Equity crowdfunding, debt crowdfunding, and lending crowdfunding are three different types of crowdinvesting that have very different characteristics.
- Equity crowdfunding: this tool allows anyone to invest in a capital company through a digital platform that acts as an intermediary. The company that decides to finance itself through crowdfunding will thus be able to cover its capital needs by offering Investors gathered by the platform the opportunity to subscribe its shares or quotas. In this way, the Investor becomes a partner in all respects and, therefore, enters the company's risk capital. In Italy, digital platforms that operate as intermediaries for equity crowdfunding investments must be authorized by CONSOB.
- Debt crowdfunding: platforms authorized to manage equity crowdfunding portals used to intermediate just for raising risk capital. Since the end of 2019, they have now also been able to intermediate for collecting funds through bonds and debt financial instruments issued by small and medium-sized enterprises (known as "debt crowdfunding"). This way, companies that fall within the provisions of the law can, for example, place mini-bonds through portals authorized by CONSOB.
- Lending crowdfunding: also known as P2P lending or social lending, is a lending crowdfunding that involves the provision of a loan to a company or an individual for realizing a specific project, typically done through a standardized loan contract. The contract grants the subscriber with the right to receive, in one or more maturities, the invested capital plus a fixed return. The legislation governing platforms that operate as intermediaries for lending crowdfunding investments is less rigid than that of equity and debt crowdfunding: lending platforms do not need to be authorized by CONSOB in order to operate.