Using a data set on individual investments in an online crowdfunding platform for mobile applications, this study examines whether an early investor's experience within the platform serves as credible signals of quality for the other investors in the crowd and if so under what conditions. We find that early investors with experience particularly, investors with app development experience and investors with app investment experience have a disproportionate influence on later investors in the crowd. Investors with app development experience who are likely to have a better knowledge of the product are found to be more influential for "concept apps" (apps in the pre-release stage), while investors with app investment experience with a better knowledge of market performance are found to be more influential for "live apps" (apps that are already being sold in the market). Our findings show that the majority of investors in this market the crowd although inexperienced in this market, are rather sophisticated in their ability to identify and exploit nuanced differences in the underlying expertise of the early investors signals that align well with their informational needs at different stages of a venture. In examining the ex-post performance of apps, we find that apps with investments from investors with experience are positively associated with ex-post app sales. More importantly, we find that these investors with experience indeed have the ability to select better apps, making their investment choices credible signals of quality for the crowd. Contrary to popular perceptions of crowdfunding platforms as substitutes for traditional expert-dominated mechanisms, our findings indicate that the participation by individuals with experience can be beneficial to these markets.
Access to finance is arguably one of the most critical challenges in starting a new business. In this study, we examine how the difficulty of obtaining bank loans based on housing collateral, which is a form of traditional finance, relates to crowdfunding use by entrepreneurs. We obtained data on housing prices related closely to the cost of accessing such bank loans and matched these data to a 2009-2013 novel data set from a leading crowdfunding market. We adopted the first-difference estimator to address unobserved area-specific effects and used housing supply elasticity as an instrument for housing price changes. We found an increased decline in housing prices leads to a significant increase in the creation of crowdfunding projects. However, we did not find significant differential effects in housing price changes between successful and unsuccessful projects. Finally, the effect of housing prices on crowdfunding projects was more significant for areas with low socioeconomic status. Interestingly, the increase in crowdfunding projects in these low status areas was driven wholly by a significant increase in unsuccessful projects, whereas the effect of housing prices on successful projects was significant only in areas of high socioeconomic status. Numerous additional tests support the robustness of our main findings. Overall, our study suggests that crowdfunding can supplement traditional sources of funding, though socioeconomic status may still prevent disadvantaged people from receiving its full benefits.
Information Systems Research,
We study the effect of product market competition on the propensity to use corporate venture capital (CVC) as a part of an information technology (IT) firms innovation strategy. Using novel measures of product market competition based on product descriptions from firm 10-K statements and accounting for potential endogeneity, we investigate how product market competition between 1997 and 2007 relates to the magnitude of CVC spending. We first find that firms in competitive markets make higher research and development (R&D) and CVC investments. In addition, we find that increasing product market competition leads to a shift away from internal R&D spending and into CVC. These movements are significantly stronger for technology leaders, i.e., firms with deep patent stocks, in the IT industry. We also find that CVC appears to be an effective way of exploiting external knowledge for technology leaders in the IT-producing industry, but not for technology slow starters. CVC investments lead to significantly more patent applications for technology leaders but no appreciable difference for slow starters. Our results provide new insights for theories of innovation in competitive, dynamic markets, potentially as part of a portfolio that includes internal R&D as well as open innovation models.
Information Systems Research,