Co-Financed post.doc. Kristian Roed Nielsen
Sustainable entrepreneurs and small start-ups face a myriad of challenges in terms of pursuing their sustainably-oriented ventures not least the locked-in nature of the current regime which they inhabit and intend to change; as they often go against existing user and industrial practices, regulation, infrastructure and symbolic meanings (Unruh 2000; Geels 2002). These lock-ins consequently also translate into constrained funding opportunities for these "niche innovators", especially in the early "seed funding" stage as they often perceived as a less attractive investment compared to traditional entrepreneurial ventures (Choi & Gray 2008). The emergence of crowdfunding could, however, signal a shift in financing opportunities for these small sustainable innovators brought on by a shift in prospective financiers of innovation from professional investors to now ordinary citizens (i.e. crowdfunders) (Mollick 2014). Especially since the early literature on crowdfunding has found that rather than focusing on economic gains and feasibilities, the crowdfunders put much more emphasis on the core values and legitimacy of a project (Lehner & Nicholls 2014). Leading some scholars to suggest that crowdfunders are more likely to invest in sustainable ventures (see Lehner 2013; Calic & Mosakowski 2016; Vassallo 2016) others, however, question this contention instead noting that there is no positive connection between for example environmental orientation and crowdfunding success (Hörisch 2015). The Post.Doc, therefore, proposes with a mix of methods (see deliverables) to explore the antecedents of both successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns in efforts to better understand the motivations of crowdfunders to invest in a project. This in order to examine what, if any, potential role the "crowd" could have in driving, financing and enabling sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation.
Stockholm School of Economics