Thomas Astebro, HEC Paris, will discuss his latest research.
We use internal administrative records on all investments on a leading European equity crowdfunding platform to address whether founders may be manipulating the crowd when making self-investments in their campaigns. We ask three questions. First, are self-investments affecting regular investors' investments sufficiently to merit further investigation? The answer is that they only appear to do so. Second, are founders' making self-investments that are strategically placed? That answer is both yes and no. Third, is there evidence that founders are using the investment rules to try and manipulate the crowd? We find evidence supporting that interpretation. Equity crowdfunding platforms and regulators may consider making some restrictions for founders in their investment rules, or requiring public disclosure of large investments.