The national round table “Crowdfunding in Croatia and in the EU” took place on June 27th in Zagreb. Project partner Brodoto hosted key stakeholders in crowdfunding, such as representatives of national government (Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds), business support institutions (Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) and Development Agency Zagreb (RAZA)), crowdfunding platforms (Funderbeam SEE), financial institutions – banks and stock exchange market representatives (ERSTE bank and Zagreb Stock Exchange), and SMEs with experience in crowdfunding (STEMI).
Such a wide array of sectors and stakeholders made it possible to open a wider discussion on the following questions relevant to the EU policy on crowdfunding:
- Drivers and fears of society related to crowdfunding;
- Investors’ rights and obligations related to different types of crowdfunding;
- Presentation of different platforms;
- Topics related to Report of EC, Crowdfunding Regulation in Europe* additional (March 2018).
In addition, it tackled a 5th issue, which is very relevant for the national context, as it was pointed out during the key stakeholders meeting that took place earlier on the same day:
- introduction of equity-based crowdfunding to the Croatian market.
90-minute discussion yielded many arguments related to these topics, and the main conclusions of the round table are as follows:
- The main fear is related to underdeveloped “culture of investing” and much needed development of investment community. Crowdfunding must become a priority in the realm of national policies and laws, if we want to develop a sound transnational crowdfunding ecosystem, especially related to equity-based crowdfunding. We need a “top-down” approach, and the British example is set as an example of good practice.
- When it comes to investors’ rights and obligations, the discussion yielded a conclusion that transparency of platforms is of key importance, as well as their quality control procedures. On the other hand, the investors must not manipulate on secondary markets, all of them want to be a part of a good story, apart from the fact that the money is at stake.
- Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Funderbeam SEE platforms were presented and discussed, having in mind specificities of each of them. Attendees agreed that the biggest potential for SMEs lays in Funderbeam SEE, a newly established equity-based platform.
- The last topic in the frame of EU has tackled the recent legal ramifications for crowdfunding platforms operating transnationally. This question did not result in any clear conclusions since the present stakeholders did not feel they have sufficient knowledge on the topic.
- Last topic has concluded with a notion that equity-based crowdfunding made a huge progress in only one year of existence of Funderbeam SEE, making half of all the funds gathered in 2017 in Croatia. This marks a new and exciting trend in the national context, with the biggest risk of success stemming from absence of venture capital.
We would like to thank all the attendees for this fruitful discussion, which opens a public discussion and offers a clearer picture of crowdfunding in Croatia and its relation to the issues relevant for the EU.