What’s a social enterprise and why are some Kiwis so scared of them?

A social enterprise is an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximise improvements in human and environmental well-being — this may include maximising social impact rather than profits for external shareholders.

I love social enterprises. I tend to care more about companies which have three bottom lines instead of one: people, planet and profit.

The thing about social enterprises is they’re different — this scares a lot of people.

Social enterprises challenge the norm because there is no legal company structure which truly recognises this approach. People and teams literally have to figure out how to maximise their multiple bottom lines in their effort to make New Zealand (and beyond) a better place. Again, this scares people.

We currently have two companies running campaigns doing it differently. These social enterprises are using the two different channels of project and equity crowdfunding to fund the things they care about.

EAT MY LUNCH

What’s the most impressive thing you’ve done in the last three months?

Well Lisa King and Iaan Buchanan, Co-Founders of Eat My Lunch (EML), have served up 50,000 lunches to hungry Aucklanders in the first twelve weeks of opening their kitchen. Seriously, it has all happened out of the kitchen of their own house.

EML is doing things differently. They operate a ‘buy one, give one’ model. So you pay $10 and you get a lunch is delivered to your workplace and they deliver another lunch to a Kiwi kid at a low decile school who may have gone without it.

In their first twelve weeks they’ve fed more than 25,000 kids.

This is a business with purpose beyond pure profit and this confuses some people. I had a conversation with someone last week about EML who told me:

“A company like this shouldn’t be saying they’re a business and do charity work. What they’re doing is profiting off children.”

I don’t quite see it this way. EML are solving two problems:

  1. Many Aucklanders want a healthy lunch option but few pack their own, and
  2. There are many Kiwi kids who go to school without lunch.

Lisa and Iaan are providing people with a healthy option and using that money to do a little bit of good for some of the thousands of children who wouldn’t otherwise eat.

Instead of just doing the bare minimum of making a profit, they’ve decided to also help solve another social problem the country has.

‘Buy one, give one’ has been a successful business model in other shapes and forms globally. Companies can be built, turn profitable and make a difference beyond a financial return for shareholders. People shouldn’t be talked out of doing this, they should be recognised for doing things differently. Doing things better.

eml_hero

OOOOBY

Ooooby (it stands Out Of Our Own BackYards) is a company which has built an online platform to help communities deliver fresh local fruit and vege directly to people’s doorsteps.

The company was founded in 2010 through the realisation and understanding that the world’s globalised food structure was failing us at a local level. Tomatoes from Australia, grapes from Italy, apples from Canada — when much of the food we need is grown and produced locally!

Ooooby have helped deliver more than 70,000 boxes of fresh fruit and vege to more than 5,000 happy customers.

Ooooby’s founders and core team put mission before money when they launched their equity campaign. Ninety percent of company shares of Ooooby Ltd have been transferred to a charitable trust dedicated to helping our local food systems. Investment into Ooooby comes with the caution that any dividends paid must be put towards projects in this spirit.

This is different than any equity crowdfunding offer New Zealand has seen before.

It’s interesting reading the NBR comments about this story, Ooooby’s social and environmental focus was is bound to rub the old fuddie-duddies the wrong way. By the way this article was great and made very evident this offer is not a ‘normal’ investment, so thanks NBR.

Here is a good comment (and of course it’s anonymous):


NBR

What Anonymous User #3 has neglected to understand is that the growers supplying Ooooby receive 50% of the market value (e.g. what it’s sold for) compared to a standard 30% with supermarkets.

Also as outlined in their Information Memorandum they have a very defined plan on how this money will be used.

Spoiler alert: it isn’t on Fijian getaways — it’s on building this business and making greater impact.

Ooooby’s achievements and mission are admirable, alternative, and really challenge New Zealand’s current offering of entities.

Social enterprises, impact investing and this whole new space of people doing, and investing in, things for more than just money lacks understanding with a lot of Kiwis. Whether that changes now or never, PledgeMe is working with awesome people and companies to help them fund the things they care about… because we care too.

Matakana Box

———————— & as of this post:

Eat My Lunch has raised +$44,000 towards a goal of $180,000 in their Project Campaign to help fit out a commercial kitchen to feed more hungry Aucklanders (big and small).

Ooooby has raised $67,515 towards a minimum of $200,000 and a maximum of $800,000 through their Equity Campaign to help grow their team, enhance their systems and assist in setting up new Ooooby Hubs.

Funding Felt (and female founders)

Felt is a bit like Etsy but for locally made goods by Kiwi makers, designers, artists and craftspeople. Sort of like how some folk call us like Kickstarter but for New Zealand (or they did before Kickstarter was in New Zealand and equity crowdfunding was legalised). But, other than the underlying functionality of the website we are both worlds apart from our global cohort.

Doing something with a local focus makes what you do tangible, real, hyperlocal, meaning you’re not just building an online platform but an offline community that can really truly care about you as a platform of accessible people not a platform of international pixel pushers.

Which is why we’re so excited about Lucy, Felt’s CEO, launching an equity campaign for Felt on PledgeMe this week (it’ll be live here from 5:30 PM on Wednesday). She’s already travelled up and down the country to meet with her potential investors, has over 700 people signed up interested to invest, and is in the final countdown to launching her campaign.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.27.40 pmHer quotes from supporters are beautiful, and her pitch heart felt (which, makes sense, since her twitter handle is @iheartfelt). We were really lucky to see her pitch in action in Wellington and Auckland, and to meet some of her community of crafters and supporters.

We first met Lucy over 6 months ago when a shareholder put her in touch to discuss doing an investment round. At that point, she’d already done a lot of thinking about raising money, but had been planning to hit go pre-earthquake and to pitch to individual angels. Their world changed quite a bit when the Christchurch earthquake hit, but in some ways waiting was for the best because as Lucy puts it “the legislation changes allowed us to do what we really wanted — get our community of makers and buyers involved in our company”.

The community that Felt has created is a veritable who’s who of kiwi makers, but with sales made all over the world. Including to Antarctica.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.51.24 pm

Lucy came to our pitch kitchen in Christchurch in May, and since then has been working to complete her business plan, pitch video, and financials. The biggest hurdle was finding the time to work through the plan, but Lucy definitely made it happen in her own way, with her crowd of supporters around her commenting in Google docs. 

I, personally, am excited to get another female founder up on the platform. Especially one from the South Island, and doubly especially one from Christchurch. That city continues to inspire us with their attitude towards doing things differently.

If you’d like to be kept updated in the lead up to the Felt launch, sign up to their list here and check out their campaign when it goes live at 5:30 on Wednesday.

 

 

WANTED: One Chief Tech Wrangler

With our equity crowdfunding campaign almost over, we’re looking to grow our team! First person we want to get on board is a chief tech wrangler.

Check out the job description below and get in touch if you think you could fit in with these clowns:Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 2.05.59 pm

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Equity Crowdfunding doesn’t sleep

Remember the movie Wall Street?

It’s that 126 minute long(fictional/realistic) summary of what’s completely wrong with the finance industry. There’s this particularly famous quote by the main character Gordon Gekko:

“Money never sleeps, pal!”

pledgesignal

I’ve heard this quote recycled by Investment Bankers and Fund Managers in relation to their occupation and to capital raising.

We get it: you go hard or go home.

The irony is that they’re pretty wrong. They sleep, eat and (hopefully) exercise. Their work – unless seamlessly and continuously transferred from New York to Singapore to London – pauses with life outside the suit and glass skyscraper.

Equity Crowdfunding actually doesn’t sleep.

When we take breaks to live our lives like the rest of the world our technology and platform keeps turning over: pages load, videos stream, offer documents are read and money is invested. At all hours.

PledgeMe is now ten successful campaigns deep since Nov 2014. When our second capital raise closes at 6PM tomorrow we will have raised somewhere between $2.8 and $3.2 million dollars for Kiwi companies.

Ten successes later here is when pledgers utilise our our platform to invest**

Notes:

  • All 24 hours have seen investors pledge on our platform
  • 45% of investors pledge between 6pm-midnight
  • 47% of investors pledge during ‘regular’ hours (9am-5:59pm)

Financial Technology has made Gordon Gekko’s mantra a reality in the investment context and PledgeMe is here to use the power for good not evil, pal.

———————–

** Yeastie Boys aren’t included because they’re awesome and raised a world record half a million dollars in half an hour and this would have messed all the data up (yes Yeasties’ you are the exception & not the norm)
** PledgeMe 2 – our second equity raise ins’t included because it closes tomorrow at 6PM

An Off-the-Leash Opportunity

Bow Wow Box coverDoes your dog’s breakfast look like… well, a dog’s breakfast? Looking for a way to feed your troublesome terrier that’s simple, straightforward, and pretty fun?

Enter Bow Wow Box, New Zealand’s first dog food delivery service. This company of dedicated dog-owners seeks to provide NZ’s dog owners with all-natural treats and toys sourced from NZ and beyond.

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Although it was only begun in late 2014, the company already has over 400 subscribers, who delight in receiving their Bow Wow Box each month. They’ve delivered more than 4,000 boxes already – and they’re ready for some serious growth.

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New Zealanders spend nearly $400 million on dog food each year. The pet food industry needs to get shaken up – and Bow Wow Box are the team to do it. They’re already halfway to their minimum goal!

So if you want to get on board with this tail-wagging triumph and help people and pooches all over the country, check out Bow Wow Box’s equity campaign now – you’d be barking mad to miss out.

Bill on investing in PledgeMe

With our equity campaign drawing to a close on Friday (so you better go pledge now!), we’ve been receiving a bunch of feedback about why people have helped crowdfund crowdfunding.

This particularly nice email came from Bill who runs Vapour.

I just wanted to say congratulations to the team on a another successful campaign.

For us we are always looking for opportunities to help small enterprises to flourish, grow and realise their full potential. Usually we do that by helping owners and their teams to crystallise their purpose, develop the principles they will operate by and measure performance to achieve success. We add value through our breath of skill and our depth of experience, connecting enterprises to others who can help them take the next step. But sometimes when we come across an enterprise which is investment ready we are also prepared to put our money where our mouth is and make a direct investment to show our support for and confidence in the people behind the venture. Having met a number of the people involved in Pledgeme over the last year we are confident you have then team to take it to the next level – good luck.

Nāku , me ngā mihi

Bill McDonald

Thanks, Bill! Awesome to know that you’re now part of the PledgeMe family and we’re really looking forward to including you in our journey to take this crazy train to the next level.

There is still time to get into the PledgeMe shareholder family. Head on over to our campaign and Pledge. You’ve got until 6PM on Friday.

Ain’t no party like a PledgeMe party

So PledgeMe recently turned three (and a third). And we figured, what better way to celebrate our third anniversary than with THREE awesome parties, with all our wonderful supporters??
First stop was Ivy Bar in Wellington, where people ran in from the rain to celebrate with stand-up, slam poetry, and some absolutely beautiful cake.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 6.09.40 pm

Next we met some rad Auckland peeps in the lovely Lucha Lounge, where we chatted the night away and got to enjoy some wonderful music and killer conversation!

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 6.09.24 pm
Finally, we hit the shores of Canterbury for a wonderful sit-down dinner with our Christchurch crowd. It was bring-a-plate so cheese platters abounded – that might be why Anna looks so ecstatic in all these photos…
Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 6.09.31 pm

We had such an amazing time hanging out and partying with all of you, and we just want to say a huge thank you to our whole crowd!! Your support, enthusiasm and faith for these past three years (and a third) has been unrivalled, and we can’t wait to see what the years to come will hold in store. If you’re keen to become even more of a part of the PledgeMe family, you should take a look at our current crowdfunding campaign and get on board!

And if you want to see any more of our party pics, check out our album on Facebook – and thanks again!!

 

Crowdfunding crowdfunding 2.0

For those not yet aware, PledgeMe has just launched its second equity crowdfunding round!!! And we wanted to give you guys the down-low on why we’re crowdfunding crowdfunding once more.

lanacompy_opSince our last crowdfunding round, the amount pledged through our platform has doubled. We’ve had nine successful equity crowdfunding campaigns – four of which hit their maximum goals – and grown our team and wider community. But we don’t want that growth to stop anytime soon.

This is where you guys come in! In order to support the increasing number of campaigns and to keep evolving our product, we need to expand our team. To be able to do this, we’re looking to raise a minimum of $250,000, and up to $750,000 from our amazing crowd.250k_op

So if you weren’t speedy enough to get in last time, this is your chance. Help us help kiwis fund the things they care about, and invest now!

 

Hitting the max

Maxing out
Last week, two of our equity campaigns reached their maximum funding goals.

Sorbet_-_productSorbet, a climate-neutral cosmetics company, turned to crowdfunding in order to set up their lab, activate their brand and enter a global market. They’ve already had huge success in reducing the environmental impact of beauty products – preventing the production of 32,000 bottles since their launch – and now they have new capital and a great crowd of investors behind them.

Angel Food roughAngel Food, a plant-based food producer, looked to their crowd in order to develop their products and improve on their marketing and sales channels. Already a well-loved brand, Angel Food had no trouble bringing their loyal crowd of vegan and non-vegans alike to their side. With the help of this crowd and their capital, they can now grow their distribution, and continue to offer delicious, familiar, and affordable alternatives to animal products.

The amazing fundraising of these two companies is a testament to the strength of their crowds and their teams – and we think that’s pretty spectacular. We can’t wait to see what amazing stuff they get up to next!

Crowdfunding crowdfunding: ROUND TWO!

Last night at our three and a third birthday* we announced that we’re doing a second equity crowdfunding round. We want to grow crowdfunding in New Zealand and to do that we need our crowd’s help — that’s you!

PANDA-ME CAKE

Come have a slice of our cake by investing in PledgeMe

Our first round of equity crowdfunding last year was a huge success. We raised $100,000 in 23 hours so that we could mobilise the site, grow the team, and spread the crowdfunding gospel further.

We’ve totally nailed those goals in the past seven months. Our site is now optimised for mobile devices making it easier to pledge no matter where you are or what device you’re on. Our team has grown and we’ve bought some more key skills in house around customer support, design, accounting, communications, and more! And we’ve more than doubled the amount of money pledged through PledgeMe since we started three years ago in the last seven months alone. We’re now sitting at a cool $6.25 million raised compared to $2.8 million before we hit go on our equity campaign.

Now we want to grow crowdfunding even more!

In this next round we’ll be looking to raise a minimum of $250,000 so that we can do that.

If When our campaign is successful, we’ll use the money to bring in in-house tech skills, develop the product further to make it even easier to run campaigns and pledge on them, get even more team members on board, and further investigate debt crowdfunding, a secondary market, and expansion across the Tasman.

We hope to have the campaign up within the next two weeks. In the meantime, if you’re interested in investing in PledgeMe — we know there are at least 70 of you out there who missed out the first round — then please sign up to the newsletter below and we’ll send you more details when they’re ready.

Get the skinny on our next equity campaign

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(NOTE: The above form seems to be on the go slow. You should recieve an email within a few minutes of hitting subscribe. Don’t get frustrated like I did and hit submit 50,000,000 times.)

*The party was awesome by the way, and is, in itself a reason why you should invest. We know how to throw a good party. We’ll be blogging about this tomorrow once the photos get developed ;). If you’re based in Auckland or Christchurch, you can still come celebrate with us, as we decided three parties was the best way to celebrate our third birthday.

Team PledgeMe celebrates their three and a third birthday. How could you not want to be part of this team?

Team PledgeMe celebrates their three and a third birthday. How could you not want to be part of this team?