Buzzbnk, Zopa, Funding Circle and Crowdcube are allowing thousands of individuals to directly fund projects, businesses and causes.
In 2011, crowdfunders raised $1.5 billion, mostly in the US, to finance over a million projects, ranging from start-ups to community projects, and from new video games to scientific research. The UK crowdfunding market is small, but growing fast. We expect that over the course of 2012 UK crowdfunders will deploy double the £70 million they invested in 2011.
But the real growth lies ahead. It is possible that within five years, crowdfunding could provide over £5 billion of finance per year in the UK. With the right frameworks and standards, this could grow even further, and a day could come where crowdfunding replaces a large proportion of the £115 billion financial services industry.
This report looks at how the UK's businesses, charities, government, and financial system can make the most of crowdfunding.