Purpose – This study’s aim is to investigate the role of investor communication in equity-based crowdfunding. The study explores whether and how investor communication can reduce information asymmetries between investors and new ventures in equity-based crowdfunding, thereby facilitating the crowd’s investment decisions. Design/methodology/approach – This paper follows an exploratory qualitative research approach based on semi-structured interviews with 23 market participants in equity-based crowdfunding: 12 investors, 6 new ventures and 5 third parties (mostly platform operators). After analyzing, coding and categorizing the data, this paper developed a theoretical framework and presented it in a set of six propositions. Findings – The results indicate that the venture’s overall impression – especially perceived sympathy, openness and trustworthiness – is important to reduce perceived information asymmetries of investors in equity-based crowdfunding. To communicate these soft facts, personal communication seems to be replaced by pseudo-personal communication over the Internet (e.g. videos, investor relations channels and social media). In addition, the communications of third parties (e.g. other crowd investors, professional and experienced investors and other external stakeholders) influence the decision-making process of investors in equity-based crowdfunding. Third-party endorsements reduce the perceived information asymmetries and lower the importance of pseudo-personal communications by the venture. Originality/value – Prior research shows that investor communication reduces information asymmetries between companies and investors. Currently, little is known about the role of investor communication in equity-based crowdfunding. This study focuses on the role of investor communication to reduce the perceived information asymmetries of investors in equity-based crowdfunding.
Qualitative Research in Financial Markets – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 3, 2015