A look at popular crowdfunding associations

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A lot has been said about the need to build communities around emerging technologies, including disruptive concepts like ‘crowdfunding’. These communities comprise of enthusiasts, including the early-adopters, who together help create traction and an aura of interest around the disruptive idea.

Another important player(s) in propagating the interests of an idea and one that generally emanates out of a community of early-adopters is an association. Professional associations are those that work towards promoting the best interests of the profession- be it spreading awareness about it to the public (through events, training and other medias for sharing learnings), influencing legislation among authorities for the better, or just contributing time, money, resources or expertise to help the concept move forward and realize some of its objectives.

For new entrants, these associations can be boon for they can be go-to-point for getting contacts and information about the technology’s forays globally and in particular regions. Here we look at some of the popular crowdfunding association and what they do:

 ACFIA (American Crowdfunding Investment Association)
Based out of New York, the association seeks to helps provide its members with information, resources and other services to promote informed investments of small businesses using crowdfunding.
Contact:  +1 (518) 234 9599, (646) 543 3701; info@acfia.org

CAPS (Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards)
This program is powered by Crowdsourcing.org and supported by an advisory board of leading crowdfunding platform operators and industry experts, CAPS is designed to protest investors and fundraisers by promoting best crowdfunding practices globally.
Contact: Dr Kevin Grell, CAPS Program Director. kevin@crowdsourcing.org

CFIRA (Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates)
Setup in the US after President Obama singed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, CFIRA also has an advisory board comprising of  leading platform operators and industry experts. It works with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other stakeholders to establish industry standards and best practices in crowdfunding.
Contact: +1 (512) 502 5833; joy@leverage-pr.com

CfPA (Crowdfunding Professional Association)
US-based, this association formed by crowdfunding experts who worked on its legalization in the US are keen to serve as a watchdog to ensure the crowdfunding industry develops in a transparent and credible manner.
Contact: +1 (207) 288 0428

ECN (European Crowdfunding Network) 
Founded in 2011 and based out of Brussels, the ECN pursues various activities like promoting European crowdfunding innovations, transparency in the ecosystem to reaching out to regulators and government authorities to further the cause of crowdfunding in the region.
Contact: info@europecrowdfunding.org

FPF (Financement Participatif France)
The association of over a 100 years has been into existence to represents finance companies to funders or projects and regulators. In 2012 the association forayed into crowdfunding and now works closely with crowdfunding platforms and other stakeholders in France.
Contact: http://twitter.com/fin_part

UKCFA (United Kingdom Crowdfunding Association)
The association promotes crowdfunding as a valuable and viable option for UK-based businesses to raise capital. Its members and supporters work closely to develop the community further and provides them with contact information of relevant authorities and information resources.
Contact: info@ukcfa.org.uk

NCFA (National Crowdfunding Association) 
There are global crowdfunding chapters which looks at promoting the interests of the crowdfunding community in their respective regions. Some active NCFA include ones in Canada and India. There is also the NLCFA whose focus is the American crowdfunding market.

There are trans-continental efforts also being developed to help the growth of crowdfunding world-over, however it needs to be noted that since each region has different laws and regulations, localized associations for crowdfunding make more sense.

These are just some of the popular crowdfunding associations, if you need more information or have something further to share, do let us know.

Emerging World Crowdfunding – India

Cited as one of top 10 emerging technologies by MIT Technology Review, crowdfunding has lived up to its expectations in 2012 – right from discovering the myriad possibilities it offers beyond just creative projects (e.g. for market research, as a precursor for VC funding, and how it can even save white Rhinos from extinction) to the actual realization of many success stories.

Infact there’s been a tremendous push across the West for its implementation – motivating its leaders to ease laws to crowdfund small businesses (equity crowdfunding) and Gold Rush‘s predicted for 2013. With crowdfunding on turbo in the West, lets look at its progress in the East and the emerging world. Crowd Navigator over the next few Months will look at the crowdfunding scenario in SE Asia, India and China. This post’s on India.

India has seen a massive crowdfunding success story many years before the actual the term was coined. Without getting into ancient India, an example from the more recent past would be the ‘rags-to-riches’ story of the Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani. His then small yet growing textile business was crowdfunded by communities across the Indian state of Gujarat. In 30 years Reliance Industries had become 60 billion dollar business and is still growing strong. Here’s a scene from Dhirubhai Ambani’s unofficial biopic ‘Guru’-

While the above idea was sold on a physical platform (see speech to investors from the same film) and not through today’s internet-based crowdfunding platform, nevertheless there have many similarities between the approach then and some of today’s relatively smaller success stories on crowdfunding – selling an dream, gaining people’s trust and building a compelling case for its funding.

Today’s India with its huge market and human capital has moved on from the license raj regimes of the past (still more’s needed), becoming a popular destination for global business and other investments that have identified opportunities. Its crowdfunding forays however has been restricted to micro-financing category projects, and the occasional donation-reward funding category.

There haven’t been success stories of Indian entrepreneurial projects through crowdfunding yet, but looking at the global trend of easing funding laws there are reasons to remain positive. Plus India has on its side the human capital, many of them capable of small investments, and several business opportunities.

A handful of crowdfunding platforms have indeed cropped up – Pik A Venture, Funduzz, YoLaunch, Pitchhike, Fundmypitch and Wishberry.in – however most of them are still under beta. Considering the volatility of the crowdfunding platform space, as well as the reach and flexibility of global platforms, there’s going to be some competition in this space. Moreover in today’s open-source world, individuals or companies can easily self-start their own platform and or seek infrastructural assistance from experts.

The bottom-line though is, crowdfunding in India is here to stay.  Get in touch if you need more information.