Crowdfunding Gains a Bigger Foothold

Crowdfunding is making some impressive strides to shed its “new kid on the block” image and position itself as a credible source for investment opportunities and an important capital source for project sponsors.

Crowdfunding, particularly as it relates to funding commercial real estate deals, is still a relatively new phenomenon. Firms from around the globe have been working diligently to prove to investors and sponsors alike that crowdfunding is more than just a flash in the pan but rather a new, more efficient method of fundraising that is here to stay. That hard work is starting to pay off in an industry that is clearly gaining traction.

Examples of new crowdfunding deals hitting the market with equity commitments filling quickly are rampant. The growing list of successfully funded projects ranges from indie films to new mobile apps for your iPhone. CrowdStreet’s own kick-off deal to raise $1.6 million in financing for Mainstreet Bloomington, a new senior housing development, was fully committed in less than 30 days.

The fact that both investors and project sponsors are embracing crowdfunding is evident in the latest industry statistics. In the second quarter alone, there were an estimated 35,712 new crowdfunding projects introduced worldwide, according to research from London-based Crowdfunding Centre. The total number of projects that were fully committed during that period reached 9,138, which equates to roughly 100 per day. Although the U.S. was home to more than two-thirds of those offerings, crowdfunding has expanded around the globe to include dozens of countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.

In the U.S., it was the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act or JOBS Act in 2012 that first opened the doors to crowdfunding for accredited investors. Individual states also are moving forward with their own legislation to open up new crowdfunding opportunities to entrepreneurs and non-accredited investors. Kentucky, for one, will reportedly review a new proposal on crowdfunding legislation this year.

As with any industry going through a period of explosive growth, investors and sponsors need to do their homework when choosing crowdfunding platforms and the the types of deals they are posting. We believe that those platforms that hold up to the scrutiny will emerge as leaders in an industry that is continuing to expand and redefine the traditional model of raising capital and sourcing new investments.

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