Transcending traditional funding borders - a systematic multidisciplinary review of crowdfunding for entrepreneurs

E.M. Gallagher, A.J. Kincaid, Elaine Ramsey, S LOANE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Crowdfunding, the practice of funding an idea, project or business venture through appealing for financial contributions directly from a large pool of individual backers via an online crowdfunding platform, is a growing phenomenon globally. Recent estimates by the European Commission (2016) indicate that over €4.2 billion was raised through online crowdfunding platforms in 2015 in Europe alone, a significant increase from the estimated €1 billion raised during 2014. While the total monetary amount sourced by entrepreneurs through crowdfunding is still relatively small in comparison to that obtained through more traditional funding instruments (e.g. lending, venture capital etc.), its use by entrepreneurs as a means to obtain seed/start-up money is increasing rapidly (European Commission, 2016). In general the potential of crowdfunding as a complementary or alternative funding source for SMEs is attracting much attention from academics, industry and policy makers alike. Indeed, given the unique offline and online capabilities required, and the associated platforms and models that are gaining momentum amongst entrepreneurs, crowdfunding, by its very nature, requires new and diverse insights to explain capital resource acquisition and business allocation (Frydrych et al., 2014). Crowdfunding is a relatively new phenomenon and as an emerging field it has relevance across a range of academic research fields. This has led to the development of multiple strands of the scholarly literature. However our current understanding of it remains somewhat limited and fragmented across a wide variety of disciplines. There have been some recent attempts to condense existing works on crowdfunding (for example see Short et al., 2017; Gleasure and Feller, 2016b; Moritz and Block, 2015; Bouncken et al., 2015), but these articles are mostly framed from singular disciplinary perspectives. This means that a more holistic and comprehensive view of crowdfunding is lacking at present, despite recognition of the potential value to be derived from adopting a cross-disciplinary perspective on the phenomenon (McKenny et al., 2017; Short et al., 2010). This paper aims to fill this gap through an extensive review of the academic research on crowdfunding, encompassing all types of crowdfunding (i.e. both the financial and non-financial return) models increasingly employed by entrepreneurs.The paper undertakes a systematic review and thorough analysis and mapping of the current state of the crowdfunding research landscape. The paper will identify relevant scholarly contributions from leading journals over the period 2010-2017, within the key disciplines of entrepreneurship, management, finance, economics, information management, innovation, international business, marketing, operations and strategy. Our approach utilises a systematic online database search drawing primarily from the EBSCO database (Econ Lit, Business Source Premier, Academic Search Premier, Science Direct, Emerald Management Xtra, Web of Science). The selection and inclusion of articles is based on key words (crowd financing, crowd funding and crowdfunding) appearing in the titles and/or abstracts. Tranfield et al.’s (2003) systematic literature review approach guides the analysis and classification of articles based on their validity, content and contribution to our understanding of the crowdfunding phenomenon. The paper represents the most comprehensive review of the literature on crowdfunding undertaken to date. The findings summarise the key themes/contributions made on the topic area from a diverse range of disciplines and overall, the paper identifies a promising and impactful multi-disciplinary research agenda to advance the field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Number of pages27
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jul 2017
EventISBE Conference: Borders, Prosperity and Entrepreneurial Responses. - Belfast
Duration: 27 Jul 2017 → …


ConferenceISBE Conference: Borders, Prosperity and Entrepreneurial Responses.
Period27/07/17 → …


  • crowdfunding
  • systematic review
  • entrepreneurial financing


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