Equity crowdfunding is a novel form of equity financing in which entrepreneurial ventures solicit investments from large groups of people via online platforms. While equity crowdfunding has similarities with more traditional forms of early-stage equity financing, its digital nature clearly distinguishes it from the other forms. The equity crowdfunding market has been growing fast in recent years. With high interest from investors, platforms, ventures, and regulatory bodies, there is a strong demand for academic research on equity crowdfunding. The objective of this dissertation is to improve our understanding of the campaign-, investor-, and investment-level drivers of investment activity in equity crowdfunding. Consequently, this dissertation addresses three research questions: 1) What are the key success drivers of online equity crowdfunding campaigns? 2) What are the motivations and decision criteria of equity crowdfunding investors? 3) Does the performance of first investments predict investors' later activity on an equity crowdfunding platform? The research questions are addressed in the context of the Finnish market, which is among the forerunners of alternative finance in Europe. Specifically, I use data from the financial technology company Invesdor Oy, which operates an online investment platform. The key sources of empirical data are the internal databases of the focal platform and an online investor survey that was conducted as part of this research. The research method is quantitative, including multiple linear regression, two-step cluster analysis, factor analysis, analysis of variance, univariate analysis, logistic regression, and Poisson regression. The results indicate that equity crowdfunding investors possess a unique combination of investment behavioral characteristics. At campaign level, tangible campaign features and the utilization of networks, rather than traditional investment criteria, predict investment volumes. However, an investor-level examination reveals strong heterogeneity among investors in terms of their investment motivations, decision criteria, and target campaigns, with different campaigns catering for different investor motivations. At investment level, investors seem to make their decisions about whether to return to make further investments with limited regard to the performance of their previous investments. Rather, the likelihood of returning is predicted by investor characteristics and motivations, with extrinsically motivated investors more likely to pursue diversification strategies than intrinsically motivated investors. The results corroborate the view of equity crowdfunding as a unique phenomenon distinct from other forms of early-stage equity financing.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
- entrepreneurial finance
- new ventures
- online platforms
- digital fundraising
- equity crowdfunding