Soft and hard information in equity crowdfunding: network effects in the digitalization of entrepreneurial finance
Small Business Economics
As a digital financial innovation, equity crowdfunding (ECF) allows investors to exploit the complementarity of information provision and network effects in a reduced transaction cost environment. We build on the underlying distinction between soft and hard information and show that ECF platforms create an environment of greater information pooling that benefits from network externalities. We test our hypotheses using a unique proprietary dataset and find that soft information has a greater impact than hard on the likelihood that a financing pitch will be successful. Moreover, the effects of soft information are amplified by the size of the investor network on the platform and network size also positively moderates the effect of information on the amount invested during each pitch. We conclude that ECF platforms can successfully exploit low transaction costs of the digital environment and bring network externalities to bear on investor decisions. Taken together that these increase the supply of funds to entrepreneurs.
Strategic Management Society
Entrepreneurial finance, Equity crowdfunding, Network externalities, Platforms, Soft information
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Saul Estrin, Susanna Khavul, and Mike Wright. "Soft and hard information in equity crowdfunding: network effects in the digitalization of entrepreneurial finance" Small Business Economics (2022): 1761-1781. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-021-00473-w