Untapping the potential of Crowdfunding: report on EC workshop

cf-eu_WORKSHOP copia

On June 3rd werealize.it attended the EC conference on Crowdfunding: “Untapping its potential, reducing the risks”. This post reports on the main conclusion of the workshop.

The workshop was held in Brussels, (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/conferences/2013/0603-crowdfunding-workshop /index_en.htm ): quality of speakers was really high, both in terms of experience and contribution brought to the CF theme.

The European Union area is considered as a “natural” landscape for crowdfunding platform and for projects aiming at exploiting CF as finance opportunity. Mr Michel BARNIER, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, stated that CF is suitable for start-up, web entrepreneurs that can validate prototypes, also creating a first base of loyal customers, however an EU (standard) legislation should be addressed. Actually, as stated by Mr Laurent DEGABRIEL, Head of Investment and Reporting Division, ESMA, CF cross different regulatory frameworks in different countries. Moreover, payments are not standardized in EU: even the most used gateways define different condition for every Member State.

Regulatory efforts are made (in parallel) by four Member States in Europe and only for equity CF: France, Italy, The Netherlands and UK (state of the art were presented during panel IV). However, it seems that every Member State is implementing a “stand alone” legal framework. However, tax and general legal framework for other CF model (i.e., Access to transparent and viable information on projects, Protection of IPR) are left to local (already existing) regulation.

Our feeling, is that CF is moving really fast as per CF platform and business model development, while “infrastructure” (i.e. tax regulation, payment procedures, standardization) is moving slower: “platforms are quicker than regulation”.

Of course we hope that, CF platform (often small companies), won’t have to face in the future regulation which may imply strong review of business models or contractual framework already existing (and running): this will imply a general reduction of development speed of European CF platform, with strong advantage for actors mainly working outside EC area.