This paper studies the characteristics of Korean securities-based crowdfunding markets and the behaviors of investors during the crowdfunding campaigns, thereby providing policy implications as to improve the current system. Securities-based crowdfunding is a new financing method for startups that are too small to be funded by angel or venture capital and financing from their friends and family are not enough to cover their financing needs. Besides, securities-based crowdfunding has other benefits. For example, professional investors such as angels and venture capitalists can use the crowdfunding outcome to predict the future of demand of the goods or assess the future returns of their investement projects.
First, we review the concept of securities-based crowdfunding and its relations to other venture investors, and then discuss some features of main participants of securities-based crowdfunding markets such as entrepreneurs (issuers), individual investors, and platforms. Majority of issuers that attempt to raise capital via crowdfunding are early ventures, but some of them tend to be more suited to crowdfunding than others. For example, very high-tech firms whose business models are based on complex technology are less likely to be a good fit since unexperienced individual investors without knowledge in that area may be hesitant to commit their money to that venture’s project. In terms of crowdfunders, we focus on their investment behavior during crowdfunding campaign. We observe herding behaviour of the investors in the early days of funding windows, implying that the early performance has significant effects on the final funding results. Regarding platforms we overview the crowdfunding process operated by these platforms and compare their business models.
Next, we investigate the role of signals about hidden quality of the project and campaign-related information on funding success and investors’ decisions to commit financing. Our results show that backing by professional investors, funding target, and campaign duration play a significant role for the funding outcome. However, we also find that hard information about the issuer’s ability such as performance in the past crowdfunding campaigns, certification as social company or venture firms have little or not impact on the funding outcome. Furthermore, we find that backing by professional investors have the opposite effects on funding success and the other small investors’ participation in crowdfunding; receiving more funding from professional investors contributes to funding success but it might decrease the chances that other small investors participate in that project. Finally, we discuss the policy implications of these results.