Financial services startup sector continues solid growth (analysis)

The venture-backed financial services industry continues to evolve and grow at a rapid pace as investors continue to fuel industry change. There are several recent VC investment trends in financial services, including trying to capitalize on the social media phenomenon, as well as online services that help later-stage start-ups gain liquidity outside the sometimes difficult IPO process and market.

Crowdfunding raised $1.5B last year — and is on track to double in 2012

Until Kickstarter started gaining attention for giving people a place to raise huge amounts of money very quickly, the term crowdfunding didn’t mean much. Now, crowdfunding has become a full-fledged industry, contributing $1.5 billion to new ventures in 2011. That total includes pledges from average people backing quirky projects like the Pebble smartwatch as well as seed funding for startups.