Crowd funding across (continental) borders

Equity Crowd Funding

The talk by Ricardo about Seedrs at CampusEdu event today, and this tweet by Sidin yesterday got me thinking –

Why aren’t there equity crowdfunding platforms for raising capital here in the West, by startups in India (and other developing countries)?

The flurry of crowd funding activity here, both equity and product/support based, demonstrates there is capital available to invest.

India, SE Asia, and parts of East Africa are home to some great talent building, or wanting to build, great companies. There is already a nascent investing community in these regions, but I’m sure they could do with more investments. Specially the community driven ones that also bring along benefits of a wider exposure, and validation on a wider scale.

There’ll be some hurdles – regulatory and cultural, the most obvious ones. But there’s also the opportunity of tapping in to the widespread, and relatively well-off, diaspora spread across the West. The diaspora loves to invest in social, and socio-political ventures, back home. And given the amount of diaspora money in Indian stock and real estate markets, they do love the investment returns too.

Wonder if there’s an opportunity here, and if anyone outside my conscious knowledge working on it.

Anyone got views? Share here, or tweet to me.

Post Script.

My bschool education informs me of one caveat here: Investing money raised in the West in emerging markets adds a hefty country, execution and exchange rate risk, thus demanding additional returns. Add to that the inherent riskiness of investing in startups, however diversified through a crowdfunding platform, and it might make the required returns just a bit too high.

On the other hand, there’s two counter points:

  1. The emotional return from investing in your ‘home’ country balances off some of the country and exchange rate risks.
  2. Startups that are mostly ‘online’, and gather a significant portion of their revenues / users from the West, do quite mitigate the country risk.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.