As the saying goes, in any team sport, it is always the weakest link that makes even the very best team lose its home ground match. Each player plays a critical role of ensuring that he or she gives the best of his or her own ability to the team.
This is not only for their own personal satisfaction, more importantly, it is for the glory of the entire team, to captivate the loyalty of their fans and the respect of their deserving opponents.
This analogy can be squarely applied to the crowd funding industry, in Singapore or anywhere in the world. The “players” are the incumbent crowd funding platforms and the aspiring new entrants (collectively “platforms”). Together these platforms represent the crowd funding industry (team). How each platform conducts itself in the market place will have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the entire industry. The above is especially so, in the context of Singapore for two reasons.
Firstly, whilst the concept of using financial technology for crowd-funding has been around for more than two decades, globally speaking, this trend has only caught on in Singapore in very recent years. As with all things new and especially when money is involved, it hinges on reputation, and reputation to succeed. Inherently, each platform has to shoulder a common responsibility of ensuring that the public perception of the entire industry (team) is one of repute. No matter how successful our own platform already is or may become, it will only take one weak link (errand platform) to give the crowd funding industry a bad name. That is the reality especially so in the social media and trial by media world that we live in. Mr Trump comes to mind but that is another story altogether.
Secondly, again as with all things new, crowd-funding can be seen as a hype, something faddish that will quickly fade away just like that cutesy bubble tea shop around the corner from my home. So, just like any sporting match, the platforms must have the stamina to last the full duration of the game and not “run out of steam” before half time! If the public impression becomes one where crowd funding platforms are perceived to exist just for a “quick win” and perhaps they are “here today gone tomorrow”, the industry will not be able to reach its fullest potential. Hence, as with Singapore’s nation building era during the days of our fore fathers, each platform has to see themselves as part of a team player, whilst retaining their own identity and playing style, they have to firstly come together as a team to build a sustainable, bona fide financial eco-system.
With the above in mind and coupled with the possibility of headwinds ahead of the crowd funding industry (I do believe tension is good for us), if we are divided on our mission, we will not get pass half time in the game. We cannot lose sight of the vision that crowd funding platforms can actually change lives by providing bona fide alternative source of financing that can benefit all stakeholders involved.