Equity crowdfunding and the role of investor discussion boards

Simon Kleinert*, Christine Volkmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Start-ups are increasingly using equity crowdfunding to raise necessary funding at an early stage. In this rather new form of financing, potential investors communicate with each other and the entrepreneurs typically through the discussion boards of mediating online platforms. Using a mixed-methods approach, this explorative study analyses the role of investor-initiated discussions in equity crowdfunding. First, we develop a framework and categorize 574 interactions between potential investors and entrepreneurs posted on the project-related discussion boards of the Crowdcube equity crowdfunding platform. The framework is built on deductive criteria from the context of business angels and inductive criteria that are unique to the equity crowdfunding context. Five discussion topics stand out in relevance: valuation, financial snapshot, likely returns, shareholder rights, and market risk. Exploring the qualitative data reveals that investors are concerned about high information asymmetries and agency risks. Second, we use panel data of 2,258 funding days to analyse whether discussions signal endorsement and increase funding success. The econometric results show that discussions generally propel investments. However, discussions on topics like market risk and shareholder rights harm funding success. The study highlights the complementarity of discussion boards as an information source for investors, providing a more nuanced picture of the investor perspective in equity crowdfunding and proposing avenues for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-352
Number of pages26
JournalVenture Capital
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • crowdfunding
  • discussion boards
  • entrepreneurial finance
  • equity offerings
  • signalling theory
  • CRITERIA
  • STAGE
  • INFORMATION
  • PERFORMANCE
  • RISK
  • VALUATION
  • Entrepreneurial finance
  • EXPERIENCE
  • CROWD
  • ANGEL INVESTMENT
  • VENTURE CAPITALISTS

Cite this