Category Archives: Press Releases

funding4business – real estate crowdfunding

Real estate Crowdfunding set to top US$2.5 Billion this year

Entrepreneur Magazine
Catherine Clifford – 4th March, 2015

Real-estate crowdfunding was a $1 billion industry in the USA in 2014 and is expected to grow to more than $2.5 billion this year, according to a report released today from USA industry research firm Massolution.

Across the globe, investors and homebuyers are using crowdfunding as a way to own and profit off of commercial real estate or to finance the purchase of their own homes. In 2014, USA crowdfunding campaigns ranged in size from less than $100,000 to over $25 million.

When most people think about crowdfunding, they’re likely to think of a group of friends pulling their finances together to back the launch of a new indie film or a wallet made out of duct tape.

While still emerging, the real-estate crowdfunding industry is growing quickly. To date, there are 85 real-estate crowdfunding platforms currently in operation, according to Massolution.

“Residential crowdfunding has the breakout potential, as mortgage loan origination, a trillion dollar market, is opening up to distributed platform financing,” the report says. One example of residential real estate crowdfunding is LendInvest, a platform out of the U.K. that did $240 million worth of residential mortgage loan initiations last year.
Property investors are using real-estate crowdfunding as an alternative way to invest money they are looking to make money with. For example, on USA platforms such as Realty Mogul, many investors pool their money to buy a commercial real-estate investment with the expectation that the rate of return on their investment will be higher, with less risk, than other typical investment alternatives.

The benefit of real-estate equity crowdfunding over real estate investment trusts, or REITs, which have already been around for two decades now, is speed and diversity. “Technology allows this activity to be conducted more swiftly and more efficiently, availing the investment opportunity to more participants,” the report says.

Crowdfunding for commercial and industrial investments is growing faster than it is for residential or multi-family real estate investments, according to the report. Still, crowdfunding is being used as an alternative finance method to a mortgage from a bank for individuals looking to move into their first home. And there is significant potential in this sliver of the real-estate crowdfunding market.

funding4business recognised this emerging trend into on-line and Internet based financial services and was specifically established to facilitate peer-to-peer start-up funding and business loans to Aussie businesses.

funding4business enables crowdfunded property investments – today

We are an Aussie company, with an Aussie team, applying Aussie developed technology and know-how, to an emerging P2P alternative investment and financial marketplace for the benefit of Aussie business borrowers and Aussie investors.

We connect business borrowers with investors such as SMSFs, HNWIs, SIVs and PIVs holders for their mutual benefit.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending acts as a flexible investment alternative where established businesses can borrow funds and negotiate business loans directly with willing investors at mutually acceptable investment rates, terms and conditions.

The funding4business marketplace is open and transparent, offers a broad range of investment options, provides flexibility, offers potentially better investment returns, faster and simple settlement, online registration and algorithmic loan matching to your investment criteria.

funding4business was launched in Australia on 1st August 2014.

London is the Crowdfunding capital of the world

Entrepreneurs 15/08/2014 @ 9:00AM
Jason Hesse Contributor

London has overtaken New York City and San Francisco to become the world capital of crowdfunding. Britain is home to around 80 different crowdfunding platforms, with the two biggest players by far Crowdcube and Seedrs.

At a recent event held by The Crowdfunding Centre in London, an interactive map showing crowdfunding’s spread and distribution was unveiled. London is the top city, with local businesses and start-ups creating more campaigns during July 2014 than any other city.

Just over 250,000 crowdfunding campaigns were launched internationally in 2014 with London leading the charge, with 12 new crowdfunding projects launching on average each day.

The average amount raised was $17,834, with an average fully-funded success rate of 32%.

Barry James, founder and CEO of The Crowdfunding Centre, attributes London’s lead to the city’s start-up community embracing crowdfunding as an alternative way to raise funds.

“It’s clear from the figures that the hyper-connectivity of the start-up community in London is helping. There is also the fact that compared to the US, where centres of excellence are scattered around the East and West coasts, London has become a centre of many specialisms.”

In particular, the data shows that London is a leader for crowdfunding projects in the business, technology, publishing and gaming industries – all fast-growth areas.

Discussing the findings, Dr Richard Swart, a crowdfunding and alternative finance expert from University of California, Berkeley, said the research findings come as no surprise: “London and the UK are continuing the growth documented in our research. It is becoming clear the UK is leading the market in many respects.”

The UK government is not ignoring this. George Osborne, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the UK is ready to challenge US dominance in crowdfunding:

“We stand at the dawn of a new era of innovative finance. Setting the objective of the UK leading the world, London has become the world capital of crowdfunding. The technologies being developed today will revolutionise the way we bank, the way we invest, the way companies raise money. It will lead to new products, new services, new lenders.”

Britain is embracing crowdfunding and it has grown extremely quickly in the UK over the last few years, by more than 600% between 2012 and 2013, from just under £4m raised in 2012 to more than £28m in 2013.

This fast growth has caught the government’s attention, with the Financial Conduct Authority – the UK financial service regulator – releasing new rules to regulate both crowdfunding and peer-to-peer funding platforms.

Before the FCA’s rules, some crowdfunding activity had been unregulated, some regulated, and some of it exempt from regulation. These new rules were widely welcomed by crowdfunding platforms, making the model more accessible to everyday investors.

“[The UK] is the best jurisdiction for crowdfunding in the world,” says Jeff Lynn, the American-born founder of Seedrs. “The US and the rest of Europe are far behind the UK, which has a sensible regime that protects investors while still creating a commercial model in which to operate. Hats off to the government for their enthusiasm.”

Crowdfunding is not just happening in London it is taking off in Sydney.

funding4business the new peer-to-peer crowdfunding marketplace launched in Australia and New Zealand in 2014 and is the only platform designed to provide business loans, start-up seed and equity funding, and crowd-funded business loans to Aussie and Kiwi enterprises.

funding4business connects business borrowers to lenders and investors directly, by matching investing and borrowing criteria, which then allows businesses and investors to negotiate the terms and conditions of the loan or investment at mutually acceptable interest rates and repayment terms.

With the funding4business peer-to-peer marketplace there are no banks, no middleman and no hidden fees. Listing in funding4business peer-to-peer marketplace for both investors and for businesses seeking loans is simple, quick and free.

Release #5 is now live at funding4business.com.au

NEW! Start-ups seeking funding can now list in the marketplace

This method of peer-to-peer financing is for early stage equity investment in start-up enterprises seeking seed or establishment risk capital, especially in the technology sector.

NEW! Crowdfunders can now list in the marketplace

The CrowdFunding method of peer-to-peer financing is usually for established businesses seeking funding by pooling loan funds from a number of independent investors through peer-to-peer relationships.

As at today, we have 44 investors & businesses listed on our peer-to-peer marketplace with a total market value of $7,790,000

funding4business is an open and transparent peer-to-peer marketplace, where established Aussie businesses can source affordable business loans, crowdfunded loans or start-up funding from willing lenders and investors at mutually acceptable rates and loan terms.

Why were seed funding rounds down in USA in 2014?

The number of Start-up seed rounds in USA in 2014 were down by 30%?

On the whole, seed investment dollar value in 2014 looked very similar to 2013 but the number of deals dropped 30%.

This drop in number of deals, without a similar decline in investment dollars, indicates that the average seed round in 2014 was larger.

In turn suggesting the valuation or valuation cap of the average round increased.
And indeed, the average seed round rose 28% while the median rose 40%.

One theory:-

I read an article recently regarding the decline in start-up businesses in USA.
The nub of the article was start-ups of all types of businesses have been in steady decline for about 20 years in the USA. The author claimed this was due to:-

restrictive immigration laws keeping enterprising foreigners out of USA
regulatory restrictions – on options and share issues
caution and risk aversion of entrepreneurs
economic un-certainity from QE in USA, Japan and now the ECB
political gridlock in Congress

What has been the impact of interest rates on Start-up investments?

I suggest that:-

Since the GFC in 2008 the U.S. central bank’s reaction was to keep artificially low interest rates plus with the flood of $$ resulting from the 18 months of QE the country and world is awash with cheap money.

Therefore, investors’ are struggling to find decent returns in a low interest rate environment where money is cheap and undifferentiated. They will look at anything.

But their experience from the 2000 “dot.com” bubble and the GFC crash has made investors very cautious and not throw their money at high risk investments, i.e. a start-up with a great idea

So – why are fewer larger value deals are being done?

I suggest that:-
Investors are ignoring early stage start-ups and early seed $$ and waiting longer and avoiding or minimising the risk.

The hit rate with start-ups is very low – so investors are saying, “lets wait and invest bigger $$ in established enterprises”.

Which suggests that start-ups must be further along the establishment curve and have a better revenue and business story before investors will come in.

Plus a lot of new investment funds is being re-cycled by successful Founders who have exited and investors who have done well from previous start-up investments.

They are in the IT loop and only put funds in the main, into established proven start-ups and come in at Series A,& B rounds instead of seed rounds.

What to expect in Q1 2015?

I suggest that:-
The steep decline in the number of USA start-ups might be as a result of investors reacting to mounting concerns about investment risk and economic un-certainity.

This is due in part from the cessation of USA central bank’s QE activities and the start of QE activity in Japan and the ECB, will mean:-
more of the same, possibly a further decline in number of start-ups in line with the steady historic decline
less funds into early stage start-ups
more funds into proven or established enterprises.

PJM – 20th January 2015

Murray supports crowdfunding

Murray supports crowdfunding on Internet

The Murray financial system inquiry has rejected calls from some large banks that new digital and Internet based financial competitors should face the same regulations they do. The Murray inquiry said innovations that didn’t pose a risk to the financial system should have a lower regulatory burden, which “will allow innovation to come into the system.”

The Murray inquiry said technological change was transforming financial services quickly and could improve competition but also reduce it. Recent innovations include equity and debt crowdfunding and online business funding and lending.

funding4business recognised this emerging trend into on-line and Internet based financial services and was specifically established to facilitate peer-to-peer start-up funding and business loans to Aussie businesses.

We are an Aussie company, with an Aussie team, applying Aussie developed technology and know-how, to an emerging P2P alternative investment and financial marketplace for the benefit of Aussie business borrowers and Aussie investors.

We connect business borrowers with investors such as SMSFs, HNWIs, SIVs and PIVs holders for their mutual benefit.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending acts as a flexible investment alternative where established businesses can borrow funds and negotiate business loans directly with willing investors at mutually acceptable investment rates, terms and conditions.

The funding4business marketplace is open and transparent, offers a broad range of investment options, provides flexibility, offers potentially better investment returns, faster and simple settlement, online registration and algorithmic loan matching to your investment criteria.

funding4business was launched in Australia on 1st August 2014.

funding4business – difference between a start-up and small business

The difference between a Start-up and Small Business

This article is a precis of an original article published by Emily Pope on General Assembly.

What is a Start-up?

If you work in the technology industry, you’ve probably heard the term “start-up” thrown around. If you live in a tech hub such as Silicon Valley, Hong Kong, Sydney or New York and work in technology—it’s likely that you or someone you know is in the process of conceptualising or even launching their own start-up.

Although the start-up founder and small business owner are both entrepreneurs; the intent, primary function, and funding of their respective business model’s are radically different.

Many people think that start-up is just another term for a small business, when the definitions of the two are very different. To differentiate these two organisational entities, let’s take a deeper dive into the definition of a start-up.

For years, investors treated start-ups as smaller versions of larger companies; this was problematic because there is a vast ideological (and organisational) difference between a start-up and a small business and or a larger business, which necessitates different funding strategies and KPIs.

According to serial entrepreneur and Silicon Valley legend Steve Blank, a start-up is searching to not only prove their business model, but to do so quickly, in a way that will have a significant impact on the current market. Which brings us to our first major difference between the start-up and the small business.

A start-up has the intent to become a larger business

As Blank describes it, in a scalable start-up, Founder(s) don’t just want to be their own boss; they wants to take over the world or part thereof. From day one the intent is to grow the start-up into a larger, disruptive company. The Founder(s) believe that they have come across the next “big idea,” one that will truly shake up the industry, take customers from existing companies, or even create a new market.

This stance is in stark contrast with the definition of a small business, which the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) describes as “independently owned and operated, organised for profit, and not dominant in its field.”

Therefore, the driving force behind the two business models is different: The intent of the start-up founder is to disrupt the market with a scalable business model; whereas the intent of the small business owner is to be their own boss and secure a place in the local market.

To be sure, the latter is the prevailing model of entrepreneurship in the United States: grocery stores, delis, hair salons, plumbers, electricians, etc. and their contribution to the local economy cannot be overstated. However, for better or for worse, the ultimate motivation behind a small business is fundamentally different from that of scalable start-ups.

A start-up is temporary

The organisational function of the start-up is to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. According to Blank, this means that a start-up founder(s) have three main functions:
1. To provide a vision of a product with a set of features.
2. To create a series of hypotheses about all the pieces of the business model: Who are the customers? What are the distributions channels? How do we build and finance the company, etc.
3. To quickly validate whether the model is correct by seeing if customers behave as your model predicts (which he admits they rarely do).

Given this definition, it stands that once a business model has been proven, the function of the organisation must shift to produce outcomes and execute the business model; in many cases removing the agility and innovation that once existed in the early days of the business.

A start-up is funded differently

While both a start-up and small business will likely start with funding from the founder’s savings, friends and family, or a bank loan; if a start-up is successful, it will seek additional funding from angel investors or venture capitalist. With each round of funding, the start-up founder(s) give up a piece of the company–this is called equity, and everyone who has it becomes a co-owner of the company. Eventually, a start-up may cease to exist as an independent entity via a merger or acquisition.

To a small business owner, relinquishing control would defeat the purpose of running their own business; however, for the start-up it may be necessary to sustain seemingly infinite growth.

funding4business has recognised the difference between the funding needs of both entities and is the first and only peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace in Australia, specifically established to facilitate funding for Start-ups and P2P loans for established businesses.

We connect Aussie start-ups and business borrowers with Aussie investors such as SMSFs, and HNWIs for their mutual benefit.

The funding4business marketplace is open and transparent, offers a broad range of investment options, provides flexibility, offers potentially better investment returns, faster and simple settlement, online registration and algorithmic loan matching to your investment criteria.

funding4business is not a bank, finance company or lender, and we are not owned or backed by a bank or finance company.

We are an Aussie company, with an Aussie team, applying Aussie developed technology and know-how, to an emerging P2P marketplace for Aussie business borrowers and Aussie investors.

funding4business was launched in Australia on 1st August 2014.

funding4business – biggest issue facing start-ups in 2015 is access to seed funding

The biggest issue facing start-ups in 2015 is access to seed funding

Convincing investors to back your idea is the key challenge for every start-up, and usually an idea is pretty much all you have. Even a start-up that has some runs on the board, with a MVP product, customers and maybe some revenue, faces the challenge of convincing investors and lenders to understand the potential of their start-up business.

A recent DFK survey of the start-up sector in Australia & New Zealand confirmed that the hardest challenges for Aussie & Kiwi start-ups is access to funding. Raising money for start-ups is tough especially if you are just starting out with an idea or concept, few assets and no useful network for raising independent finance.

Cheree Woolcock, partner of DFK Australia & New Zealand says,  “We see that some banks have been reluctant to lend to start-ups and online-only business, but I think banks also need to adjust to the cloud-business-world.”

Nick Reade, ANZ general manager of small business, was quoted in The Australian recently saying many banks don’t play in the start-up sector because: “there are a couple of hundred thousand new small businesses every year and we feel that ANZ need to be in that market.”

So what is Start-up funding?

Start-up or seed funding is a method of peer-to-peer financing for early stage equity investment in start-up enterprises seeking seed or establishment risk capital, especially in the rapidly expanding Internet based technology sector. Investors in effect are putting up funds and purchasing equity in or taking the option to convert loan funds to equity in the start-up business.

What is the purpose of Start-up funding?

The first stage and objective of any new start-up is conceptualising and developing a minimum viable product (MVP). For this they will need development capital or start-up seed funding of maybe $150,000-$500,000 to pay for systems development resources required to establish the new enterprise.

If the founders of the new enterprise do not have access to these funds themselves, they have to go beyond family and friends to external investors such as private retail investors, Angel investors, high-net-worth individuals and/or other successful entrepreneurs.

So where and how do you find start-up funding outside the banking system?

Since the GFC, the traditional banking system has been adversely impacted by the high underwriting and servicing costs associated with lending to small and medium sized businesses. Plus as we have seen from the comments of the ANZ and the DFK survey above, the banks are usually very reluctant when it comes to lending money to start-ups.

Consequently it has created an opportunity for non-traditional lenders through peer-to-peer lending and funding platforms to cater to the growing demand for alternative business financing options such as start-up funding by directly connecting start-ups and investors

Peer-to-peer funding lets investors lend to individuals or invest directly into start-ups or established businesses and uses low-cost online platforms to cut out the banks and other financial institutions.

funding4business has recognised this technological and cultural shift in investment lending and borrowing and is the first and only peer-to-peer marketplace in Australia and New Zealand, specifically established to facilitate start-up funding, crowdfunding, and business loans, by connecting Aussie& Kiwi business borrowers together with Aussie and Kiwi investors.

The funding4business marketplace is open and transparent peer-to-peer marketplace, where established Aussie businesses can source start-up funding affordable business loans, crowdfunded loans or start-up funding from willing lenders and investors at mutually acceptable rates and loan terms.

funding4business was launched in Australia on 1st August 2014 and in New Zealand on 26th January 2015.

funding4business – rise of peer-to-peer lending

The rise of peer-to-peer lending

Traditional banks make money by issuing loans to borrowers. Now ordinary people have the opportunity to do the same. Currently, one of the fastest-growing industries is peer-to-peer lending, which involves offering personal and business loans to strangers over the Internet at agreed interest rates and repayment terms.

The peer-to-peer lending space is currently exploding globally at an exponential growth rate with over $1 billion in venture capital poured into various peer-to-peer start-ups.

Lending Club in the USA is the largest of them all. Founded in 2007, and has issued more than $4 billion in personal loans since 2007. In August, the company filed for an IPO with a fundraising target of $692 million, valuing the company at around $4 billion.

Last week (1st December 2014), AvantCredit, an online personal loan lender based in Chicago, secured a $225 million Series D from a consortium of investors, while OnDeck Capital (USA), also filed for an IPO in November.

This shift to a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending strategy is not unique to the USA. In Britain for example, some peer-to-peer (P2P) networks are offering “mini-bonds” by lumping together lots of small, unsecured loans from retail investors such as superannuation funds, and lending them to established businesses in the form of debt funding.

The major UK P2P networks providing these investment options and small business loans include, Funding Circle, Zopa and RebuildingSociety. Funding Circle alone has facilitated over GBP400+ million in business loans in the UK over the four years since establishment

Here in Australia businesses are beginning to embrace non-bank peer-to-peer lending services and this will present a new and real threat to traditional banks’ business models.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending acts as an affordable and flexible alternative to expensive bank loans, where businesses can borrow funds and negotiate business loans directly with willing lenders at mutually acceptable rates and terms. Consequently, peer-to-peer loan matching is emerging as a viable and reliable source for business loans in Australia.

funding4business has recognised this shift and is the first and only peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace in Australia, specifically established for providing business loans, and connecting Aussie business borrowers to Aussie lenders for mutual benefit.

The funding4business marketplace is open and transparent, offers potentially lower interest rates, faster settlement, online registration and algorithmic loan matching as the norm. P2P lending is a win/win situation for Aussie borrowers and Aussie lenders.

funding4business was launched in Australia on 1st August 2014

funding4business – equity-based crowdfunding regulation

Labor MP Husic urges government to act on equity-based crowdfunding regulation

Federal Labor MP Ed Husic has called on the federal government to introduce equity-based crowdfunding regulation as quickly as possible. Mr Husic, expressed concern that businesses were leaving Australia for more favourable regulatory environments such as New Zealand, while the government considered reform.

“The government has failed to meaningfully respond to calls for reform of the regulatory environment around crowd-sourced equity funding – a platform that is providing access to valuable, much-needed capital for start-ups,” Husic told Parliament.

“For now, I’m very mindful that the sector is demanding of this government a formal statement on where it is at in developing this framework. They’re seeing colleagues leave Australia and head to New Zealand because there’s a more accommodating regulatory environment there.

The government indicated in its Industry Innovation and Competiveness Agenda that the assistant Treasurer will consult widely on a regulatory framework to facilitate crowd-sourced equity funding, to build on the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee’s (CAMAC) report.

That report was released in June and recommended the government make it easier for Australian businesses to raise capital through online crowdfunding platforms. It said that the government should change the legislation to allow all Australian to invest in companies through equity-based crowdfunding, albeit with a limit on retail investors of $10,000 per year and $2500 per start-up.

“The concern that start-ups have expressed if those types of limits are imposed is that it wouldn’t really raise the type of money that, in some cases, start-ups need to access for the whole exercise to be viable,” he says.

“While numerous ministers have told us how they’re big fans of crowd-sourced equity funding, we haven’t seen a response to the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee report proposing a way ahead for this funding platform,” Husic says.

Mr Husic’s concerns are the delay on legislation, plus the CAMAC report’s recommendations, including limits on retail investors, are too conservative.

By Kye White | Wednesday, 29 October 2014

funding4business – crowdfunding in Australia a step closer

Crowdfunding in Australia a step closer

This is an extract of an article written by Nassim Khadem, Deputy Editor BusinessDay | Dec 8, 2014, Fairfax Media

 

Entrepreneurs will soon be able to take advantage of crowdfunding.
Crowd-sourced equity funding to help start-ups in Australia looks a step closer.

The Abbott government released on Monday a discussion paper on how Australia could create a regulatory system that protected investors who decided to take a punt on start-ups.

Crowdfunding, which allows a large number of investors to make small equity investments in a company, has taken off globally, growing to more than $5.1 billion last year. But Australia has been slow to join and current regulations impede crowdfunding.

A Treasury discussion paper comes after the final report of the financial system inquiry called on the government to enable crowdfunding.

Many submissions to the inquiry suggested Australia was already lagging other countries in crowdfunding and called for a new regulatory regime to enable it.

“A well-developed crowdfunding system can aid broader innovation and competition in the financial system,” the inquiry report, led by former Commonwealth Bank boss David Murray, said.

New Zealand revived its commercial laws earlier this year to allow retail investors to provide crowdfunding. The Treasury discussion paper suggests Australia could look to this model, although the government said it was not locked into any model.

“We are keen to ensure that any crowd-sourced equity funding model appropriately balances supporting investment, reducing compliance costs – including for small business – and maintaining an appropriate level of investor protection,” a joint statement by

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said.
The Murray report noted the risks associated with crowdfunding investments would require changes to consumer protection laws, including pointing out the risks of failure and fraud.

Allowing debt and equity to be raised from the “crowd” would provide small businesses with an alternative source of capital that could create jobs and lift productivity, it said.
“One of the obstacles that start-ups face is access to capital,” Mr Billson said.

“Crowdfunding would allow them to get that first-start business off the ground with the resources that it needs.”

Scale Investors chief executive Laura McKenzie, a supporter of product-focused crowdfunding platforms such as Pozible, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, welcomed the discussion paper but said her key concern was about investor education.

“It is critical that any endorsement of equity crowd funding is enhanced with an education program both around the risks involved and portfolio approach required,” she said.

“It is also important in terms of the fees and services provided by the intermediary platforms themselves, who take a passive role compared to the traditional, more hands-on venture capital model. My preference is that in addition to investment caps there are also limitations on the fee structures for intermediaries.”

Tim Heasley, chief operating officer of Artesian Venture Partners, which started VentureCrowd, Australia’s first equity-based crowdfunding platform, said the move would incentivise innovation and competition in the financial system.

Chris Gilbert, the co-founder of Equitise, another crowdfunding start-up targeting small business that will launch in Australia next year, said crowd-sourced equity funding would be an easy win for the government. “It is potentially a very powerful tool for early-stage, higher-risk ventures to raise capital in Australia,” Mr Gilbert said.

The head of KPMG’s digital consulting arm SR7, James Griffin, said one of the first great successes of crowdfunding was the completion of the base to hold the Statue of Liberty in New York. “A new record was set by one crowdfunding platform recently, seeing 62,000 people raise more than $13 million to commercialise a project,” he said. “It is particularly important to us as a country, as the remoteness of Australia does not apply when people consider investing via crowdfunding platforms.”

Airtasker chief Tim Fung said while equity crowdfunding was a complex concept, he was confident it would be a huge driver of economic growth in Australia if implemented correctly. “We just need to get the balance right between free markets and regulation.”

Career One chief Karen Lawson said the growth of equity-based crowdfunding would not only enable businesses to launch and grow quickly but would arguably become a barometer for success.

Milan Direct founder Dean Ramler said the model worked well overseas, especially in the United States. “As it stands it is not easy to provide equity to staff,” he said. “If this can change, it would really help start-ups.