By Christopher Charlesworth, Murray Metcalfe, Tonya Surman, Verki Tunteng & Dilip Soman

From: India Innovation Institute

Transcribed and edited by Cindy Quan
Based on a panel discussion featuring Christopher Charlesworth, Murray Metcalfe, Tonya Surman, Verki Tunteng & Dilip Soman.

Abstract: Researchers at the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto are developing a research agenda that identifies and studies elements that constitute an effective innovation system. An important factor that supports and nurtures innovations is the existence of adequate financing. Crowdfunding is a new approach to obtain necessary funding for start-ups. The term crowdfunding refers to the aggregation of small amounts of capital from a large number of people – usually over the internet – that is directed to specific projects or companies. This approach has resulted in start-up financing of more than $1.5 billion globally in 2011.

Four speakers drawn from academia and the business community have brought multiple perspectives on the topic. The four speakers were; Christopher Charlesworth; the cofounder of, an online crowdfunding portal; Murray Metcalfe, Professor of Globalization in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto; Tonya Surman, a social entrepreneur and founding executive director and CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation; and Verki Tunteng, an associate in Heenan Blaikie’s Business Law group. The panel covered various aspects of crowdfunding, starting from its conceptual definition, critical success factors, conditions and types of businesses where this type of financing is particularly useful, when to choose crowdfunding vis-àvis other means of financing, and regulatory and investor protection issues. This report contains the edited transcript of the panel discussion.

Crowdfunding: Perspectives and Prospects