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Back to the Blog Is Crowdfunding the Future of Small Business Investing?

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On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech are joined by Francis Cianfrocca to discuss a potential takeover of American Airlines by US Airways, the JOBS Act, and whether Kickstarter’s crowdfunding method is the future of venture capital.

We’re brought to you as always by Stephen Clouse and Associates. If you’d like to email us, you can do so at coffee[at]newledger.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

Related Links:

US Airways Sets Terms With AMR Unions for Possible Merger
Obama Signs ‘Game-Changing,’ Crowdfunding JOBS Act
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Wasteland 2 Kickstarter ends with over $3m raised
Right Before Acquisition, Instagram Closed $50M At A $500M Valuation From Sequoia, Thrive, Greylock And Benchmark

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  • NormD

    Where to start.

    VCs fund something like 1 out of 1000 deals.  Where are other startups supposed to go?

    I talked with a rep from Band of Angels.  I asked if they ever funded companies based on other than a financial basis.  He thought and told me that reminded him of a pitch that was made at a Band of Angels dinner by a guy how had invented a unit that used radar to detect the metal in a suicide bomb vest and thus could pick a suicide bomber out of a crowd.  I said, Wow, what a great idea, did he get funded?  Answer:  Nope, the natural buyers for such a unit is government and it takes too long to sell to them.  The financials did not make sense.  Saving people’s lives has no payback.

    What Francis is supporting is putting people in JAIL, for felonies, for a long time, for the crime of asking people to invest in their idea.  IT IS EVIL.

    If Francis has spent any time in the VC community he should know that VCs are always looking for he BIG deal.  If you have an idea for a small business, even a high tech profitable business that will earn $5M-$10M per year., VCs have no interest.

    10 years ago I worked for a startup that had a system that paid medical bills based on cases not fee-for-service.  We were looking for $5M.  VCs had no interest because that was not a large enough amount for them to put a person on our BoD.

    If Francis has any consistency he will also have to support outlawing gambling, lotteries, medical care not approved by “experts”, cars driven by “non-experts” (only taxis will be allowed), cooking at home (you could poison yourself), non-expert parents raising children, the list goes on-and-on.

    Lastly, it would seem like in this Internet Age that it would easier to find out about scammers that in the 1930s

    Francis is simply rent-seeking…

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelWFisk Michael Fisk

    I think where Francis really has a hard time grasping the nature of where crowdfunding has its role is in largely consumer-oriented businesses, especially in niche markets… VC typically hasn’t been good on the consumer goods side of things, and to think that venture capital has the ability to understand niche markets enough to fund them is nothing short of hubris.

    While Francis might think that having VC manage this sort of funding protects individual investors, but I’d point out two shortcomings to that.  One is the nature of crowdsourced funding allows many sets of eyes to look over what’s going on – if something is amiss, there’s more chances to catch it, even from a small army of rank amateurs, than there is among professionals.  Secondly, while the professionals may insulate the general investor from the sort of catastrophic losses that venture capital often suffers, the current system also pretty well blocks common investors from realizing the gains that early capital rounds to a promising startup can realize.  How fair is that, to say “only the pros can hit the jackpot”?

    (Fair disclosure: I’ve backed close to a dozen projects on Kickstarter, some of which completed literally days after the funding run ended, others I won’t see the fruits of the projects until late next year, but have done quite a bit of reading up on various projects as a result.)