Crowdfunding changes game for SMBs

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Finally, "easy access" is already part of the equation, but only for the non-equity sites like Kickstarter. New sites like InitialCrowdOffering.com have already started to appear, providing a framework for equity-based crowdfunding, but by law, these can't become active until the SEC pulls the trigger. There are quite a number of these platforms popping up, but I'd look for a shakeout early on. Early dropouts will be the platform operators that focus mainly on the platform itself, but not on the ancillary services related to crowdfunding. Although the JOBS Act allows for the creation of platforms through which companies can launch equity-based crowdfunding initiatives (or "Initial Crowd Offerings"), there's a lot more to having a successful launch than simply listing on a platform, and the platform operators that take that extra step to provide a full range of support will be the ones with sticking power.

Crowdfunding may not strictly be "mainstream" yet, but it's well beyond the point of no return. Look for more of those multi-million dollar success stories in the near future. Eventually, venture capitalists, opportunists that they are, will want to get in on the act as well, and at least a few will either set up funds to pour money into selected equity-based crowdfunding ventures, or may even launch crowdfunding portals of their own. And while we should welcome VCs to the party, the good thing here is that the democratic nature of crowdfunding means that they won't be the only ones with an invitation. And that, precisely, is what is going to change the world.

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