Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Andre Mollick

Second Advisor

Dr. Diego Escobari

Third Advisor

Dr. Incheol Kim


In recent years, equity crowdfunding has developed into an alternative form of early stage financing for startup firms. The main purpose of this dissertation is to understand the evolution, process and regulation of equity crowdfunding in the United States as well as assess the determinants of a successful campaign and whether this capital market lead to an enduring business.

The first essay examines the evolution, process and regulation surrounding equity crowdfunding. I establish a clear definition of crowdfunding and its restructuring of the music industry to establishing an alternative form of raising capital for nascent firms via equity crowdfunding. I examine the regulations set forth by various countries in contrast to the United States in order to understand the differences in entrepreneurial ecosystems ability to develop new capital markets. An overview of the regulatory landscape suggests that European countries have benefited greatly from sandbox experimentations and early integration in this alternative capital market while its U.S. counterpart is just now exploring its potential. Therefore, the U.S,’s slow inclusion into equity crowdfunding as a result of preserving investor protection under the strict guidelines of the Securities Act has influenced the development and scope of this capital market.

The second essay establishes signaling as an effective way to attract investments to an equity crowdfunding campaign. I analyze what could be the determinants of a successful equity

crowdfunding campaign in the U.S. I then compare and contrast those findings to the state of the art in equity crowdfunding. Results from the estimations indicate the importance of human capital, social capital and their interaction effect in signaling by U.S. equity crowdfunding campaigns. Thus, revealing the differences in equity retention, third party signaling and financial projections from European and world equity crowdfunding campaigns.

The third essay consists of investigating whether equity crowdfunding can lead to a successful and enduring business by attracting follow-up investments. I examine the determinants of what leads to post equity crowdfunding investments and the timing of these investments. Estimation results are indicative of U.S. equity crowdfunding campaigns necessity to locate in entrepreneurial hubs in order to entice additional funding after a successful equity crowdfunding campaign.


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