Alternative finance includes a set of fast-growing solutions, from equity-based crowdfunding to peer-to-peer business lending, and from reward based crowdfunding to debt-based securities, is supplying credit to SMEs, providing venture capital to start-ups, offering more diverse and transparent ways for consumers to invest or borrow money, fostering innovation, generating jobs and funding worthwhile social causes.

The European alternative finance market as a whole grew by 144% in 2014 – from €1.211m in 2013 to €2.957mand is therefore close to surpassing Venture Capital in Europe (3.600m in 2014).

Can it help Europe to address the problem of access to finance for innovative SMEs and the gap with the US, for instance in terms of access to risk capital?

Within this context, the study aims to understand the role of alternative finance in supporting research and innovation in Europe, and in particular:

– Quantify and qualify the amount of alternative finance in Europe in support to innovation;

– Identify the key bottlenecks to realize this potential;

– Recommend actions in order to overcome these challenges.

The study is carried out by Open Evidence, the European Crowdfunding Network Aisbl, Ernst&Young and the Politecnico di Milano on behalf of the European Commission – Directorate General for Research & Innovation.