At the SXSW festival, AOL founder and serial entreprenuer Steve Case says “yes.” There, he endorsed crowdfunding as a way for companies in regions of the US not well served by venture capitalists to find capital. This local validation will help to get them on the VC’s radar screen for a later round. (He doesn’t appear put off by the potentially large shareholder base.) Mr. Case thinks (optimistically) that crowd funding rules will be issued in 2013.
See the interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5SxKRfVjTP8#!