City of Bellevue
Marketplace Feasibility Assessment
After completing the City of Bellevue’s Economic Development Plan in July 2014, BERK was asked by the City to investigate the feasibility of using equity crowdfunding to support local tech start-ups. This new funding tool, recently authorized in Washington State, was seen by City Councilmembers and others as a way that the City could proactively support diversification of the economy in line with strategies established in the Economic Development Plan. BERK conducted research, targeted interviews, and focus groups to explore the legal, technical, and market feasibility of facilitating development of an equity crowdfunding marketplace. BERK’s ultimate recommendation was that this particular strategy carries a relatively high level of risk for the City, with a relatively small potential for payback. We leveraged findings from our research and focus groups to identify other opportunities for the City to play a proactive role in developing and diversifying Bellevue’s start-up economy.