Crowdfunding has more implications than its being given credit for. Most pigeonhole crowdfunding into small startups for early stage funding.
Crowdfunding will change startups, incubators and the process of angel investing. Crowdfunding will also bring profound change to every functional department in a small to medium sized business and to Fortune 1000 firms.
"The law changes the landscape," said Shmerling, InCrowd's chief executive.
The law creates a class below "qualified investors" capable of investing for "stock" in a startup.
Enterprise crowdfunding may create new ways to invest in beloved brands whose stock isn't available. I worked for M&M/Mars, a family owned company.
What if M&M's did a crowdfunding round to create a new candy. M&M's doesn't need the investment, but they do need the community, social shares and advocacy investors bring. In other words, M&M's would be advised to look at "enterprise crowdfunding" as a marketing channel.
Family, such as Jeff Bezos family who famously invested in Amazon, won't be the only source of early stage funding.
While family may continue to be the most important source, we may see the rise of "crowdfunding labs" or professional product development labs cranking products through early stage development faster and faster, better and better (since that is what the web does the best i.e. create efficiency of reach and scale).
P&G discovered more than a million researchers "at least as good as us" when they realized they had to outsource much of their fabled R&D. Crowdfunding means more products are coming to marketing faster from all over, so a marketer's view can't be USA only or their business vertical only. Having a worldview and working knowledge of related categories is the new crowdsourced marketing.
Investors can be evaluated in a variety of ways. Some large following "social marketers" may earn stock by climbing on a soap box.
Family and friends can write checks knowing their potential loss is hedged against other similar investors. Many investors risking a little means no investor will take over the product development process until proof of concept is earned (and then a hijack is much harder).
A community of potential advocates and buyers begins to form almost immediately and before any product is fully presented. The value of this early stage feedback will be a CSF (Critical Success Factor).
Process is product, share more faster so Quirky-like.
Everything is more valuable when shared. Any meeting, brainstorm or drawing can become a source of feedback and investment in a crowdfunding world so process is truly product. He who shares the best the fastest wins.
Crowdfunding becomes a very advanced loyalty program with highly vested partners willing to help build "proof of concept" products faster and with a larger community of acceptance waiting and willing to provide feedback and another round of investment (if needed).
Crowdfunding also changes customer service since anyone can be an investor so everyone should be treated as if they ARE an investor or will become one.