The Program for Innovation in Social and Entrepreneurial Finance studies changes in funding models for entrepreneur led early stage companies. Major changes are occurring across the globe in the mechanisms, models and funding available for entrepreneurs. One of the most significant changes is the emergence of crowdfund investments as an alternative to seed round funding, or as a complement to other forms of institutional investment.
The mission of the program is to:
• Collect and disseminate information on crowdfunding, crowdfund investing and other social finance methods and make that information available to other academics and policy makers. The program has data sharing agreements in place giving it access to a wealth of crowdfunding data and is in the process of creating a data repository to be shared with other researchers.
• To stimulate original empirical research across several disciplines - including entrepreneurship, innovation, entrepreneurial finance, management, engineering, law and public policy.
• To convene academic symposiums and facilitate research through hosting conferences for researchers. Our first major symposium will be held on October 17-18, 2013 at UC Berkeley.
• To explore emerging entrepreneurial markets and understand how social finance can spur innovation.
• Create curriculum and disseminate teaching materials on crowdfunding and social finance.
The program is led by Dr. Lee Fleming, Director of the Fung Institute and an expert in innovation and big data research methods. The research program is led by Dr. Richard Swart, one of the world's top authorities on crowdfunding.
The program was cofounded by Jason Best, who along with Sherwood Neiss and Zak Cassady-Dorion created the framework and lobbied the US Congress to pass the JOBS Act, the legislation that legalized crowdfund investing in the United States. Jason Best and Sherwood Neiss are entrepreneurs-in-residence in the Fung Institute, working with startups and helping the Cal community understand how to leverage crowdfunding.