The answer might be “both.” According to the New York Times, a recent study observed how crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter chose projects to fund and compared it to the choices made by a panel of experts. The study found that the two groups typically chose the same projects as worth funding:
. In that study, researchers tracked 120 theater-related campaigns on Kickstarter between May 2009 and June 2012 that aimed to raise at least $10,000. Researchers also asked 30 professionals, all with experience in evaluating applications for grant-making organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts, to evaluate those same campaigns.
Their findings: Crowds and experts agreed substantially on what makes promising theater.
One positive trend is that crowds are more likely than venture capitalists to back female-led companies, which then often leads to those same female-led companies garnering interest from venture capitalists:
Venture capital investors are scrambling to tap the wisdom of the crowd, financing projects that found their first legs in crowdfunding. In the last quarter of 2013 alone, 10 previously crowdfunded hardware start-ups raised a total of over $150 million, according to a report published on Monday by CB Insights.