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Biography & Abstract
Camilla Civardi

Camilla is a research fellow at Lund University, Sweden. She works on entrepreneurial and early stage financing. Her PhD dealt with equity crowdfunding, shifting the emphasis from entrepreneurs that seek capital to the people that make up the crowd and their needs.

Crowdfunding graveyard: The investors’ struggle between normalization and condemnation

This paper challenges the dominant focus on entrepreneurs in equity crowdfunding research by analysing investors’ reactions to start-up failures on a UK online forum. The analysis reveals six key issues faced by investors: doubts about start-up actions and the viability of equity crowdfunding, lack of communication, scams, lack of investor power, and inadequate due diligence by platforms. Investors’ sentiments oscillate between normalizing failures as an accepted part of start-up investing and condemning unethical behaviours. The contradictory discourses highlight the crowd’s struggle to make sense of the inherent uncertainty and risks in equity crowdfunding, highlighting the fragility of trust in platforms and entrepreneurs. By giving voice to the often-overlooked crowd, the paper exposes the dark side of equity crowdfunding and calls for a rethinking of crowdfunding that goes beyond celebrating campaigns and entrepreneurial success stories. The findings emphasize the need for greater investor protection, platform accountability, and a more balanced understanding of the challenges faced by all stakeholders in the equity crowdfunding ecosystem.

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