2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Survey

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Launch the 2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Survey

Study done in association with major industry associations, with support from CME Group Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

 The Polsky Center and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School are teaming up again to launch the 2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Survey with the support of major industry associations across North, Central and South America. This is a continuation to last year’s study of crowdfunding, marketplace/peer-to-peer lending, and other forms of alternative finance in Americas.

In 2016, The University of Chicago and the University of Cambridge launched the first benchmarking survey aimed to capture the size, transaction volume and growth of the alternative finance markets across North, Central and South America. 257 online alternative finance platforms operating in the Americas, including 178 from the US and Canada participated. The end result was the publication of “Breaking New Ground: The Americas Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report” (https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/faculty-research/centres/alternativefinance/publications/breaking-new-ground) - the first comprehensive review of the fast-changing online alternative finance market in the Americas.

Since the global financial crisis, alternative finance, which includes financial instruments and distributive channels that emerge outside of the traditional financial system, has thrived in the US, Europe and Asia. From equity-based crowdfunding to marketplace/peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, from invoice trading to reward-based crowdfunding, these alternative finance activities are supplying credit to small businesses, providing venture capital to start-ups, offering more diverse and transparent ways for consumers to invest or borrow money, nurturing creativity, fostering innovation, generating jobs and funding worthwhile social causes.

“Policymakers everywhere are trying to better understand the emergence of the alternative finance industry. This survey and forthcoming report are critical to getting an impartial view from industry and academia about the alternative finance industry across the Americas,” according to Randall S. Kroszner, Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics at Chicago Booth and faculty advisor to the survey.

Last year’s report found that the Americas online alternative finance industry grew to $36.49 billion, a 212% annual increase from the $11.68 billion in 2014. Between 2013 and 2015, alternative finance platforms across the Americas have delivered over $50 billion in funding to individuals and businesses, with the US market contributing 99% of the total funding volume. With $36.17 billion in total transaction volume in 2015, the US is the world’s second largest online alternative finance market behind Mainland China.

The 2017 survey will cast light on the changing nature of alternative finance marketplace across the Americas, in turn informing policy-makers and regulators in respective jurisdictions, facilitating dialogue and learning between industry associations and key stakeholders, raising the level of awareness about crowdfunding and p2p lending in start-up and SME communities, social enterprise and social finance spheres and among the general public.

“The past year has seen significant changes in regulatory policy as well as several market and firm-specific events relevant to the online alternative finance industry.  Our hope is that this year’s report will shed light on how these developments are impacting the evolution of the industry across the Americas.”, said Robert Wardrop, Executive Director of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The report is one of a series, which include the global benchmarking for alternative finance activity in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the United Kingdom produced by the Cambridge Centre for Alterative Finance and its research partners. Past reports published in 2016 have received immense policy attention (e.g. by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of England, the European Commission and the World Bank), as well as more than 200 mainstream media citations globally from outlets such as The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, CNBC, The Economist and Bloomberg.

The findings of the survey will be made publicly available in a 2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Report due to be published in late May 2017. This benchmarking survey is supported by the CME Group Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  

All crowdfunding, marketplace/peer-to-peer lending and other alternative finance platforms that are currently operating in North, Central and South America can take the benchmarking survey. All participating platforms wishing to be acknowledged in the benchmarking report can submit their logo for display in the 2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Report.

Take the Survey – English, Spanish, Portuguese.

For media and benchmarking research enquiries please contact:
E.J. Reedy, Director of Research and International Engagement, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago via email ereedy0@chicagobooth.edu
or
Tania Ziegler, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, the University of Cambridge via email  t.ziegler@jbs.cam.ac.uk.

About the research partners:

University of Cambridge
The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School is an international interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study of alternative finance, which includes financial channels and instruments that emerge outside of the traditional financial system. The CCAF conducts research across four broad, yet interconnected research streams including alternative financing channels, alternative credit analytics, alternative payment systems and alternative finance regulations and policy. The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/ccaf

University of Chicago
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation drives venture creation and technology commercialization within the University of Chicago and the surrounding community. Through education, partnerships, and new venture support, the Polsky Center advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and accelerates the commercialization of research.

Among its offerings is the top-ranked accelerator program, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, which is where companies like GrubHub and Braintree got their start. Since 1996, the New Venture Challenge has helped launch more than 160 companies worldwide that have gone on to achieve more than $4 billion in mergers and exits and raised over $575 million in funding. The Polsky Center helps students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup. Its resources include a 34,000 square-foot, multi-disciplinary co-working space called the Polsky Exchange; a $20 million Innovation Fund that invests in early-stage ventures; and a state-of-the-art Fabrication Lab for prototyping new products. By leveraging the University’s distinctive strengths in research and a combined research budget of more than $1.5 billion from its three affiliates—Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab and the Marine Biological Laboratory—the Polsky Center paves the way for more ideas to have a meaningful impact on society.