Return on Change Top 13

2013 was a really exciting year for crowdfunding and generally for the field of finance.  Here’s a countdown of our personal 13 favorite moments for 2013.


13. Regulations Took the Forefront

There were a lot of people that thought the passing of the JOBS Act on April 5th of 2012, heralded in a golden era of new crowdinvesting without fully appreciating the ramifications of the SEC having to create new regulations around the legislation.  Regulations were in the forefront of everyone’s minds and the responsible players definitely took the letter of the law pretty seriously, RoC included!

12. Media Whirlwind Around Crowdfunding

Whether or not it was related to crowdinvesting, there was a media frenzy around the crowdfunding industry as a whole with special focus on the various successes and failures. It really brought crowdfunding to the forefront and brought it to the attention of the public.  It’s now more or less a phrase that’s been heard by more people than less.

11. Crowdfunding is Global

Crowdfunding really became a global discussion as many other countries including the UK, Italy and South Korea also began to make huge strides in crowdfunding, some even faster than the United States. It wasn’t just an attempt at creating economic revitalization within the United States, but a global phenomenon to support innovation at the most grassroots level.

10. P2P Lending Got Hot

With an investment by Google in Lending Club at a valuation of $1.55 billion, it was clear that P2P lending became super hot.  As a clear and efficient alternative to the struggling banking system many borrowers turned to this methodology while investors were very interested in earning a healthy return while supporting others.

9. Crowdfunding is Super Crowded

There were many entrants of crowdfunding players as well as campaigns unto the scene which inevitably caused heartache amongst regulators, as well as those that were hoping to leverage crowdfunding as a viable source for capital raising. It’s going to be important that the players that stay in the game are serious about their efforts to help new entrepreneurs as well as investors.

8. The Term “Crowdfunding” has Siblings

It’s beginning to happen slowly, but there will have to be a natural transition to differentiate amongst the different ‘types’ of crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding became a popular term, but should evolve into “crowdinvesting” to truly reflect the nature of the capital raising source.  Also, there will be a separate method of crowdinvesting which is currently active and only involves accredited investors. In addition, while P2P lending has been around for a longer time, it gets mistakenly lumped into the term crowdfunding.  We need to start differentiating.

7. More and More Third Party Service Providers are Born

There was much initial concern about the multitude of reporting and record keeping that startups as well as crowdinvesting portals would have to do in order to be compliant with the proposed regulations.  We’ve seen a huge influx of great third party service providers like our partner CrowdCheck that’s assisting with early stage due diligence.

6. CF50 is Born

We’re proud to say that we were a part of creating the first and only global thinktank of crowdfunding (CF50) which leveraged knowledge from business leaders, policy makers and crowdfunding professionals from all around the world. 2014 will mark their first international conference.

5. Specialization in Crowdfunding

Less applicable to the donations realm, the crowdinvesting space saw a lot of specialization along verticals as this helped startups get recognized by investors that were actually interested in the types of startups.  Critical problem solving industries, real estate and consumer goods are just a few we saw arise in 2013.

4. General Solicitation Ban is Lifted

There was a long standing ban against general solicitation of private placements, which generally implies that any private offerings of securities could not be advertised in a public manner.  This ban was lifted on September 23 of 2013 and while there are final rules that we have yet to see, this is a very powerful method of fundraising that can increase efficiency and the networks that entrepreneurs could tap into.

3. Crowdinvesting Proposed Rules Released

After so many months of waiting, the proposed rules for crowdinvesting were at last released for public comment. We’re still in that public comment period and we hope that many entrepreneurs and investors will provide their feedback so we can create a safe yet efficient crowdinvesting marketplace.

2. Return on Change Official Beta

Return on Change officially offered its beta product to the public in June of 2013.  After much awaited anxiousness with regulations, there was more clarity that came into the picture and we at RoC were ecstatic to start assisting startups raise capital as well as provide investors a streamlined singular database for great investment opportunities.

1. RoC has $40 Million in Investment Opportunities / $1.2 Million in Total Investor Commitments

RoC has had such an incredible year thanks to our amazing startups and investors.  We’re super excited to build an amazing community to create great businesses and innovation through not only capital formation, but also the sharing of ideas.


Is your best moment for crowdfunding not listed here? Feel free to comment and we’d love to hear from you!

By Sang Lee


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Sang H. Lee
Sang is the founder and CEO of Return on Change. He's constantly searching to help startups that are looking to change the world! He's a leader in equity crowdfunding and is always happy to help entrepreneurs and startups. He previously worked as an investment banker in the energy field at WestLB and BNP Paribas, accruing a wealth of expertise in financial regulation, business, and financial structuring. Sang is also the Executive Director of CF50, a global think tank of thought leaders within the crowdfunding industry. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.
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