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Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding


The Web 2.0 opportunity to integrate a multitude of consumers comparatively affordable into the idea development leads to thriving topics like crowdsourcing, user innovation or user integration. Whether and how these concepts are strategically implemented in practice, we analyze by means of qualitative and quantitative methods.

A profound comprehension of creative processes in idea development communities and their influencing factors are essential aims of our research. Besides the motivation of companies and users, our interest is focused on the expertise of idea providers, their creative skills as well as the environment in which creative ideas arise.

Current projects:

  • Meta-analysis of creative processes in crowdsourcing
  • Incentive design on crowdsourcing platforms
  • Motivating factors for users on crowdsourcing platforms
  • User integration in digital games (User-generated content)
  • Gamification in crowdsourcing processes

Teaching: Research module Crowdsourcing and Creativity (winter term 2012/13 and summer term 2013)

Contact: Daniel Schultheiß, Anja Solf


Since 2011, crowdfunding has been a research topic at our department. This internet-based form of financing is used for all kinds of projects – for the first CD of an unknown band, for film projects right up to business formations.

Crowdfunding has been established as alternative form of project financing so far – primarily in the creative and cultural sector. By Equity-based Crowdfunding (alternatively Crowdinvesting), people are allowed to invest in start-ups with comparatively low financial amounts, and hence are able to compose their own investment portfolio.

The funding of projects and companies via the Internet requires strategic communication between project initiators / companies and their (potential) sponsors / investors. At this point, online platforms take the role of intermediaries for project execution and communication. Via linked and partially integrated social media channels the crowd gets activated and informed. The members of the crowd can be conducive to a successful project and business development as experts, customers, multipliers, potential employees etc.

By our research, teaching and practical projects we would like to contribute to a better comprehension of crowdfunding. As experts we attend to this phenomenon in the fields of Economics and communication science. We advise and scientifically support various crowdfunding platforms and projects. Furthermore, we play an active role in the further development of the European Crowdfunding Network and the German Crowdfunding Network (founding member). 

Current projects (excerpt):

  • Role of platforms in Equity-based Crowdfunding (PhD project of Dennis Brüntje)
  • Success factors and motivation criteria in crowdfunding
  • Crowdfunding as Social Media Tool for SMEs (Cofunding)
  • Crowdfunding in various media markets
  • Crowdfunding in science
  • Crowdfunding and Co-Creation


  • Research module Crowdfunding and -investing (summer term 2013, winter term 2013/2014)
  • Research module Social Entrepreneurship (summer term 2011)


  • Brüntje, D., & Gajda, O. (Eds.) (2016): Crowdfunding in Europe – State of the Art in Theory and Practice. In Block, J. H./ Kuckertz, A. (Series Eds.): FGF Studies in Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Vol. 1. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
  • Brüntje, D./ Schultheiss, D. (Eds.) (2015): Die Masse machts – Crowdfunding als Finanzierungsalternative [The crowd counts – crowdfunding as alternative for financing]. In: Menschen, Märkte, Medien, Management: Berichte aus Forschung und Lehre (publication in progress).
  • Harzer, A. (2013): Erfolgsfaktoren im Crowdfunding [Success factors in Crowdfunding]. In: Will, A./ Brüntje, D. (Eds.): Menschen – Märkte – Medien – Management: Schriftenreihe; 7. Ilmenau: ilmedia. Also available from
  • Further being prepared

Contact: Andreas Will, Dennis Brüntje