research explores the
importance and detrimental impact of
specific human capital characteristics
on funding.
SSCI Li et al. 2019 Sustainability
Crowdfunding; Cost–
benefit framework;
Purchase intention;
Perceived net goal
attainment; Innovation.
The research relied on the goal
attainment theory (GAT) to explore
the consumers’ intentions to use
SSCI Johan and Zhang 2021
Journal of
Equity crowdfunding;
Industry effect; Business
This research investigates startup
characteristics and clarifies how they
influence business valuations of
representative industries in equity
SSCI Cumming et al. 2020
Theory and
Hypothetical bias,
Voting, Trust, Equity
This research explores what
motivates individuals to withdraw
from their initial commitment to
through crowdfunding
SSCI Yang and Lee 2019
Human Factors
and Ergonomics
in Manufacturing
Innovation adoption,
Status quo bias theory,
Twofactor theory.
This study investigates the enablers
and inhibitors of crowdfunding from
the perspective of startups by
employing the twofactor theory,
status quo bias theory (SQBT), and
innovation diffusion theory (IDT).
SSCI Tiberius and
Hauptmeijer 2021
Journal of Small
Equity crowdfunding;
Entrepreneurial finance;
Regulation; Small
business; Startup
This research explores the
development of equity crowdfunding
(ECF) through an international
Delphi study.
SSCI Moro-Visconti et al. 2020 Sustainability
Financial innovation;
Value chains;
Scalability; Digital
platforms; Financial
ecosystem; Discounted
cash flows; Market
value; Sustainable
Development Goals.
This research analyzes the
differences between Fin Techs and
traditional banks in market valuation.
It explores the potential of digital
interaction and cross-pollination of
complementary business models.
ESCI Subramanian 2020 Managerial
Financial instruments,
Blockchain, Smart
contracts, SAFE
instrument, Security
tokens, Utility
This research describes the security
token architecture as an application
of smart contracts. The author
illustrates the implementation and
design of a commonly used financial
instrument that is known as Simple
Agreement for Future Equity
ESCI Cheong et al. 2020
Journal of
Small business, Credit
access, Tax structure,
Firm performance,
This study investigates the effects of
credit access and tax structures on
the performance of manufacturing
small and medium sized enterprises
in Malaysia.
SSCI Foster 2019
Economics and
Crowdfunding; New
Entrepreneurial finance;
This research uses daily panel data to
study the effects that entrepreneurs’
social networks have on the success
of their crowdfunding projects.
ESCI Paoloni et al. 2019
VINE Journal of
Information and
SME, Crowdfunding,
This research analyzes the effects of
crowdfunding on small- and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
and on startups firms.
SSCI and
Gan et al. 2021 Management
Asset tokenization;
Cryptocurrency; Initial
coin offerings; ICOs;
Moral hazard; Security
token offerings; STOs;
Speculators; Tokenized
This paper investigates whether asset
tokenization a viable means to
finance start-ups. The researchers
describe different type of tokens.
SSCI Harlow 2021 Digital
journalism; Latin
America; News
audience; Online news.
This study investigates perceptions
about crowdfunding journalism in
seven Latin American countries.
SSCI Giudici and Agstner 2019
Law Review
Company law;
Innovative startups;
Private companies;
Close corporations;
Freedom of contract;
Venture capital;
Business angels;
Financing SMEs;
Regulatory competition.
This research analyzes the Italian
company law that is intended to
promote startup creation.
SSCI Goethner et al. 2021
Forecasting and
Social Change
Equity crowdfunding;
Investor protection.
This research explores how the Small
Investor Protection Act is affecting
the investors’ behaviors at
‘Companisto’, Germany's largest
ECF portal for startup firms.
SSCI Lazzaro and Noonan 2021
Journal of
Cultural Policy
Funding for the arts and
culture; reward-based
and donation-based
comparative analysis of
regulation policy; United
States; European Union.
This research assesses the benefits
and barriers of crowdfunding. The
authors analyze regulatory markets in
the United States and within the
European Union.
ESCI Hashemi Joo et al. 2020 Managerial
Cryptocurrency, Initial
coin offering (ICO).
This research recognizes the benefits
of the initial coin offering (ICO) as a
way of raising funds. It presents a
detailed comparison between the
ICO and initial public offering to
clarify the future possibilities of this
new funding method.
ESCI Hendratmi et al. 2020
Journal of
Crowdfunding, Startup,
Startup companies,
Islamic crowdfunding,
Website platform.
This study provides an Islamic
crowdfunding model that is based on
a website platform for startup
ESCI Teberga and Oliva 2018 Benchmarking
Risk management,
Crowdfunding, Start-up,
Emerging market,
Startup, New
This research discusses about the
risks of using ‘Catarse’, the biggest
crowdfunding site in Latin America.
SSCI Saura et al. 2021
Journal of
Theoretical and
Startups’ opportunities;
User-generated content;
Sentiment analysis;
Electronic commerce.
This research identifies opportunities
for investors of Indian startups. The
authors describe key indicators that
characterize the startup ecosystem in
SSCI Feola et al. 2021 Small Business
Equity; Digital
investors; New venture.
This study segments the Italian
equity crowdfunding investors’
market by means of a cluster
analysis. It explores the differences
between segments.
ESCI Chaudhari and Sinha 2021
Journal of
Big data; Startup;
Crowdfunding; Shared
This paper investigates the trends
that are driving the growth of the
Indian startup ecosystem.
ESCI Rahman et al. 2020
Journal of
Islamic Finance
Structural equation
modeling (SEM);
This research develops a framework
for Sharīah-compliant equity-based
crowdfunding (SEC) for
entrepreneurship development in
crowdfunding (SEC);
Theory of reasoned
action (TRA).
SSCI Kleinert et al. 2020 Small Business
Startups’ opportunities;
User-generated content;
Sentiment analysis;
Electronic commerce.
This research uses the signaling
theory to explore the effects of prior
financing on firm quality.
SSCI Lee 2019
Journal of
Corporate Law
Equity crowdfunding;
crowdfunding risks;
investor protection;
FinTech; financial law
This research focuses on the current
state of equity crowdfunding in Hong
Kong. It also describes the legal
requirements for equity
crowdfunding in other m
ESCI Roedenbeck and Lieb 2018
Journal of
Research in
Marketing and
Entrepreneurship, Case
studies, Crowdfunding,
Board game, Kickstarter,
This research investigates how a
small business could use
crowdfunding within and after their
successful transformation.
Case Study
ESCI Cox and Nguyen 2018
Journal of
Accounting and
Equity; Innovation;
Crowdfunding; Debt;
This paper examines the differences
between rewards-based
crowdfunding and P2P
Zhao et al. 2018 Wireless Personal
motivation; Extrinsic
rewards motivation;
Intrinsic rewards
motivation; Motivation
of taking social
Crowdfunding success.
The research studies the relationship
between entrepreneurial motivation
and crowdfunding success.
ESCI Miglo 2020 Administrative
Entrepreneurial finance
in Canada; Small
business financing;
Capital structure;
This article analyzes the financing of
entrepreneurial firms in Canada. The
author discusses about crowdfunding
ideas/theories and presents his
empirical evidence.
ESCI Shang et al. 2020 Chinese
China; Crowdfunding;
Finance performance;
This study investigates the impact of
monitoring venture investors’
crowdfunding projects on product
Product innovation;
Venture investor.
innovation performance (in follow-
up projects).
SSCI Theokary et al. 2020
Journal of Small
Marketing; Small
business/ small and
medium enterprises;
This research examines how the
choice of a crowdfunding partner
could influence the fundraising
outcomes of a project.
SSCI Fortezza et al. 2021
Journal of
Business and
Start-ups, Business
network, Serial
crowdfunding, ARA
This research offers a thorough view
on the dynamic processes
characterizing the participation of
start-ups in more than one
SSCI Reichenbach and
Walther 2021 Financial
crowdfunding, Post-
offering success, Startup
failure, Signaling,
Startups, Updates.
This study investigates signal
validity in equity-based
crowdfunding. The authors explore
whether signals could increase crowd
participation and if they are
associated with higher post-offering
Jiménez-Jiménez et al. 2021 Mathematics
information; Game
theory; Signaling; Price
Conditional process
This research investigates rewards-
based crowdfunding as an innovative
financing opportunity for startups
and firms.
Aggarwal et al. 2021
Production and
Crowdfunding; Paired
comparisons; Startup
This research puts forward a
Bayesian model that assesses
investors’ evaluation skills. The
authors identify exemplary lead
Lin and Wang 2021 Mathematics
Network decision
support model;
Crowdfunding; POT
theory; External equity
financing; Analytic
network process; Start-
This study explores how start-ups
can make the optimal evaluations
among different external equity
crowdfunding solutions and how
they could establish a network
decision support model.
SSCI Bakri et al. 2021
Estudios de
Retailers, Technology
This research identifies the factors
that could influence the retailers'
intentions to source funds through
crowdfunding platforms. This
research relied on the UTAUT model
to determine the retailers’ intentions
to use
ESCI Moirangthem and Nag 2021
Asian Journal of
Entrepreneurial finance,
Startup, Value-added
activities, Venture
This research sheds light on venture
capital firms including Tiger Global,
Accel Partners and DST Global that
provided finance to Flipkart, an
Indian e
commerce firm.
ESCI Ko and Ko 2021
Journal of Global
Fashion crowdfunding;
Reward crowdfunding;
Fashion startups;
Success factors; South
This study explores the success
factors of fashion-related
crowdfunding projects The authors
evaluate their performance (through
funding ratio
ESCI Zabolotnikova et al. 2020
and Sustainability
Investments; Financing;
Financial resources;
Credit, Financial
services market; Small
This research explores alternative
sources for the financing of small
and medium-sized business projects
in Kazakhstan.
SSCI and
Garaus et al. 2020
Transactions on
innovation, Venture
This study sheds light on the crowd
equity investors’ post-investment
ESCI Smirnova et al. 2020
Review of
Securities design;
Financial markets.
This study investigates key success
factors of crowdfunding investments.
The authors explore the designs of
their securities, crowdfunding
settings, their campaigns, etc.
ESCI Mourao et al. 2018
Journal of
Financial Studies
This paper describes the success
factors of crowdfunding projects.
The authors discuss about
‘Kickante’, an important
crowdfunding Brazilian platform.
SSCI and
Yan et al. 2018 Sustainability
Venture capital; Cultural
distance; Uncertainty;
Crowdfunding; Online
finance; Green finance.
This study explores the project
initiators’ backgrounds and
experiences with crowdfunding
financing effects.
SSCI Carvajal et al. 2018 Journal of
Economic Theory
Information disclosure;
Information design;
Value of information;
Financial regulation;
Crowdfunding; Initial
public offerings.
This research sheds light on a firm
that uses crowdfunding to raise
finance for its research and
development phase of a project.
ESCI Shengfen 2018 China Nonprofit
enterprise; Venture
philanthropy; Social
investment; Social
This study focuses on four funding
strategies including venture
philanthropy, social impact
investment, social impact bonds and
SSCI Cohen 2017 Administrative
Law Review
Securitizations of
subprime mortgages; US
securities and exchange
commission; Jumpstart
our businesses startups
act; JOBS Act.
This research critically evaluates the
strengths and weaknesses of the
United States’ Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC)
"Jumpstart Our Business Startups"
(JOBS) Act.
Note: These articles were published during a 5-year period between 2017-2021. They were sorted from highest to lowest number of citations.
3.4 Synthesis
An inductive approach was used to integrate the findings from the systematic review (on
crowdfunding of small businesses and startups). The researchers organized the relevant content
from the extracted articles, scrutinized it, and identified the themes on this topic. Their
bibliographic analysis revealed that crowdfunding (Eiteneyer et al., 2019; Kaminski et al., 2020;
Kgoroeadira et al., 2019; Paschen, 2017; Di Pietro et al., 2018) crowd sourcing (Chaudhari and
Sinha, 2021; Eiteneyer et al., 2019; Foster, 2019; Paoloni et al., 2019; Paschen, 2017), equity
crowdfunding (Bonini and Capizzi, 2019; Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2017; Hornuf and
Schwienbacher, 2018; Tiberius and Hauptmeijer, 2021), as well as crowd investing /crowd-
investing (Ezangina and Evstratov, 2019; Goethner et al., 2021; Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2017;
Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2018) were the most used keywords by the authors that were featured
in this analysis.
Evidently, previous contributions examined various aspects relating to (i) the demand for
crowdfunding products and/or, to (ii) the supply of crowdfunding finance. The following sections
critically appraise two sides of the same coin. The researchers elaborate on the extant literature
that is focused on crowdsourcing as well as on crowd-investing.
3.4.1 The use of crowdfunding platforms to raise capital requirements
Previous research confirmed that small businesses and startups experience difficulties in
raising modest amounts of capital (Lazzaro and Noonan, 2021; Schwienbacher, 2019). External
threats from the marketing environment including the state of the economy, government
regulations, tax laws, labor legislation and fluctuations in interest rates, among other issues, could
have devastating effects on such entities (Bonini and Capizzi, 2019). As a result, they may find
themselves in an equity gap, if they cannot raise finance to foster innovation for their business
(Hoegen et al., 2018). Their access to equity or debt financing through traditional institutions like
banks and/or other financial service providers is usually very limited (Camilleri, 2018; Boylan et
al., 2018). Typically, they are required to provide a collateral to obtain finance, even though, young
enterprises and startups with promising opportunities for potential investment may usually prefer
having a lower debt/equity ratio (Camilleri and Valeri, 2021; Miglo, 2020).
In the past decade, a number of individuals, groups, organizations as well as entrepreneurs
and startups resorted to crowdfunding, to finance their ideas, ventures or projects (Mollick, 2014;
Troise, Tani and Jones, 2020). Various researchers focused on specific crowdfunding products like
donation-based crowdfunding (Lazzaro and Noonan, 2021), rewards-based crowdfunding (Boylan
et al., 2018; Cox and Nguyen, 2018; Jiménez-Jiménez et al., 2021; Zhao et al., 2018), equity
crowdfunding (Bonini and Capizzi, 2019; Feola et al., 2021; Goethner et al., 2021; Hornuf and
Schwienbacher, 2017; Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2018; Hornuf et al., 2018; Lee, 2019; Lin and
Wang, 2021; Mamonov et al., 2017), peer-to-peer (P2P) lending/lending crowdfunding (Boylan
et al., 2018; Kgoroeadira et al., 2019; Polena and Regner, 2018), and debt-securities crowdfunding
(Boylan et al., 2018; Cox and Nguyen, 2018; Gan et al., 2021; Subramanian, 2020), among other
investment opportunities.
In many cases, these authors described the differences between these sources of capital.
For instance, Kgoroeadira et al. (2019) explained that peer-to-peer lending is very similar to
traditional borrowing from a bank as crowd investors lend money to a company with the
understanding that they will be repaid with interest. Hornuf and Schwienbacher (2018) contended
that equity crowdfunding projects may usually involve the sale of a stake of a business to a number
of investors. This type of crowdfunding is very similar to venture capital finance. Conversely,
individuals may be drawn to rewards-based crowdfunding to receive non-financial rewards, such
as goods or services, in exchange of their contributions (Cox and Nguyen, 2018). Alternatively,
they may be willing to donate their funds for charitable, humanitarian or philanthropic purposes,
without expecting any financial returns (Camilleri, 2021b; Lazzaro and Noonan, 2021).
Various researchers discussed on the pros and cons of using crowdfunding platforms
(Presenza et al. 2019; Yang and Lee, 2019). Very often, they noted that the project initiators of
successful crowdfunding campaigns were capable of communicating their business propositions
and solutions, as they raised awareness on disruptive innovations among large audiences through
digital media (Eiteneyer et al., 2019; Kim and Hall, 2020; Paschen, 2017).
The diffusion of innovations theory suggests that there are five key elements that could
influence the diffusion of a new idea (through crowdfunding platforms), including the innovation
itself, adopters/users, communication/media channels, time, as well as social systems (Kleinert,
Volkmann and Grünhagen, 2020; Lim and Busenitz, 2020; Reichenbach and Walther, 2021;
Rogers, 2003). Crowdfunding platforms allow creators to promote their projects to generate
interest and to ultimately lure investors (Yang and Lee, 2019; Yang et al., 2016). Notwithstanding,
project initiators as well as the crowdfunding investors are affected by various communication
channels, including by competing organizations and regulatory institutions (Hornuf and
Schwienbacher, 2017; Tiberius and Hauptmeijer, 2021; Carvajal, Rostek and Sublet, 2018).
The subjective norms in society can influence the individuals’ intentions to use innovations
like crowdfunding platforms (Duasa, 2020; Munim, 2019; Shneor and Rahman et al., 2020). The
crowdfunding projects could attract the attention of competitors, who may be quicker to develop
technological innovations or substitute products, as they could have access to financial capital,
economies of scale and scope, to mimic small businesses and start-ups’ ideas (Giudici and Agstner,
Debatably, this argumentation is synonymous with the resource-based view theory (RBV).
New businesses like startups, as well as small businesses may usually possess fewer resources
including liquidity, than established businesses (Camilleri & Valeri, 2021; Elia et al., 2021). They
may also have access to limited competences and capabilities. Notwithstanding, they may not be
considered as legitimate as their larger counterparts by their stakeholders, including by the
government, creditors, venture capitalists and other investors (Valančienė and Jegelevičiūtė 2014).
However, in the past decade, a number of regulatory institutions have introduced
legislation in various contexts (like Jumpstart Our Business Startups - JOBS Act) (Cohen, 2017;
Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2017; Mamonov et al., 2017). These laws and the revisions that
followed, were intended to support early-stage companies and startups to raise their financial
requirements through crowdfunding avenues.
Crowdfunding allows for the democratization of funding, as it is essentially borderless and
not geographically constrained (Josefy et al., 2017; Mollick and Robb, 2016). Businesses,
enterprises and startups can use crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for on their projects. They
can appeal to larger audiences through the digital media. These project initiators are encouraged
to engage with online investors through crowdfunding platforms, to provide feedback relating to
products or services, in order to increase their chances of reaching their financial goals (Shahab et
al., 2021). Ultimately, it is in their interest to disseminate relevant content to project backers for
transparency purposes (Camilleri, 2022), and to improve their credentials with stakeholders.
3.4.2 Investments in crowd funding products
Generally, crowdfunding links the creators/proponents of projects with potential investors
(Goethner et al., 2021; Hornuf and Schwienbacher, 2017). The latter ones could avail of
crowdfunding digital platforms to reduce their search and transaction costs. These online users
hope to identify lucrative investment opportu4nities that could yield them attractive returns. Such
investors may be drawn by high-quality, market-oriented (commercial) projects and by their
rewards, as opposed to community-oriented, not-for-profit projects with social or environmental
purposes (Camilleri, 2021a), that may be promoted via low minimum prices, to appeal to sponsors
(Jiménez-Jiménez et al., 2021).
Project initiators of commercial entities may be wary of providing details of their
intellectual properties (particularly during the early stages of their crowdfunding campaigns), as
they may be concerned that someone could steal their ideas, innovations and projects (Kim and
Hall, 2020). They could (willingly or unwillingly) decide not to disclose material information like
historic defaults or hidden costs, even after the investor becomes a member of the crowdfunding
platform (Carvajal et al., 2018; Kleinert et al., 2020; Lim and Busenitz, 2020; Reichenbach and
Walther, 2021)
As a result, investors of crowdfunded projects may not always have adequate and sufficient
information on the borrowers of finance, as crowdfunding platforms may not exercise thorough
due diligence on their users (Paschen, 2017). This argument is related to the reasoning behind the
signaling theory. In fact, many researchers relied on this theory to explore the signals that are
communicated by project creators to lure investments from crowd funders (Kleinert et al., 2020;
Lim and Busenitz, 2020; Reichenbach and Walther, 2021).
Notwithstanding, the most popular digital (crowdfunding) platforms may or may not
operate from the same jurisdiction of the crowd-investors (Harlow, 2021; Hornuf and
Schwienbacher, 2017). Hence, they are not always offering complete protection according to local
legislation and regulations. Thus, they could not guarantee the same level of comprehensive
appraisals that are provided by local financial service providers. This contentious issue could lead
to problems related to information asymmetry (Kgoroeadira et al., 2019; Kleinert et al., 2020;
Paschen, 2017). In some circumstances, the failure to disclose material information to crowd-
investors may result in near-fraudulent consequences (Hornuf et al., 2018).
Investors may usually try to find a tradeoff between potential rewards and risks from
crowdfunding opportunities (Hoegen et al., 2018). They could be attracted by (higher than normal)
potential returns that certain crowd-funding activities claim to offer (Reichenbach and
Walther,2021). Therefore, they ought to be cautious and vigilant on their possible risks of default
(Polena and Regner, 2018). If equity crowdfunded projects fail, investors could not be in a position
to pay back capitals and to provide any returns to their investors. Similarly, the investors of P2P
crowdfunding/lending may also risk losing their funds through unsecured loans, especially if the
borrowers did not require any collateral (Boylan et al., 2018; Kgoroeadira et al., 2019; Polena and
Regner, 2018). The investors of equity financing may encounter certain difficulties, other than
default (Hoegen et al., 2018). They can find out that there is no lucrative secondary market for
their shares (Garaus, et al., 2020). As a result, they might find themselves liquidating them at a
significant loss, or of diluting their stock value.
4. Conclusions
This contribution has presented the findings from a rigorous systematic analysis of
academic articles focused on crowdfunding of small businesses and startups, that were published
during the past 5 years, between January 2017 and December 2021.
The researchers clearly appraised them. They shed light on their underlying research
questions, described the methodology that was used to capture and analyze the data, and featured
the keywords that were associated with the articles’ content. Afterwards, they synthesized the
findings from the extracted contributions, and discussed about the benefits and costs of using
crowdfunding platforms to raise finance, or as plausible investment options. The authors
elaborated about various challenges and discussed about the opportunities for project initiators
(like small business and startups), as well as for crowd-investors.
This systematic review reported that, currently, there are just a few articles that were linking
this timely topic with key theoretical underpinnings relating to technology adoption and/or
innovation management (e.g. Diffusion of Innovations Theory, TAM, TPB, TRA or UTAUT),
strategic management (e.g. Decision-making Theory; Goal Attainment Theory or RBV),
accounting and financial reporting (E.g. Signaling Theory or Venture Quality Theory), and
normative/business ethics research (e.g. social capital theory, social responsibility theory and
stakeholder theory), among others.
The results from the bibliographic research confirmed that, for the time being, there are
limited discursive review papers on crowdfunding of small businesses and startups. This
contribution sought to address this gap in the academic literature. It identifies the facilitators and
barriers of using crowdfunding platforms for crowd sourcing and/or for crowd investing purposes,
to better understand the demand / supply of crowdfunding.
This systematic analysis was focused on “crowdfunding” and “small business(es)” or
“startup(s)”. In future, other researchers may explore the crowd sourcing possibilities of different
types of businesses including sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited
liability companies (LLCs), nonprofits, and cooperatives (co-ops), among other entities. They may
categorize enterprises, according to their staff count. Prospective authors could investigate the
financing of micro enterprises, SMEs, intermediate-sized enterprises and/or large-sized
enterprises. Moreover, they could even distinguish among various start-ups like small business
startups, scalable startups, buyable startups and/or off-shoot startups, etc.). Therefore, they may
consider using different keywords in their bibliographic studies.
The authors thank the editor, guest editors and the reviewers of this journal, for their constructive
remarks and suggestions. They were much appreciated.
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... technology infrastructure) and external (i.e. engaged consumers on social media and online brand communities) resources, a brand can create a competitive advantage (Camilleri and Bresciani, 2022). It aims to answer the following four questions: Q1. ...
... Based on resource-based theory, this study considers a brand's information system infrastructurewhich facilitates SMBE, BCF and gamificationits internal resources, and its engaged current and potential consumers (on social media and online brand community platforms) as its external resources. Brands require a unique mix of these resources to create a sustainable competitive advantage and crowdfunding success (Camilleri and Bresciani, 2022;Lagazio and Querci, 2018). Service-dominant logic explains that any exchange between actors can be seen as a service exchange with the mutual usage of competences and resources in favor of each other (Vargo and Lusch, 2004). ...
Purpose Brand crowdfunding, launched through brands’ social media platforms, can provide a myriad of crowdfunding and branding benefits, such as strengthening brands’ social networks, validating product launches, generating mass exposure and enabling cocreation. Gamification positions brand crowdfunding as an exciting and joyful activity that more deeply engages prosumers. Anchored on resource-based theory, theory of planned behavior and service-dominant logic, this paper aims to develop a brand crowdfunding framework for established brands with insights from two emerging markets: China and India. Design/methodology/approach A deductive cross-sectional design is used to gather data from an established brand’s (e.g. Xiaomi) social media followers in China ( n = 826) and India ( n = 358), which is analyzed through PLSc-SEM. Findings The results reveal that social media brand engagement is an antecedent of brand crowdfunding participation, brand crowdfunding intention is a predictor of brand loyalty and gamification is a significant moderator in technology-oriented societies. Originality/value The paper develops a brand crowdfunding framework that provides insights on how established brands can leverage crowdfunding to enhance their new product development process. The results contribute to the social media brand engagement, crowdfunding, gamification and emerging markets literature.
... Bias in Theoretical Model Development: The theoretical model developed in the study might be influenced by the authors' biases or assumptions. It is essential to be critical of any preconceived notions that may have shaped the model [67]. ...
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Digital start-ups play a crucial role in boosting the economies of many countries through technological innovations. Several studies have been conducted assessing digital start-ups or digital entrepreneurship, mainly from the perspective of the Global North. However, gaps exist in the literature regarding digital ecosystems, especially in the context of developing countries (the Global South), such as South Africa. This study fills this gap by exploring the structure as well as highlighting the hindering factors of the start-up ecosystem in South Africa. In addition, the study explores the influential factors of the digital start-up ecosystem and models that can be used to assess upscaling for the growth of new digital start-up ventures. The study conducted a systematic literature review using the PRISMA framework. The Scopus-indexed database was used to source published peer-reviewed papers on digital ecosystems between 2017 and 2023. Key findings of the study pertaining to South Africa’s start-up ecosystem revealed that the country is producing thriving digital start-ups. The current study also identified several challenges that affect the development of digital start-ups in South Africa. Some of the challenges include regulatory barriers, skills shortages, a lack of funding, and a digital infrastructure gap, among others. Furthermore, work is being conducted by ecosystem stakeholders to address these challenges, with a greater collective and cohesive effort needed to effectively address the hindering factors. The study advocates for intervention as well as policy and practitioner implications that could be utilised by ecosystem stakeholders, particularly entrepreneurs in the digital market. The research findings pertain to the South African start-up ecosystem but have greater appeal and relevancy for many developing start-up ecosystems globally, especially in the Global South.
... However, little is known about consumer behaviours in the context of crowdfunding (CF), a recent and growing form of digital infrastructure (Testa et al., 2022a;Troise et al., 2023;Nambisan, 2017). This is surprising because, in the dominant form of reward-based crowdfunding, campaign supporters, namely backers, mainly contribute to obtain future products or services, which makes them the first consumers of a specific product (Camilleri and Bresciani, 2022;Chan and Parhankangas, 2017;Cholakova and Clarysse, 2015;Roma et al., 2021;Stanko and Henard, 2017;Zhang and Chen, 2019). Campaign supporters show real interest in the product to the extent that they are willing to commit to buy early in advance even at risk of losing their investment in case of product development failure. ...
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Electronics waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing category of hazardous solid waste in the world. While the generation of e-waste has recently attracted the attention of a number of researchers, currently, there is little awareness on its management, monitoring and control among the consumers of crowdfunding platforms. This is surprising because the supporters (backers) of crowdfunding are usually considered as disruptive innovators by other stakeholders. In this light, this research explores the role of e-waste management solutions and the formulation of "message framing" in influencing consumer behaviours in crowdfunding contexts. To do this, this study involves an in-depth investigation of fund-raising campaigns focused on e-waste, that were promoted between 2009 and 2020, through Kickstarter's reward-based crowdfunding platform. The results show that environmentally sustainable projects focused on waste reduction and pollution prevention are generating increased funds and triggering the interest of a number of crowd investors who are willing to finance such laudable initiatives. At the same time, the findings suggest that the fundraisers elaborate framing messages on environmental protection and on the preservation of the natural ecosystems can increase the likelihood of the success of their crowdfunding projects. This contribution contributes to both environmental management and to the crowdfunding literature. In conclusion, it offers practical implications for sustainable entrepreneurs who may resort to crowdfunding platforms to raise finance to decrease the accumulation of e-waste from the planet, as well as for other stakeholders including governments, policymakers, and public agencies.
... Managing creativity and innovation within companies has always been a great challenge for business leaders (Andriopoulos and Dawson, 2021;Santoro et al., 2019;Scuotto et al., 2017). The fostering of innovation, by companies is now facilitated by the rise of new digital technologies such as big data (Bresciani et al., 2021), information and communication infrastructures (Camilleri and Bresciani, 2022;Santoro et al., 2018a) and new processes, such as open innovation or co-creation (Bertello et al., 2022b;Chesbrough et al., 2006;Ferraris et al., 2017Ferraris et al., , 2018Santoro et al., 2018b;. However, innovation, being a ubiquitous construct, is subject to the choice of which innovation will be developed and commercialized (Mollick and Robb, 2016). ...
... A number of colleagues elaborated on the engagement capabilities of various technologies, including of social media networks (Lin and Chang, 2018;Vrontis et al., 2021), review websites (Liu et al., 2022), crowdfunding platforms (Camilleri and Bresciani, 2022), AI chatbots (Camilleri & Triose, 2022), augmented and virtual reality devices (Park and Yoo, 2020;Serravalle et al., 2019), metaverse applications (Gursoy et al., 2022), et cetera. In many cases, they clarified that these digital technologies enable two-way communications as they facilitate person-to-person and/or person-to-machine communications, as opposed to traditional, one-way broadcast channels like linear TV, radio or print media, that do not offer responsive messages to their consumers. ...
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Purpose This study aims to investigate perceptions about interactive travel websites. The researchers hypothesize that engaging content, the quality of information and source credibility have a significant effect on the consumers’ utilitarian motivations to continue using them in the future. Design/methodology/approach A structured survey questionnaire was used to gather data from 1,287 online users, who were members of two popular social media groups. The methodology relied on a partial least squares approach to analyze the causal relationships within an extended information adoption model (IAM). Findings The findings reveal that the research participants perceive the utility of interactive travel websites and are willing to continue using them, particularly the responsive ones. The research participants suggest that these sites are easy to use, capture their attention and offer them useful information on various tourism services. The results also indicate that they appreciate their source credibility (in terms of their trustworthiness and expertise of their curators) as well as their quality content. Research limitations/implications This study integrates key measures from the IAM with a perceived interactivity construct, to better understand the individuals’ acceptance and use of interactive websites. Practical implications This research implies that service businesses ought to have engaging websites that respond to consumer queries in a timely manner. Hence, they should offer a seamless experience to their visitors to encourage loyal behaviors and revisit intentions to their online domains. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there are no other studies that incorporated an interactive engagement construct with key constructs from IAM and from the technology acceptance model (TAM). This contribution underlines the importance of measuring the individuals’ perceptions about the engagement capabilities of interactive media when investigating information and/or technology adoption.
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Purpose Crowdfunding (CF) has become an increasingly popular means of financing for entrepreneurs and has attracted significant attention from both researchers and practitioners in recent years. The purpose of this study is to investigate the core content and knowledge diffusion paths in the CF field. Specifically, we aim to identify the main topics and themes that have emerged in this field and to trace the evolution of CF knowledge over time. Design/methodology/approach This study employs co-word clustering and main path analysis (MPA) to examine the historical development of CF research based on 1,528 journal articles retrieved from the Web of Science Core Collection database. Findings The results of the analysis reveal that CF research focuses on seven themes: sustainability, entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurship, fintech, social entrepreneurship, social capital, and microcredits. The analysis of the four main paths reveals that equity CF has been the dominant topic in the past years. Recently, CF research has tended to focus on topics such as fintech, the COVID-19 pandemic, competition, Brexit, and policy response. Originality/value To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first attempt to explore knowledge diffusion dynamics in the CF field. Overall, the study offers a structure for analyzing the paths through which knowledge is diffused, enabling scholars to effectively manage a large volume of research papers and gain a deeper understanding of the historical, current, and future trends in the development of CF.
Despite its ubiquity in arts and culture, crowdfunding has limitedly been instrumentalized in policy settings. Yet, with joint contributions by friends, fans, governments, and quasi-public institutions, match-funding of arts and culture through crowdfunding platforms may have benefits: increased revenues for makers and cultural fields, transparency in funding allocation, and stronger community engagement. Drawing upon interviews with regional and local match-funding entities in the Netherlands, we explain how and why they engage in match-funding and what is needed for the collaborative funding mechanism to thrive. Funders are attracted by match-funding’s potential to support relatively large numbers of hitherto underserved makers with relatively small amounts of money, complementary to other funding instruments. Aspects largely overlooked are match-funding’s capacity to leverage resources and install co-decisive processes of public funding allocation. Situated at the juncture of funding, policy, and technology, match-funding requires learning and experimentation with other than reward-based formats to unleash its democratizing potential.
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To date, few researchers have linked open innovation approaches with triple bottom line corporate sustainability objectives in terms of economic, social, and environmental performance. A systematic review suggests that the businesses' collaborative relationships with external consultants or organizations can increase their competitive advantage, as external stakeholders could assist them in the development of sustainable innovations, diversification into different markets, and in the generation of new revenue streams. At the same time, they can support them in addressing numerous deficits in society. On the other hand, this contribution implies that an organizational culture that promotes open innovation approaches could expose practitioners to risks and uncertainties, like revealing sensitive information to outsiders, among others. In reality, it may prove difficult for the businesses to trust new partners, as they are not subject to their organizations' codes of conduct, rules, and regulations. K E Y W O R D S corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability, creating shared value, open innovation, stakeholder engagement, strategic CSR
Crowdlending has emerged in recent years as an innovative way to fund financially-constrained new ventures and small companies. However, digitalized funding is a new technology itself and as such it is prone to mispricing and inefficiencies. We investigate whether peer-to-peer crowdlending to businesses provides investors with promised returns consistent with the level of risk borne. By studying over 6000 loans mediated on 73 European platforms from 2012 to 2018 we show that the ex-ante returns are inversely related to loans’ riskiness and tenure, suggesting that, on average, crowdfunded loans are mispriced. Our results have important implications for the debate about the role of regulation in FinTech and the access to debt funding for entrepreneurial ventures.
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Large organizations, including listed businesses, financial service providers as well as public services entities are increasingly disclosing information on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues through corporate websites or via social media. Therefore, this research uses valid measures from the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) to explore the individuals' attitudes toward online corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications. The data was gathered from a structured questionnaire among three hundred ninety-two respondents (n=392). A structural equations modeling partial least squares (SEM-PLS 3) approach was used to analyze the data. The findings revealed that the timeliness, relevance and accuracy of information as well as the source expertise were highly significant antecedents that were affecting the research participants' attitudes toward CSR communications. This contribution implies that there is scope for content curators to publish quality online information on their business activities to improve their trustworthiness and positive credentials among stakeholders.
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Purpose: This contribution appraises previous theoretical underpinnings that are focused on family businesses in tourism and hospitality. It discusses about the opportunities and challenges for their development. Method: A systematic literature review was carried out through peer reviewed publications that were indexed in Scopus and Web of Science. It relied on the PRISMA protocol to evaluate rigorous articles and reviews. A content analysis sheds light on high impact contributions on “family business” and “tourism” or “hospitality”, that were published since 2010. Findings: This bibliographic research captured, analyzed and synthesized the findings from previous contributions to identify the factors that are facilitating the growth prospects, long term sustainability and innovative approaches of family businesses within the tourism and hospitality industry. Originality: Currently, there are just a few contributions that advance relevant knowledge and understanding on the business development of family firms in tourism and hospitality. This research addresses this academic gap as these entities constitute the life blood of tourist destinations in various contexts.
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In this paper, we investigate rewards-based crowdfunding as an innovative financing form for startups and firms. Based on game-theory models under asymmetric information, we test research hypotheses about the positive effects of two main campaign features: funding target and number of rewards. Furthermore, we examine how and when these characteristics are effective in attracting crowdfunders, by signaling high-quality projects (target) and by pricing according to backers’ preferences (rewards). Conditional process analysis is applied to a dataset of 1613 projects launched on the Spanish platform Verkami from 2015 to 2018. As expected, our study shows that market size is positively influenced by the target and the number of rewards, separately. Further analysis gives some interesting findings. Firstly, we find significant and positive mediating roles of social networks (in the relationship between target and market size) and of backers’ preferences (between rewards and market size). Secondly, the main orientation of a campaign, commercial or social, is relevant to explain previous relationships. While high funding targets are more effective in commercial projects, a high number of rewards is more effective in the social projects. This research provides new insights into the design of optimal crowdfunding, with theoretical and empirical implications.
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Generally, businesses are capable of implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmentally sustainable behaviors as they pursue their profit-making activities. While there are a number of contributions that investigated the effect of CSR and responsible environmental practices on the companies' bottom lines, few studies were focused on the strategic attributions of responsible corporate behaviors in the tourism industry context, during an unprecedented pandemic situation. Hence this research investigates the stakeholders' perceptions on the hospitality businesses' social responsibility and environmentally friendly practices. The data were collected from a sample of 462 research participants who worked in tourism and hospitality. The findings suggest that their employers' stakeholders were triggering their businesses to engage in ethical behaviors, responsible human resources management and to invest in environmentally friendly initiatives. As a result, they were creating value to their companies, to society and to the natural environment. In sum, this contribution implies that there are strategic attributions of CSR behaviors and of environmentally sustainable practices as responsible businesses can improve their growth prospects and increase their competitiveness in the long run.
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Equity Crowdfunding Online Portals offer access to investors, resources and fundraising support to numerous equity crowdfunding projects from different industry sectors. In this context, we study investors’ preferences of equity crowdfunding projects in different industries. We present novel empirical evidence revealing differences in startup characteristics across various industry sectors and examine how certain startup characteristics influence business valuations for representative industries in equity crowdfunding. A new business valuation method in equity crowdfunding is introduced to facilitate our analyses.
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This article examines the labor involved with the upkeep of social media accounts for Oakland-based brick-and-mortar boutiques and their digital storefronts, particularly as businesses move their wares online during shelter-in-place amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Focusing on independent shops in Oakland, California, particularly those which are part of Oakland’s Indie Alliance – a coalition of independent small business owners – this article explores the role of shop workers in producing the authentic aesthetics of themselves and store accounts as a replacement for brick-and-mortar shops. How do small-scale shop owners and clerks make platforms, which were not designed with their needs in mind, work for them? How does sellers’ performance of the local interface with a global digital marketplace and platform infrastructures? In what ways do existing racial hierarchies and structural inequalities affect shop personnel’s experiences of platforms and apps meant to facilitate business transactions? I focus on the Oakland Indie Alliance’s Covid Recovery and Repair funds, which employ social media and crowdfunding platforms or payment apps to provide assistance to local businesses, particularly those which are BIPOC and/or immigrant owned, connecting commercial and social justice oriented goals.
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During enterprise foundation and development, internal finance and debt finance are of vital importance to start-up entrepreneurs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is mainly to focus on how start-ups can make the optimal evaluation among different external equity crowdfunding solutions and to establish a network decision support model that evaluates the optimal financing solution of start-ups for external equity crowdfunding based on decision science and network architecture. The Lending Company in Financial Technology Industry (LCFTI) was taken as an example. The results indicate that equity crowdfunding is the optimal financing plan in LCFTI. Academically, the results of this study not only help propose a network decision support model using decision science methods and implementing the network analysis to establish an architecture to evaluate the optimal financing plans of start-ups for external equity crowdfunding, they also makes up for the gap in the optimal financing plans of entrepreneurs or start-ups for external equity financing, which has not been specified in the POT theory in the past. Practically, this study provides a useful tool for the entrepreneur of LCFTI to understand the key factors affecting the optimal financing plans for external equity financing and enables LCFTI to measure the optimal financing plans for external equity financing to improve the success rate of finance.
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This study investigates signal validity in equity-based crowdfunding by examining whether signals that increase crowd participation are associated with higher post-offering success. Post-offering success is measured as the probability of survival. We use a hand-collected data set of 88 campaigns with over 64,000 investments and 742 updates from a well-established and leading German equity-based crowdfunding platform, Companisto. We find that indicating that the chief executive officer holds a university degree and a higher number of business-related updates are associated with a lower risk of failure, which is in line with recent research on offering success. The number of updates on external certification, promotions, and the team is associated with a higher risk of failure. In contrast to recent findings on offering success, we find that the equity share offered is positively related to post-offering success, whereas a high number of large investments or updates on campaign development are accompanied by a higher probability of failure. Our results provide guidance for entrepreneurs and investors regarding which signals are worth sending or using. Furthermore, these results suggest that investors are partly using wrong signals and challenge the rationality and wisdom of the crowd.
Purpose In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on global health care and the economy. The restaurant industry has been especially hit hard by the statewide “stay-at-home” orders. To get back on track, many of these businesses need capital. A new and effective form of fundraising for business startups is crowdfunding (CF). However, there has been little research on the pandemic impact on CF. This study aims to fill this gap by investigating the pandemic-related impact on restaurant CF. Design/methodology/approach This study extracted all 2,686 restaurant CF projects in the USA from the Kickstarter platform from April 2010 to January 2021. By conducting descriptive analyses and multiple logistic regression models, this study examined the pandemic impact on CF success. Findings This study finds that, while controlling the effects of other determinants, businesses in the midst of the pandemic are more likely to be successfully funded than businesses unaffected by the pandemic. Findings also reveal that restaurant startups lowered their funding goals and posted more updates/comments/pledge levels during the pandemic, which made projects more likely to be selected as a “Project We Love” and increased the odds of funding success. However, mentioning COVID-19-related information or locating projects in “red zones” are not found to have any significant direct or moderating impact on the funding success. Research limitations/implications This study pioneers the research topic restaurant CF and attempts to raise the research attention of small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurial financing. Using quantitative methods, it provides a new perspective on pandemic-impact research. Social exchange theory is extended to the context of reward-based CF under crisis. Finally, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first investigation of the possible moderating effect of project location on the relationship between restaurant CF characteristics and success. Practical implications The findings of this study suggest restaurateurs to be confident about the fundraising of their startup business through reward-based CF, even when located within so-called pandemic red zones, and perform appropriate communication strategies while using the reward-based CF. Originality/value This study is one of the earliest to examine the main and moderating effects of the pandemic-related factors on business CF in the hospitality realm. The findings are reference for researchers and restaurateurs on fundraising in a crisis context.
Purpose Even though the crowdfunding (CF) literature is rapidly reaching its maturity phase, the topic of serial CF (i.e. the participation in more than one CF campaign) is as much promising as still largely under explored. This study thus aims to offer a thorough view of the dynamic and complex processes characterizing the participation of the start-ups to more than one campaign adopting a business network perspective. Design/methodology/approach In line with an explorative research aim, a multiple case study analysis is performed by taking into consideration four start-ups engaged in more than one CF campaigns with different combinations of equity and non-equity CF, adopting the actor–resource–activity (ARA) model as theoretical framework. Findings Multiple CF campaigns are embedded in the overall changing startup’s network and are affected by the concurrent and overlapping startup’s development processes. From this standpoint, the adoption of the ARA model suggests to reconsider the “serial” dimension of multiple CF campaigns. These processes can be more or less “linear” as they could be affected by the combination of CF schemes and by the degree of alignment of actors, activities and resources, whose “assembly” can be facilitated by learning processes and impaired by unexpected circumstances. Originality/value This paper explores in depth the startup’s serial CF journey, building on recent studies calling for stronger analyses of the directions and outcomes of innovative funding trajectories pursued and implemented by new business ventures. From this standpoint, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to consider a complete spectrum of combinations between CF schemes within serial CF, thus allowing for a better understanding of the role of such a factor within a dynamic and contextual view, that is, that offered by the business network perspective. This paper also contributes to the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing research on start-ups.