Earlier this month, researchers at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership announced the establishment of CrowdBerkeley to better understand crowdfunding, a phenomenon which is changing the future of finance by fostering the exchange of capital through new technology channels and providing a more equal playing field for funding investors and recipients.
Crowdfunding got its name from the process of crowds of people investing relatively small amounts of money online to fund new ventures and individuals—bypassing traditional investors and lenders. The growth of crowdfunding continues at a rapid pace, and the practice is expanding to new markets and to new places around the globe each day.
Fung Institute engineers have been aggregating databases from global crowdfunding platforms to provide researchers, policy experts, and government agencies with the tools to advance knowledge on technology models and to facilitate innovation and networks in crowdfunding. For example, CrowdBerkeley’s public research will provide evidence of crowdfunding trends such as participant demographics.
Berkeley-Haas faculty and researchers in finance and social enterprise will use the data to study how crowdfunding is impacting traditional financial models and paving the way for innovation and new ventures.
CrowdBerkeley enhances an already active study of crowdfunding on campus. Berkeley-Haas has held more than a dozen campus teach-ins where Berkeley academics and students network and collaborate with alumni and industry partners working in crowdfunding. The business school is also redefining finance education by including crowdfunding models, both current and evolving, in the MBA curriculum.
“We care about training our students so they will be best positioned to understand the future of finance from the standpoint of policy, regulation, and tech,” says assistant professor Adair Morse, who teaches the “New Venture Finance” MBA course.
In the course, students learn how to raise equity without traditional investors, create credit and loan models without brick-and-mortar lenders, and understand the implications of new currencies such as Bitcoin, an open source payment network that utilizes technology to conduct peer-to-peer transactions instead of banks to do business. Berkeley-Haas students have launched several crowdfunding companies, including Indiegogo and WeFinance.
“The goal of CrowdBerkeley is simple: we aim to leverage the excellence of UC Berkeley to learn, educate, and inform entrepreneurs, policymakers, and researchers on how crowdfunding can shape the economy and society,” says professor Laura D’Andrea Tyson, director of the Haas School’s Institute for Business and Social Impact.
Learn more about this new partnership to study crowdfunding here.