In this chapter, we explore the core question of how should one regulate equity crowdfunding in a manner that enhances its appeal to engender the development of small and new-age businesses through accessible funding opportunities and at the same time protect investors against undue risks, such as fraud, which arise from the activity. We analyse the regulatory conundrum on equity crowdfunding by examining the legal regime for crowdfunding in India.
The rules relating to fundraising by companies in India have been considerably tightened under the Companies Act, 2013 that limits crowdfunding activity. However, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has issued a consultation paper that proposes a framework for ushering in crowdfunding in India. We find that the unduly onerous conditions imposed by SEBI have the effect of deterring rather than promoting the growth of crowdfunding. The existing (and proposed) legal framework in India have erred on the side of caution and sought to emphasise more on investor protection than to engender the market for crowdfunding.