Crowdfunding your Business? What You Need to Know

What you should know about crowdfunding your business in Australia


In recent years, crowdfunding has emerged as a popular and accesivle avenue for entrepreneurs in Australia to secure funding to their ventures.

This funding method utilises online platforms to gather financial contributions from a large number of individuals who are interested in supporting specific projects or ventures.

To maximise the potential of crowdfunding, enterprenurs must understand the various crowdfunding models so they can select the most suited method for their specific needs.

Entrepreneurs should also understand and address the legal considerations associated with crowdfunding byseeking advice from a professional with expertise in crowdfunding regulations.

Seeking guidance from an experienced lawyer can ensure that your crowdfunding compaign adheres to legal standards and that any risks surrounding the campaign are minimised.

What is crowdfunding?

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a collective effort to raise funds by individuals or organisations through online platforms. It is essentially obtaining funding from the crowd.

It provides a way for entrepreneurs to access capital by engaging with a diverse and broad community of potential supporters.

The funds raised through crowdfunding can be utilised for a range of purposes, including product development, market expansion, creative projects, social enterprises, charitable causes, and more.

This method offers entrepreneurs an alternative to traditional funding sources such as bank loans, venture capital, or personal investments.

Types of crowdfunding models

Types of crowdfunding models

Different types of crowdfunding models have emerged to cater to various project requirements and stakeholder expectations.

Reward based Crowdfunding

Reward based crowdfunding operates on the principle of offering incentives or rewards to contributors in exchange for their financial support.

Reward based crowdfunding is particularly well suited for product based businesses seeking market validation or pre-orders.

In reward based events, entrepreneurs create tiered reward structures. These structures offer different perks or benefits based on the different levels of financial contribution.

These rewards can include early access to products, exclusive merchandise, personalised experiences, or acknowledgments of contribution.

Donation based Crowdfunding

Donation based crowdfunding revolves around individuals contributing funds without expecting any financial return.

This model is typically employed for charitable or social causes, community driven initiatives, medical expenses, disaster relief, or supporting individuals in need.

Contributors are motivated by their belief in the cause or the person behind the campaign, and their contributions are driven by empathy and a desire to make a positive impact.

Equity based Crowdfunding

Equity based crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to raise funds by offering equity or shares in their business to investors.

It provides an opportunity for individuals to invest in the early stages of the business and potentially earn a financial return on their investment.

In these cases, entrepreneurs outline the investment terms and potential benefits associated with owning equity in their venture.

Debt based Crowdfunding

Debt based crowdfunding, also known as peer-to-peer lending, involves individuals or businesses borrowing money from a pool of lenders.

The lenders expect repayment of the borrowed funds, along with interest, over a predetermined period.

This model offers an alternative lending option, allowing businesses with limited access to traditional financing to secure capital directly from individuals or organisations willing to lend funds.

Debt based crowdfunding platforms facilitate the connection between borrowers and lenders, streamlining the lending process.

Legal Considerations

When considering crowdfunding for a business venture, entrepreneurs must be mindful of the legal considerations associated with this method of fundraising.

Compliance with relevant regulations and legal frameworks is crucial to mitigate legal risks and ensure a transparent and trustworthy crowdfunding campaign.

Disclosure Requirements

Crowdfunding campaigns must provide clear and accurate information about the project, its objectives, risks, financial projections, and the proposed use of funds.

Entrepreneurs should ensure that they provide comprehensive and honest details to potential contributors, avoiding any misleading or deceptive statements.

Transparency is essential to maintainining the trust and confidence of the crowdfunding community.

Financial Reporting

Equity based crowdfunding campaigns may entail additional financial reporting obligations.

Entrepreneurs must prepare and lodge financial statements, comply with audit requirements, and meet specific disclosure obligations as outlined by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The extent of financial reporting obligations depends on the amount raised and the type of entity involved. Understanding and fulfilling these obligations is critical in order to comply with regulatory frameworks.

Licensing and Registrations

Entrepreneurs should also evaluate whether their crowdfunding campaign requires any licences or registrations to operate within the legal framework.

For instance, fundraising for charitable purposes typically requires registration with the appropriate authorities.

Terms and Conditions

Establishing clear and comprehensive terms and conditions is essential to govern the relationship between the entrepreneur and the contributors.

These terms should outline the rights and obligations of both parties, including any risks associated with the project, refund policies, privacy protections, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Well drafted terms and conditions help manage expectations, mitigate potential conflicts, minimise risks, and provide a framework for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Intellectual Property Protection

When launching a crowdfunding campaign, entrepreneurs should consider protecting their intellectual property (IP).

This may involve registering trademarks, patents, or copyright to safeguard their innovative ideas, designs, or brand assets.

Including appropriate IP protection statements within the campaign materials can help deter potential infringement and protect valuable assets.

Legal advice Sydney

Seek Legal Advice

Consulting with legal professionals will help you to understand the regulatory landscape, compliance requirements, and any specific legal implications related to the crowdfunding campaign.

An experienced legal professional can also assist entrepreneurs by helping them navigate the legal complexities with confidence, safeguard the interests of both contributors and the venture, and enhance the prospects of a successful crowdfunding campaign.

This information is of a general nature only. If you are considering crowdfunding as a fundraising method you should seek professional advice from experts with experience in crowdfunding regulations.

Get in touch

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice in relation to crowdfunding campaigns, please contact us.

1300 149 140 Contact us

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