Strategies of Startup Evaluation on Crowdinvesting Platforms: the Case of Switzerland

Par Victoriya Salomon

English

Financing for innovative, young ventures has seen major developments in recent years. The slowdown of the venture capital industry has been accompanied by rapidly-growing crowdinvesting platforms, which bring together startup creators and private, often unsophisticated, investors. While these new forms of financial intermediation facilitate, and can even democratize, startup financing, they raise important questions about value assessment and the decision to invest. Through two case studies of crowdinvesting platforms in Switzerland, this paper investigates evaluation strategies which take advantage of sociotechnical devices implemented on these platforms. The findings suggest that the evaluation process of investment proposals is highly dependent on ‘social proof’ dynamics that operate within the platform’s community and the startup ecosystem. The ‘calculative space’ reflects an interplay between substantive (owned) and significant (shared) knowledge, based on both established rules and mechanisms that are driven by the opinion, status or reputation of startup creators and community investors.
JEL Codes: G11, G2, G32, L26, L86, Z13

Keywords

  • crowdinvesting
  • equity crowdfunding
  • evaluation
  • social proof
  • calculative space
  • startup
  • platform
  • significant knowledge
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