Pitching in a few dollars in contribution to some really important initiative – beer for the frat party, paying for a friend’s surgery – isn’t a new idea. Pooling together money from a group has had many iterations over time. It’s such a normalized part of life, that, similar to fashion, home decor and automobile industries, crowdfunding ebbs and flows with trends all while making a significant cultural and social impact.
You’ve come a long way, baby
Remember when Kiva burst onto the global scene in the fall of 2005, with revolutionary microfinancing for rural entrepreneurs? Crowdfunding has come a long way since the JOBS Act was passed in 2012 and opened the ecosystem to a wider range of entrepreneurs and investors to get involved. Kiva was the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs and has been anointed by Oprah, Bill Clinton and the media. Kiva opened its doors nearly 15 years ago, but has recently pivoted from its original mission and seeks to be more than a lending platform. They are determined for the ‘unbanked’ to join the global financial system, through the “Kiva Protocol”, which helps people secure a digital identity. For many people, Kiva was their introduction to the concept of crowdfunding. Since the JOBS Act was passed, the options to invest in, have exploded in numbers.
For many Americans, owning real estate was a dream that seemed impossible. However, with the updated crowdfunding regulations of the JOBS Act, real estate has become a new reality for people who have been previously shut out of the market. This influx of real estate investing with sites like Crowdstreet, has opened doors in up and coming cities for young professionals and people comfortable with long-term and passive investments (aka. something to hang onto for years to come). In addition to owning equity, it’s a way to earn from investments without having to buy the entire property.
You should be, because ‘crowdfunding’ no longer means that you simply contribute money to an initiative that feels good, but yields no personal financial gain. Thanks to the JOBS Act (Titles III and IV), investment opportunities are now plentiful and available to everyone – not just the rich and powerful anymore. So what was once purely a social trend, is now the beginning of the path to economic empowerment, financial freedom and establishing generational wealth. From Kiva, to Crowdstreet and beyond!