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Crowdfunding as a Font of Entrepreneurship: Outcomes of Reward-Based Crowdfunding

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The Economics of Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding has attracted considerable interest as a new way of financing a variety of ventures, from creative works to for-profit companies. For example, as of 2017, Kickstarter, the largest reward-based crowdfunding site, has facilitated the raising of over USD 2.9 billion from over 12 million people, funding over 100,000 projects. In this chapter, I will use data from two large-scale surveys of Kickstarter funders to shed light on the impacts of reward-based funding. I will first examine whether crowdfunded projects actually provide their promised rewards. Then I will delve into the wider impact of reward crowdfunding projects.

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  1. 1.

    Kickstarter collaborated on data gathering, but these results are independent and solely my own work. I was not paid by Kickstarter, and all analyses were conducted independently of Kickstarter. Kickstarter was offered the chance to comment on, but not change, this chapter before it was made public. For the survey of project creators, the survey was conducted by me alone, and responses were not shared with Kickstarter. For the backer data, Kickstarter conducted the survey using questions jointly developed with me, but shared all relevant non-private data. All errors and omissions are mine. I would also like to acknowledge the help of Derya and Matt Lane, who assisted me with the research. Funding for the project was provided in part by the Kauffman Foundation.

  2. 2.

    Based on this survey, it appears that backers receive (or expect to receive) their rewards on time in the majority of cases. Backers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “the reward was delivered on time” for 65% of projects (i.e. the average answers from backers for a project ranged from 4 to 5 on a 5-point scale); they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement for 17% of projects (1–2 on the scale); and for the remainder neither agreed nor disagreed that delivery was on time (2.01–3.99 on the scale). This only includes cases where backers were expecting a reward of some kind.

  3. 3.

    See Mollick (2014), The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: An Exploratory Study, Journal of Business Venturing, 29 (1).


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Mollick, E. (2018). Crowdfunding as a Font of Entrepreneurship: Outcomes of Reward-Based Crowdfunding. In: Cumming, D., Hornuf, L. (eds) The Economics of Crowdfunding. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-66118-6

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