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.

Are we in a startup bubble?

Have you noticed how many online startups there are again recently? While it’s great for overall innovation, it can create a challenging ecosystem for budding entrepreneurs. I’ve spent more time than I care to remember, evaluating various businesses, looking at models, and seeking opportunities where I could compete. Invariably no matter what idea I find and no matter how niche or arcane it is, it’s likely there are already more than a handful of competitors already in the space.

JOBS Act becomes law, but questions linger about potential for fraud

President Obama signed the Crowdfunding Bill, aka the JOBS Act, into law today. It will change the way startups do business in a lot of ways, most notably by making it easier for them to accept smaller investments from a larger number of investors. Chance Barnett, chief executive officer of crowdfunding service provider Crowdfunder, sent us the nifty infographic below helping to explain.

3 reasons crowdfunders will hit consumer products first

President Obama is expected to sign the JOBS Act into law tomorrow — a piece of legislation that allows small businesses to receive investments via crowdfunding. This Act will benefit investors by providing a new source of portfolio diversification and potentially strong returns. It will also benefit startups and small businesses by opening up a much needed source of financing. While crowdfunding holds promise for many different industries, there are three reasons why investors should look closely at consumer-related companies in particular: