A Dutch start-up has released a new iPhone app that provides an overview of more than 7000 crowdfunding projects worldwide, as new figures are released showing a sustained boom in the use of alternative sources of finance by small businesses.
The CrowdWatcher app offers breaking news on crowdfunding and an overview of new projects, giving users up-to-the-minute status on individual projects via push notifications.
Frans Wieringa, founder and CEO of CrowdWatcher says the demand for funding 'in the crowd' is far from transparent, both for entrepreneurs looking for capital and for financiers looking for new investments. As a result, it can be difficult for investors and entrepreneurs to find each other.
"By bringing together various initiatives in our unique CrowdWatcher app, we provide the perfect meeting place for supply and demand, and by doing so accelerate the realisation of crowdfunding projects globally," he says.
A new report by innovation chairty Nesta in association with the University of Cambridge and the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that some £939 million was raised by P2P lending and crowdfunding sites in the UK alone last year, a 91% rise over the previous year.
It says the UK alternative finance market provided £463m worth of early-stage, growth and working capital to over 5000 start-ups and SMEs from 2011-13, of which £332m was accumulated in 2013 alone, as banks shied away from lending to small businesses.
"We can cautiously predicate that the UK alternative finance market will grow to £1.6 billion next year and provide £840m worth of business finance for start-ups and SMEs in 2014," states the report.