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Crowdfunding boom benefitting online shopping, food services and telehealth

A new report reveals that equity crowdfunding in Australia has surged 60 per cent in the last two years, with raised capital having increased from $28.3 miliion to $41 million in 2021. Equitise’s Equity Crowdfunding Industry Report 2021 highlights the industries that have seen the biggest equity crowdfunding success as well as the future of equity crowdfunding based on changing business models around the pandemic.

“We have highlighted the four biggest industries to watch in this space in the last few months of 2021 are direct-to-consumer and online shopping, sustainable food alternatives, telehealth and craft breweries or low to no alcohol alternatives,” Equitise co-founder and managing director, Jonny Wilkinson, said.

“E-commerce is on a growth trajectory, as the pandemic changes how we shop,” Williamson added. “D2C contributes about 10 per cent of retail in Australia, compared to the 20-30 per cent of the overall retail level seen overseas, set to reach $4.5T by the end of this year globally.”

Williamson also noted the growth of sustainable food alternatives. “Another area is plant-based meat which looks set to disrupt the global meat industry,” Wilkinson explained. “Last year venture capital invested $1.5B in alternative proteins with the market expected to increase from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by the end of this year and by 2040 plant-based or cultured meat products will account for 60 per cent of all meat sales. Consumers love sustainable food brands, and are willing to make that extra effort to shop for them.”

There has also been a marked transformation in the health sector, shifting from in-person care to virtual delivery in real-time via telemedicine, fast-tracked by the Covid pandemic. Telemedicine jumped 33 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year with the market predicted to reach $185.6 billion by 2026. “With 83 per cent of patients expected to use telemedicine after the pandemic resolves, there’s no doubt that this trend is here to stay,” Wilkinson said.

The equity crowdfunding report also highlights which industries have been strongest to date since the change of legislation in 2017 with Fintech, alcohol and food being the top-performing sectors.

“With increased technology and consumer expectations plus the Royal Commission’s spotlight on the financial services industry, fintech startups are increasingly turning to the crowd as a means of raising capital,” Williamson said. “In 2020 alone there were 49 (up 153.1 per cent) new blockchain-related start-ups. With a mission to democratise currency, it also works well with equity crowdfund’s mission to democratise investing.

“The drinks industry, in particular craft beer and craft distilling, also has a strong crowdfunding track record in Australia,” Wilkinson added. “Investors get the opportunity to support the brands they enjoy and resonate with, while also receiving great investor rewards. We expect to see a continued increase in crowdfunding for craft beer and craft distilling as these industries continue to experience significant growth. We already have another offer live on the site and are in discussions with a few more breweries.”

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