5 October 2017 10:15


Crowdfunding is a popular topic for master’s theses in FOCUS.

FINTECH (Financial Technology) is expected to disrupt the established firms in the financial sector.

The total amount of funding raised through crowdfunding in 2015 was $10B (in comparison, in 2011 total fundings were equal to $1,5B). Currently there are more than 450 officially registered crowdfunding platforms, out of which 191 are based in the USA. (Scharwath, 2015) (Statista, 2015). As crowdfunding grows as a practice, it also challenges theory and research on financial behavior.

NHH’s cutting edge competence on crowdfunding is an example of how to build competence through synergies between teaching, research and projects such as FOCUS.

Timely topic
Crowdfunding is an example of new FINTECH solutions that NHH students are familiar with through their social media activities, courses and master thesis work. NHH Professor Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe started teaching online business models already in 2006 – the year after Facebook was established. Over the past 10 years, she has built an innovative teaching and research platform to study collaborative dynamics in online business models. FOCUShas invited students to write their master theses on Crowdfunding in an effort to build new and relevant knowledge  on FINTECH at NHH.

Reward-based crowdfunding
PhD student Natalia Drozdova is one of many young students who finds the topic of crowdfunding interesting. She is currently studying reward-based crowdfunding for her PhD with professor Kleppe as her main adviser. This semester Drozdova is visiting The University of London where she is working with leading researchers on digital business models. The particular context that Drozdova studies represents an interesting context where both social and commercial logics of involved actors co-exist and compete.

Drozdova explains that reward-based crowdfunding is quite special, as people contribute to (usually) commercially oriented projects without getting any financial reward or ownership rights.

- I feel that results of this study can lead to better understanding of the sharing-economy in large. Crowdfunding as a phenomenon has evolved from being a movement by artists in opposition to big music labels into a popular mainstream business model. The blend of rebel ideology and commercial logics makes the funders-founder relation rather complicated. I am studying a context of reward-based crowdfuding. In reward-based crowdfunding funders provide finance for a commercially oriented project while typically contributing on a social/communal shared vision or idea. Thus, reward-based crowdfunding creates a contradiction-laden context where various tensions emerge.

Interdisciplinary and international research
Crowdfunding is an interdisciplinary topic, which can explain why it is a popular research field for young students. The pioneering master students at NHH in this field come from different study profiles, such as finance, strategy, and marketing- see the list of theses below. Moreover, Kleppe and Drozdova participate in an interdisciplinary and international research consortium on crowdfunding. COOLCROWD, funded by the Norwegian Research Council – will study the feasibility of offsetting CO2 emissions from transport through crowdfunding of climate-friendly technologies on local farms. Senior researcher Pia Otte, Centre for Rural Research, is project manager and the members in the project team come from of University of Oslo, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norwegian School of Economics, Norwegian Business School, Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture (Norsøk) and international partners including Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Western Australia and University of Otago.


Relevant research

Kleppe, Ingrid Natalie and Nilsen, Elina (2017), “Crowdfunding sustainability".

How do entrepreneurs of sustainability projects utilise the potential of crowdfunding for fundraising?” Master Thesis NHH. Supervisor: Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe

Utochkin, Denis (2016), “Principal-Agent Problem in Technology Projects on Kickstarter:an Exploratory Case Study”, Master Thesis NHH. Supervisor: Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe

Hagatun, Josefine og Trollvik, Maria (2016),” Etablerte aktørers oppfattelse av og respons på disruptiv innovasjon: trussel eller mulighet? En casestudie av to nordiske bankers adopsjon av equity crowdfunding”, Master Thesis NHH. Supervisor: Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe

Espedal, Marie og Hegreberg, Karoline Rossavig (2016),” Hvordan overbeviser entreprenøren ulike finansieringskilder? Historiefortelling i en kreativ bransje”, Master Thesis NHH. Supervisor: Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe

Langgård, Mats Vormeland og Mostad, Fredrik Døhl (2015), “Entreprenørens dilemmaer – Gode idéer uten finansiering”, Master Thesis NHH. Supervisor: Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe.