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"There is reason to be confident: the supply of funding has kept pace with demand, and government support for the sector (through direct assistance, tax breaks and the inclusion of peer-to-peer lending in the individual savings account regime) should be an impetus for growth.

What would also help is a couple of big wins for crowdfunding investors in the equity-based sector. In that context, an announcement last week by SyndicateRoom, one such platform, is encouraging. Last year, it helped the property company Mill Residential to raise £2m – now the firm has floated on the Alternative Investment Market at a price that values the company at around £3m. SyndicateRoom’s investors have been able to get out with a profit.

Nevertheless, the crowdfunding phenomenon is advancing rapidly. What was once a cottage industry aimed at people marginalised or abandoned by mainstream financial services is becoming mainstream. And competitors in the funding ecosystem who write off crowdfunding as a dangerous rival do so at their peril."

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