Evaluation of Motivation in Crowdfunding: A Study of the Reasons for Accredited Investors to use Equity-based Platforms in Order to Fund Start-ups

Michele Bianchini

Student thesis: Master thesis


Crowdfunding has demonstrated to be an efficient way to attract capitals for any kind of project. In addition, thanks to the advent of equity-based platforms, the funding gap issue faced by start-ups and SMEs can be easily solved. Nevertheless, accredited investors – Banks, Venture Capitalists, and Business Angels – have not already shown any particular interest toward crowdfunding, as they do not directly invest in entrepreneurial project through equity-crowdfunding platforms. Thus, the thesis aims to evaluate the underlying motivations for accredited investors to use equity-based platforms in order to fund start-ups. To do that, it has been selected a motivational framework called SelfDetermination Theory, developed by Ryan and Deci. The framework identifies two different typologies of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. The latter refers to performing a task because it is inherently interesting, satisfying or enjoyable, while the former refers to doing something because it leads to a separable outcome. Moreover, SelfDetermination Theory, within extrinsic motivation, distinguish four motivation “stages”: External Regulation, Introjection, Identification, and Integration. Amotivation, instead, is the state characterized by the individual’s lack of intention to act. Then, in the third section of the thesis, the SDT framework has been applied to the case of accredited investors, in order to understand how extrinsically and intrinsically motivated task about crowdfunding work in relation to their business model. In the same chapter, to better comprehend what Internet users (The Crowd) think about the reasons for accredited investors to use crowdfunding platforms to fund start-ups, a questionnaire has been built. The survey is based on an 18-item measure, called Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale (WEIMS). Each motivation stage has been evaluated through 3 items. Survey’s results have confirmed that The Crowd sees crowdfunding as an opportunity for accredited investors, rather than a threat. In the final section, the evolution of crowdfunding and the new trends have been presented, with a deep focus on the relation between crowdfunding and Venture Capital funds, Firms and Banks.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Business Administration, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages86