With a wave of alternative finance aggregators arriving on the scene, competition between the various facilities is heating up.
The UK has recently seen the arrival of Alternative Business Funding – a portal designed to link up SMEs with the major alternative finance providers. Stateside, a growing number of vehicles are emerging to help investors track down the projects that interest them – across a broad spectrum of platforms. One such vehicle is CrowdFundFusion. AltFinanceNews caught up with Founder Jon Mushey for an insight into the service, and to dig deeper into the increasing importance of aggregators.
AFN: What sets CrowdFundFusion apart from other crowdfunding aggregators?
JM: Everthing, first off every flavor of crowdfunding aggregator before and since ours has flopped, I won't mention any names but if you go to any of them you will basically see either a rehash of what is on the big Crowdfunding sites or a mish mash of badly designed pages.
What really makes CrowdFundFusion special is that we group and organize projects into our own distinct categories, sub-categories and types that make browsing projects intuitive and simple. We also let visitors search via a combination of the two.
A visitor can search by either main/sub category or 'Type' or a combination of the two. For example, a visitor can browse by Innovative/Tech (Main Category/Sub Category) --> Ending (the Type).
Visitors can also suggest the next site to add to CrowdFundFusion or vote on submissions made by others. We want to show the projects from sites that people want.
Project creators can also get their project featured on our home page and access resources to help them plan and run their projects.
AFN: The site currently has a US/rewards-based focus - do you see that focus broadening in the future? I.e. to include international platforms, to include equity or debt-based platforms, etc.
JM: Currently all of our sites included on CrowdFundFusion (kickstarter, indiegogo, rockethub, fundly and fundrazr) allow you to create projects from countries around the world, not just the US.
Fundrazr.com (which was recently added) is based in Canada and several of the CF sites entered as the next candidates to be added to CrowdFundFusion are based outside of the US, which you can see here: http://www.crowdfundfusion.com/submit#vote
Expanding our focus to include debt or equity based platforms is something that has been discussed, I can't give any more details at this time but we know what is coming down the road once the SEC finally gives details for equity based crowdfunding.
AFN: Can you give me some idea of the success you've experienced thus far?
JM: We've experienced exponential growth since we launched late last year, with no signs that things are slowing, in fact things are starting to accelerate even more.
AFN: How important a role will crowdfunding aggregators have to play in the evolution of the crowdfunding sector?
JM: As more sites are launched, aggregators will play a more important role than ever before. Similar in nature to travel and hotel site aggregators, they will become the standard since it will be nearly impossible for the average surfer to keep up with the deluge of new projects and sites being started.
AltFi is returning to Amsterdam for its second annual Summit in the city. The inaugural event last year was a roaring success, with key figures from across Continental Europe's alternative finance and digital banking sectors highlighted. These included Jeroen Broekema, managing director of Funding Circle Netherlands, and Mieke van Engelen, head of innovative partnerships at ABN AMRO's standalone lending platform, New10.