I’ve been studying crowdfunding and how the new federal JOBS act will attempt to allow non-accredited investors access to seed rounds in early stage startups. Once limited to artistic endeavors, charity and filmmaking, the concept has grown from the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo to more prevalent in equity investment circles. According to Crowdsourcing.org, there are nearly 1,000 crowdfunding sites in existence but until the SEC enacts Title III of the JOBS ACT, we won’t see the new equity crowdfunding portals provided for by the law – not yet.
One capital-intensive area, biotechnology, won’t see this type of funding as a replacement for traditional venture capital anytime soon. According to Scott Jordan from HealthiosExchange, the average successful biotech company raises $49 million over 5.7 years through a series of private equity rounds. I agree with his assertion that crowdfunding would help these firms achieve milestones during the seed stage that will ultimately get VCs interested. There are already sites connecting a wider range of accredited angel investors and allowing them to syndicate with each other thereby taking more positions in a portfolio of biotech startups. Diversification and “failing fast” is tremendously important in life sciences development and research.