(Pictured above: Jason Best, principal of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) and currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology in the Fung Institute, and Sherwood Neiss, principal at CCA, are co-founders of the new Berkeley program and will serve on the leadership team. )
Crowdfunding – the social web strategies that entrepreneurial individuals and companies use to attract large pools of small investors – is driving innovation in areas ranging from high-tech to entertainment. A new Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance, to be led by the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley, will help to explain this new phenomenon and identify best practices in micro-, mobile- and early-stage entrepreneurial finance with the mission of establishing the world’s leading academic and applied research, teaching and policy regarding innovations in how entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses are funded.
“We can bring our strengths in research and our deep interest in technology innovation to the questions raised by crowdfunding and related breakthroughs in entrepreneurial finance,” said Sastry, dean of engineering at Berkeley. “The launch of this new program marks a major step in Berkeley’s continuing efforts to strengthen the entire innovation ecosystem.”
The program will initially focus on the most recent innovation in early stage finance, crowdfund investing.
“Crowdfund investing could be a game-changer – if it is done right. Our research goal here at the Fung Institute will be to provide rigorous and impartial critique of the phenomenon – to describe what’s happening and assess the impact of the innovation, on all stakeholders,” said Professor Lee Fleming, faculty director of the Fung Institute and academic director of this new program. “Our teaching goal will be to help students, both here at Berkeley and throughout the world, to understand the impact of crowdfunding on entrepreneurship and investment. Our policy goal will be to identify problems as they arise, offer analysis and lead the discussion about how to fix those problems.”
“As both an entrepreneur and investor, I understand the symbiosis required between the two in order to nurture thriving entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystems. UC Berkeley has a tradition of being an advocate for innovation and a reputation for rigorous academic research. For those reasons I’m excited to have been appointed as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and Sherwood and I are both honored to be co-founders of the program,” said Jason Best of Crowdfund Capital Advisors.
“Berkeley’s new Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance offers the potential to scale this interest in crowdfunding beyond the technology sector,” said Fleming. “We will be taking up unanswered questions about IP protection, investor risk, privacy, regulation and more. Our aim is nothing less than to be a global center for the study of early-stage entrepreneurial finance and its impact on innovation.”