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11/15/2013 McKinsey & Co - Why crowdfunding appeals to the Middle East
12/20/2013 Gulf Times - Silatech Hosts Seminar on Crowdfunding in Cairo 12/19/2013 Kiplinger - Investing in...

The CCA Balanced Stakeholder Framework™

The CCA Balanced Stakeholder Framework™ creates a way to build a vibrant crowdfunding ecosystem in a country. For this to occur, the framework must address the needs of the four audiences described below. Initially it may appear that these stakeholders are unaligned. However, while they may push in different directions, each of these stakeholders needs all of the others to come together in order to create a highly functional crowdfunding ecosystem:Screenshot 2015-07-18 09.52.35

  1. Protection for Investors: The requirements for investor protection are paramount. Without the protection that is provided by disclosure, financial markets fail. Investors can receive protection via fulsome disclosure provided by issuers. Additionally, ongoing educational programs must be enacted to educate both sophisticated and unsophisticated investors regarding the risks and opportunities of investing in SMEs and startups. Also, crowdfunding may provide an opportunity to update the definition of a “sophisticated investor” now that more individuals have better access to financial data.
  2. Capital for SMEs and Entrepreneurs: Securities-based crowdfunding regulation should enable the creation of financial vehicles or issues that provide both SMEs and entrepreneurial startups with access to seed capital, working capital, and expansion capital. These regulations must provide enough structure to companies that seek capital, while also being lightweight enough so that the process is not so onerous that businesses are discouraged because the cost and time requirements make it unviable for them. If regulations are too restrictive, then the very targets of this legislation will never be able to benefit from it.
  3. Transparency for Regulators: Regulators must have access to secure, standardized, timely, and periodic data from all crowdfunding platforms so they can provide oversight and enforcement of the rules. Crowdfunding should provide the regulator with more transparent and recent data than it gets today from the traditional private capital markets. What is important here is that the oversight is “data intensive and prescriptively light.” This means that by using technology for frequent monitoring of the system, there is an opportunity to react much more quickly if there are concerns regarding an issuer, investor, or transaction.
  4. Enabling Crowdfunding Platforms: Finally, the crowdfunding platforms themselves must have the opportunity to build a profitable, growing, long-term business. This means that the regulatory burdens must be such that there is proper and appropriate oversight, while providing enough room for platforms to grow. Again, the question is how can we utilize technology in new ways, to be “data intensive and prescriptively (and cost) light?” If crowdfunding platforms are overburdened with high costs and time-intensive compliance requirements, then they will fail, and then the entire initiative to create new access to capital for SMEs and startups will also fail. Approach to Building Recommendations

To learn more about how to use the CCA Balanced Stakeholder Framework™ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

How to Build a Business Case for Debt and Equity Crowdfunding in Your Country

While crowdfunding might be all the buzz, all forms (donation, rewards, debt and equity) are not available globally. This is leaving many entrepreneurs asking, “why are we only limited to donation and rewards crowdfunding?”
Screenshot 2015-05-30 10.49.07

The reality is debt and equity are promises of future returns on investment. This promise is otherwise known as a security.  Securities are highly regulated by governments. Why? To protect investors, to deter fraud, and to control the capital markets so they are efficient and trustworthy places to transact business.  Crowd securities are not legal in most parts of the world because the law says you cannot “publicly solicit people for investments.” Without going into a ton of detail “public” means “online aka the Internet” and “people” means “the general masses that are not rich.” 

However, these laws were written at a time when no one knew what the Internet was and how the technology it is built on can tackle the challenges of trust and transparency that governments seek.  But now governments that are focused on entrepreneurship, innovation and jobs are revisiting these law to see how they can bring their securities regulation to the Internet Age.

This doesn’t happen on its own. It takes the will of a group of individuals and you can be the spark much like we were in the USA.  Here’s what you need to do to get started:

1) Understand if you have all the variables (cultural, social, regulatory, and technology) necessary for your country to succeed with crowdfunding and what changes might be necessary. Start by taking the Crowdfund Readiness Survey.

2) Meet with all the ecosystem players in your country (we’ve identified 15 strategic organizations to talk to) and understand what is and what is not working for them in the startup and SME financing arena.

3) Drill down into the local regulations that both foster and inhibit investment into startups and SMEs.

4) Run a fit/gap analysis to clearly show where the holes are and how crowdfunding can help (follow a proven methodology).

5)Provide a list of summary recommendations that satisfy the needs of the regulators with the desires of startups and SMEs.

There are many stakeholders interested in crafting such policy. Identify those in your country and begin the process.  

5 Reasons This Small Country Could Win Big With Crowdfunding?

…and what country is it?


  1. They have ‘Kasmoni’ a rotating savings and credit system for people who don’t have access to the banking system. (a kind of traditional crowdfunding) 

  2. This country experiences the same problem we see all over the world with a lack of access to funding for small businesses and start-ups – and they want to do something about it.

  3. There is strong ties to Holland, a country that is already using debt and equity crowdfunding, to help entrepreneurs and create jobs.

  4. Entrepreneurship and small business ownership come naturally to this ethnically diverse society.

  5. There is high social media usage and a willingness to connect with broader communities online – including the diaspora. (people from this country that live abroad)

What country is this? Suriname! Is the small Dutch speaking nation on the north-eastern side of South America. I traveled there to deliver a series of lectures and speeches on the value of entrepreneurship and the potential of crowdfunding to create jobs and inclusive economic growth. I had the chance to meet with business leaders, academics, students and entrepreneur’s in a series of events hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo, the capital.


FHR School of Business

I was there on behalf of the U.S. State Department for Global Entrepreneurship Week and was happy to be greeted by engaged and interested audiences at the various events around the capital. I learned that Suriname experiences the same challenges in getting funding to the most promising small businesses and entrepreneurs that we face here in the US. Because Suriname experiences many of the same problems that we experience with funding entrepreneurs, they were interested in hearing what I had to say about democratizing access to capital for all worthy small businesses. People there are working hard to help entrepreneurs create jobs and build better lives for themselves and their community. They want to learn as much as they can about what we are doing with Crowdfunding in the U.S. – not because they want to implement the same system of crowdfunding there, but because they want to take our lessons to create a uniquely Surinamese solution to the problem. The diverse country is full of opportunity for its people who are working hard to expand entrepreneurship and jobs. 

R Mitchell STVS Jrnl 20nov14 Suriname TV News   YouTube

Interview with STVS Channel 8

Because the ideas behind crowdfunding are so familiar to people in Suriname, and there is heavy social media usage there, they are well positioned to be leaders in crowdfunding by getting community based capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. I realized how much interest there was by the media coverage which included a piece on the evening news and a front page story on the national newspaper. I spoke at three universities and met with business leaders who are interested in what crowdfunding has to offer.

A highlight was the chance to meet with Apura NetWorks which is an online ecosystem for Suriname and its people abroad. They connect Surinamese people from around the world with each other with their technology and are now launching a crowdfunding platform to give the diaspora and those interested in Suriname the opportunity to support project’s in the country. They could make a huge difference for Suriname.

Apura is the first crowdfunding platform in the country but probably not the last. Suriname has many of the key ingredient needed to create a thriving crowdfunding ecosystem. (and some obstacles) Could they be the next leaders in the crowdfunding revolution?


Robert MitchellRob Mitchell heads up Success With Crowdfunding and is a Partner at Crowdfund Capital Advisors. He’s passionate about democratizing access to funding for small businesses and entrepreneurs, both at home and abroad, and is focused on helping them create successful crowdfunding campaigns. Rob Mitchell is part of the team responsible for the crowdfunding framework (Title III) of the JOBS Act signed into law by President Barack Obama. He is a serial entrepreneur who speaks frequently at crowdfunding and entrepreneurship focused events around the world. Recent speaking engagements include Stockholm School of Economics (Riga), Stanford University (AMENDS Conference), UC Berkeley (Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Boot Camp), Corvinus University (Budapest), and FHR School of Business (Paramaribo, Suriname). Robert is also a contributing author of ‘Crowdfunding’s Potential for the Developing World,’ a report written for the World Bank by Crowdfund Capital Advisors and is t

Use equity or debt crowdfunding to give Ebola funders a vested interest in the outcome

The following was posted on OpenIdea by Sherwood Neiss
Ideas are great but they are nothing without money. Money solves one part of the problem, funding, but not the other, engagement. Crowdfunding has proven it is possible to engage a community of interest in the solution to a problem with funds. Debt & equity crowdfunding is showing that funds given in the form of an investment turn donors from passively involved to actively engaged. This means they become a marketing engine, help to sell a product/solution, help iterate on an outcome, and/or provide introductions to other key players - all because they have a VESTED interest in the success of their investment. This crisis could benefit from incorporating the crowd for their funds and to engage them as investors rather than donors.
How could it work 
Debt Scenario: 
1) Crowdfunding campaign to fund a cure 
2) Funds pledged are given as a convertible loan 
3) If a cure is found, any sales from the product will go to pay back investors 
4) Perhaps put a cap on the return (eg: 10x) 


Equity Scenario 
1) Crowdfunding campaign to fund a cure 
2) Funds pledged are given as equity 
3) If a cure is found the profit from any pharma who buys the solution will go to pay back investors 

NOTE: Both scenarios might require a US or UK Entity be the one that receives the money as they have the most established debt and equity crowdfunding markets.  Governments and regulators would have to collaborate under a special "Eboala Exemption" 

How Craigslist could get rid of 99% of fraud but is too lazy to do so

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 12.20.34 PMBeing on the forefront of all things crowdfunding, we get to see how new technologies are solving old problems. One of the areas where I bet we will see ‘less of a big’ problem is fraud when it comes to the private capital markets. Sometimes we hear stories of people investing in a business they heard of through a friend of a friend only to find out it was a scam, the company didn’t exist, or it was a shell business formed to steal money from unsuspecting investors. More often than not, these investors lose out on their money because it is impossible to track down the perpetrator.

The reason these scams take place is there is usually no one vetting the scammer. This is a problem technology companies like Early IQ (in full transparency we are an advisor to Early IQ) are solving. Early IQ has figured out how to detect fraud with almost 100% accuracy. The system works by requiring that individual’s self-disclose certain information up front that is then verified. Their team, databases, and algorithm then go to work to see if they are a real person, at a real address, with a real phone number so that if anything goes wrong the police know where to get them. 

With Early IQ, investors that want to invest in businesses that have been through an Early IQ fraud detection don’t have to worry about a potential shyster taking off to the Cayman Islands with their investment. This doesn’t guarantee that the business will be a success, but at least we’ve removed one of the biggest problems in the private capital markets, identifying fraudsters before they have a chance to commit fraud.

This got me thinking, what if Craigslist were to require everyone listing an item for sale or an apartment for rent to go through the same background check. How much fraud could be reduced on Craigslist if everyone selling something there had to have a badge certifying that they have a clean slate? And to prove it, you could click on the badge and it would take you to a website like Early IQ’s to confirm they performed the background check.  How much money would be saved from trusting buyers or renters that have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous scam artists?

I bet a ton of money and here’s a personal reason why. I listed my condo for rent this past spring on Craigslist. Some shyster took pictures of my pictures and started renting it as a short-term rental in a different area on Craigslist. He used a story that he was my tenant and was subletting it because he was transferred on assignment to Alaska. This was a total lie but he used my name, pictures and listing to build credibility.

More than 5 people eventually saw my real post and called me to say they lost money to this guy! They each sent him a deposit and never heard from him again. One poor soul showed up at the condo to MOVE IN for 3 months only to find out she’d been scammed.  I have no idea how many more people were taken advantage of.

Here’s another real life example.  I have a friend who runs a specialized online horse tack store and received a large order to be shipped to Argentina (not too crazy as this sport is popular there), but the "customer" required that he use a specific freight forwarding company rather than UPS.  Turns out that company didn't exist. Imagine if he had required an Early IQ check on the freight forwarding company? 

The analogy in B2B is that most if not all large corporations require new vendors to complete a vendor information application - generally run them through a BBB check and a credit check.  But for smaller companies and smaller vendors, it's not practical or particularly effective.

But think about all the fraud that could be deterred and money saved if Craigslist just required all buyers and sellers to be verified?  Think about the confidence people would have in Craigslist as a real marketplace if they knew they could track down and hold a fraudster accountable?

The technology and businesses like Early IQ are there. The reality is, Craigslist is just a “listing service” and “buyers need to beware.” Easy enough to hide behind that but if they really want to establish a credible marketplace as the crowdfunding industry is doing by verifying that the sellers of securities in businesses are real people at real addresses with real companies, perhaps companies like Craigslist need to incorporate some of these new technologies into their own business models?