In the modern digital age, new methods of raising capital for entrepreneurs are being explored and developed at a rapid rate. This is in part due to new legislation aimed at democratizing the funding process for startup-sized businesses, and also due to the growing mistrust in the big banks following the recent financial crisis of 2008. Today, many entrepreneurs are turning to the Internet and crowdsourcing in order to raise the funds they need to get their business ideas off the ground. This trend is more commonly known as crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is not as narrow of an industry as some may think. It goes much deeper than just the commonly known platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. There are four different crowdfunding methods that exist today, as well as hundreds of websites known as crowdfunding platforms created in order to facilitate these methods as a third party intermediary. My thesis aims to research, break down, study, and compare the various methods of crowdfunding. In addition, I explore the modern uses of the more traditional methods of raising capital for entrepreneurs such as angel investors, venture capital, bank/Small Business Association loans, and bootstrapping. This research includes both primary and secondary research. For my primary research, I interviewed three subject matter experts on the capital markets, and conducted two case studies regarding crowdfunding campaigns. In my secondary research, I used credible published studies, blogs and articles with expert testimonials, and other trustworthy resources such as encyclopedias and professional reports. In the end, I compare and contrast the various methods of raising capital explored throughout the paper, and provide my recommendations regarding each method for entrepreneurs interested in raising funds for their next venture. We live in an exciting time, and there are a lot of interesting new developments emerging as the capital markets continue to integrate with the modern digital age. I hope this thesis will help entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone else who may have interest in the modern capital markets or fundraising develop a better understanding of new trends in raising capital today.
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