The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: An Exploratory Study

16 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2012 Last revised: 8 Nov 2013

Ethan R. Mollick

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School

Date Written: June 26, 2013


Crowdfunding allows founders of for-profit, artistic, and cultural ventures to fund their efforts by drawing on relatively small contributions from a relatively large number of individuals using the internet, without standard financial intermediaries. Drawing on a dataset of over 48,500 projects with combined funding over $237M, this paper offers a description of the underlying dynamics of success and failure among crowdfunded ventures. It suggests that personal networks and underlying project quality are associated with the success of crowdfunding efforts, and that geography is related to both the type of projects proposed and successful fundraising. Finally, I find that the vast majority of founders seem to fulfill their obligations to funders, but that over 75% deliver products later than expected, with the degree of delay predicted by the level and amount of funding a project receives. These results offer insight into the emerging phenomenon of crowdfunding, and also shed light more generally on the ways that the actions of founders may affect their ability to receive entrepreneurial financing.

Keywords: crowdfunding, crowd funding, Kickstarter, venture, entrepreneur

Suggested Citation

Mollick, Ethan R., The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: An Exploratory Study (June 26, 2013). Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 29, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 1–16. Available at SSRN: or

Ethan R. Mollick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

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