What's Up Wednesday

Everybody Eats

Around one third of the food we produce globally is never eaten. Instead, it ends up in landfills, where it breaks down without oxygen, releasing gases like methane that contribute to climate change. Meanwhile, all across New Zealand, Kiwis are going hungry. Everybody Eats founder Nick Loosely saw a chance to solve both these problems at once.

Every Monday, Everybody Eats serves about 250 people a restaurant-quality, three-course meal, from food that would otherwise go to waste. Since June 2017, they have served over 7000 meals to people from all walks of life, on a Pay As You Feel basis.

But now, they want to take it to the next level, and open New Zealand’s first Pay As You Feel restaurant. To get there, they’re reaching out to their crowd  – and they’ve partnered with everyone from TOMS shoes to Garage Project to provide you with awesome rewards. We got in touch with founder Nick Loosely to find out why you should be getting on board:

1. Why do you think this campaign is important?

Everybody Eats helps to solve two problems that shouldn’t exist, especially in a country like New Zealand. Food waste – we rescue food that would otherwise go to landfills where it contributes to global warming. Food Poverty – we feed people in need restaurant quality meals, that they can pay nothing for if they choose. On top of this Everybody Eats helps to solve social problems by bringing people from different walks of life together around the table.

2. What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

The feedback we have had has been really strong and we thought it would be worth seeing to what extent they would support this project moving forward.

3. What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Our partnership with TOMS shoes. They have kindly donated 600 pairs of shoes to our campaign. 300 are for purchase through Everybody Eats Pledgeme campaign. For every pair that is chosen as a reward, TOMS and Everybody Eats are teaming up to give away another pair to a Kiwi in need at our weekly pop up.  We also have several pieces of media coming out throughout.

4. Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Keep watching our updates for great new rewards being released every day. We have businesses offering us awesome things every day!

To pledge to Everybody Eats, head across to their campaign page here.

Waiapu Investments Limited receives overwhelming support (and next steps from here)

Waiapu Investments Limited launched their equity crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to invest in Hikurangi Cannabis last week. From their private launch to the local community they raised almost $1.4 million.

But, due to the overwhelming support for the company, the PledgeMe website struggled to meet the high volume of demand on the public launch and suffered a technical fault on Tuesday night.  After some overnight technical work, the second attempt at launching caused another crash of the PledgeMe website.

As an alternative solution, within 45 minutes a form was sent out for potential investors to indicate their pledge amounts to allocate the remaining available shares. Waiapu hit the $2 million legal cap by 7:56pm, and have had almost double their goal pledged through the form. The shares will be allocated on a first come, first served basis to the pledgers that came through the form. We will be contacting both those who will be added as pledgers and those that have been waitlisted by 5pm tomorrow.

The amount of interest in the campaign shows the support that Hikurangi has generated from their local community and further afield.

Waiapu’s goal is to increase the wellbeing of people and the land. Their initiatives aim to nurture the land and water, support the growth of vibrant and connected communities and aim to create an economically and environmentally sustainable future for our region. This is important work, and they are amazed to have such huge backing from the flaxroots locally and nationally.

We apologise for the frustration this process has caused pledgers. It’s amazing to see the groundswell of support for this East Coast start-up and the speed at which they hit their goal of $2 million (within 10 minutes of going to the public).

If you missed out on this campaign, you can register your interest for possible future rounds here.
If you have any queries, please contact PledgeMe on [email protected].

Two nights of server issues

Update: the form below was closed for new pledges from 7:45am on Thursday, 10 May.

The last two nights are not what we strive to do with PledgeMe. We aim to help kiwis fund the things they care about. And it’s hard to fund the things you care about when the servers go down.

On our first night launching Waiapu Investment’s campaign, the servers went down because of a search issue on our website affecting our database servers. Or so we thought.

On our second night, the servers went down because of the sheer load. And, even scaling the number of our servers (which we had pre-emptively started) didn’t help.

We had five times more load than our quickest campaign to $2 million.  We had anticipated double from the statistics of Waiapu’s first night.


So what’s happening now?

If you would like to invest in Hikurangi Enterprises, please fill in the form below. The campaign is NOT closed yet – we have manually closed it to use the form instead, but the campaign’s upper goal is still $2,000,000. Disregard any emails you received saying the campaign reached its target – those are due to us manually closing it.

You will receive email confirmation in the coming days to finalise your pledge, or will be added to the waiting list if the campaign has reached its maximum target.


If you were pledging to another campaign, we are truly sorry. We will extend those campaigns to give everyone time to pledge.

If you’re looking for more excellent projects to support, check out these campaigns:

About last night

Panda GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Last night definitely didn’t go as planned.

We expected an amazingly fast campaign with the powerful support of Hikurangi’s crowd. What happened was our website went down 10 minutes before Waiapu Investments (who are investing in Hikurangi Cannabis) even went live. We’re really sorry for the confusion and frustration it caused.

We recently upgraded to Amazon Web Services to stop server load issues from occurring on large campaigns. After three issue-less million dollar plus campaigns, we thought scaling our site wouldn’t be a problem.

What happened was a problem we hadn’t expected. Ten minutes before the planned launch, people flocked to our site and began searching for Hikurangi and Waiapu in our search bar. What we’ve since discovered is that when a search is carried out on PledgeMe, a full scan of our campaigns database occurs (that’s tens of thousands of records), and when too many people searched it caused our website to go down. It took our tech team a while to find this problem and get the site back up.

This level of searching has never happened on any of our campaigns in the past. We think it’s partially because we didn’t have our normal “coming soon” tile, as the campaign was privately launched already, and that the campaign didn’t have a banner on the homepage yet. Our experience and analytics to date has been that most pledgers land direct on the campaign page they want to pledge on (from an email or social media link) and that popular campaigns trend – so if pledgers do just land on the homepage they see it front and centre. So we’d never seen this scale of searching before, even on the big and fast campaigns.

We have well and truly learnt today that medical cannabis is more exciting than organic unbaked goods, chocolate, and craft breweries. Huge apologies to Manu, Panapa and the team.

What we’re doing is taking a close look at the search today and optimising how it searches, so it’ll be a lot faster. We’re ready for tonight, and can confirm the launch will be at 7pm on Wednesday, 9 May 2018. If you’d prefer to use a faster method than searching (please do!), here is the direct link that will be live at 7pm on the dot: pledgeme.co.nz/investments/298

We’re Australian official now (aka PledgeMe is now licenced to equity crowdfund across the ditch)

We’re super excited to announce that after seven months of hard work (and three years of watching / providing submissions) we’re licenced to provide equity crowdfunding in Australia.

What does that mean? Well, it means that I will be gone a bit longer than planned… Sorry friends and fam!


How did it happen?

When we raised our second equity crowdfunded round three years ago we said it would be for either exploring the Australian market or launching our lending product.

My notes on the proposed regulatory guide.

In the end, we did both. We visited Australia in September 2015, and launched Pledge.Me Lend. In Australia, we found that the market wasn’t ready yet. The regulations were being created, but word on the street was that it would take a while (even though one government document promised changes in the year). The style of regulation felt a lot more American than the British style we were used to in New Zealand.

In April 2017 the legislation finally passed to allow equity crowdfunding in Australia. Not a perfect piece of legislation, but when we reviewed it (and provided some submissions on it) we decided it might be workable.

At the same time as the change was made, Laura Reitel in Wellington told us about a programme that the Queensland government was running called Hot DesQ. Free cash for start ups to move to Queensland, and mentor and inspire the local ecosystem. Since that seemed like they were basically paying me to be me, speaking at every event under the sun normally, we put in an application.

We were lucky to be selected, and announced in September 2017 that we were “Exporting our Expertise” and moving across the ditch. I had never been to Queensland before, and I definitely now have a new definition of heat. 

From there, we hit the ground running. In the first month we set up our company, applied for our equity crowdfunding licence, did a road trip around the region, and I did a side trip to Europe to speak for a subsidiary of the UN. I wrote about it in this “Busy in Brissie” post. From there, we announced and ran an Unconference for 100 local founders and doers, and kept building our network of inspiring people.

We hit a speed bump in January when the first round of equity crowdfunding licences were announced, and were weren’t in the mix. It felt like our experience as the first (equal) licenced equity crowdfunding platform in New Zealand wasn’t valued. But in the end, we got there. We built out our team, and last week we received our equity crowdfunding licence here in Australia.


What’s the plan?

From here, we’re excited to take the lessons we’ve learned helping over 1,200 campaigners in New Zealand and help some Australian founders raise the money they need to scale. Not the founders that would have found it easy to raise money no matter what, but the founders that see the benefit in going to their crowd and might previously have been excluded from the financial markets.

Did you know that only 3% of venture capital goes to female-led businesses? So far, with our 30 successful equity and lending campaigns, 43% of them have female CEOs. Including us. Of the crowdfunding platforms licenced in Australia (and New Zealand) to date, we believe we’re the only ones with a woman at the helm. And while that shouldn’t be noteworthy, it is.

There’s so much research that shows, investing in diverse founders has better results. And that raising capital is a lot harder if you don’t fit in the typical mould. That mould might be based on what you look like, or your gender, but it can also be based on the types of company you’re raising money for. Like social enterprises. Or regional development. Raising money when your focus is dually growing your revenue and growing your impact isn’t always simple to explain to traditional investors (I know…. I’ve tried).


How will it work?

We’re talking to potential campaigners already, with plans to launch our first equity crowdfunding campaign here in Australia in June.

If you’re interested in learning more about running a campaign, send us a note. We’ve already started taking founders through our capital raising prep programme, CrowdfundingU.


But, what about New Zealand?

New Zealand has grown significantly in the last year, with the strong support of our team there. We’ve had some amazing campaigns across the line, like Little Bird and Parrotdog and now Hikurangi Enterprises’ Waiapu Investment. New Zealand has been busier in the last seven months than it has ever been. I’ll be back and forth regularly (and still spending a good bit of my time helping campaigns back home over emails and Zoom), but New Zealand is in safe hands with our team and our board.

And to answer the question on some of your lips: are you staying in Queensland?

Yes! Because it’s so freaking friendly. We were lucky to be part of the HotDesQ programme, with a soft landing (and some cash) to get set up in Brisbane. I’ve learned so much in the last seven months here, and been welcomed by such a wide range of founders and supporters. It really is all about the crowd. 

It’s great to be in a smaller big city too, where there aren’t a bunch of crowdfunding platforms setting up. It’s also nice to be able and supported to bring some of my favourite bits of home here (like, Unconferences….).


I’d like to say a huge thank you to my team and board for supporting in this move, and our shareholders and supporters for believing in us, and to HotDesQ for supporting us. It was a squigglyier line than planned to get licenced, but isn’t it always. I truly believe we’re well poised now to help Australians and Kiwis fund the things they care about.

What's Up Wednesday

Kaffelogic Personal Coffee Roasting System


The secret of coffee is great beans, that have been roasted to perfection. But most beans don’t stay fresh long, which means getting freshly roasted beans to grind in your own home can be really difficult. But this is where Kaffelogic comes in.

With the Kaffelogic Nano 7, you can roast coffee beans from the comfort of your own home – artisan-quality coffee your way, any time. Their products are hand-assembled in a Dunedin factory, ensuring quality and durability, and best of all, the roaster is simple, hassle-free, and easy to use. We checked in with Chris from Kaffelogic to hear all about the buzz behind the beans.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We are changing the way coffee aficionados get their coffee: buying green beans and roasting on demand in their kitchens. This puts them totally in control of freshness and roast style.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We want to produce a product that is designed and made in NZ, so we want to get New Zealanders involved from the ground up.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We’ve been at the NZ Coffee Festival on 24 March so members of our crowd could see the Kaffelogic in action before they pledged. We will also be sending out more samples of roasted coffee – make sure you’re on our mailing list if interested.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

We still have some tickets to the Coffee Festival to give away. Get in touch if you would like some. We love our crowd and can’t wait to start making you all a personal coffee roaster!

To get roasting, check out Kaffelogic’s campaign right here.

Introducing: Rachel Hopkins to our Board

Early this year we announced the retirement of our director, Nick Lewis, and the April departure of our board member Jessica Venning Bryan with the arrival of her baby.

After running a three month process to find a new director, we’re  excited to announce the appointment of a new member of the PledgeMe board, Rachel Hopkins!

Rachel has spent over 25 years in marketing, branding and customer experience, including working in both the Australian market and Māori / Pasifika engagement. From 1995-1999 Rachel started, grew, and sold a professional services business in Australia.

Recently appointed as the Chief Executive of Diversity Works NZ, Rachel has been part of the Senior Leadership Team of Competenz since early 2013. She held roles as Marketing Director for The Icehouse and Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and as Marketing Manager for The University of Auckland Business School. She spent seven years as a director of Ocean (a branding agency) and, as part of the Future Directors programme, sat on the board of NZX-listed AWF Madison Group for 18 months. In 2016, she was named the Institute of Directors Emerging Director of the Year (Auckland Branch) and has completed the Chartered Director qualification.

She came to us via a recommendation from one of our shareholders (and friends), and started adding value from the first skype chat. (For those that haven’t read Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, you should).

One of her life goals is to “use [her] skills to help women grow businesses and ‘get s*** done’ for the economy and healthier communities” and she believes deeply in the idea of empowering communities. This resonated with me as a founder and also with our company values.

Our plans for growth involve a healthy mix of deepening our roots in New Zealand, supporting indigenous founders, and launching in Australia, and we know that Rachel will add insight and experience to all of those areas.

Thank you, Rachel, for joining us on this next phase of PledgeMe’s journey!


What's Up Wednesday

Taranaki Retreat

Last year, thanks to their crowd, Taranaki Retreat opened its doors. The suicide prevention facility provides a safe and supportive space for Kiwis dealing with suicidal thoughts; or those who have lost someone to suicide; or anyone who is feeling the pressure of life is just too much. They’ve been doing incredible work, but their services are inundated – over 1000 people have got in touch in the last year alone, far more people than they can manage.

That’s where their latest campaign comes in. The retreat needs to appoint a Community Support Worker to assist with supporting guests, but they don’t currently have the funds to do so. They’re reaching out to their crowd for help with funding a worker for 12 months, and in return they’re offering exciting rewards: everything from homemade chocolate brownies, to the naming rights to a tree.

The campaign has less than two weeks left and they really need your help, so we talked to campaign runner Jamie about why people should be getting on board.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We believe that one loss to suicide is way, way too many. And anybody who has lost someone close will agree. Our reality is that we have a major, terrible and growing problem. However, this unique and highly effective community-based solution (which is not beset by a heap of requirements or a complex referral process) is seeing some INCREDIBLE results. Prevention is the way forward – and that’s what we’re all about.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We need to respond swiftly and meticulously to every single inquiry we receive. Without fail. Our team needs to grow to accomplish this. There is an urgency to this shout out – we need to move on this NOW! And have some breathing space to line up long-term funding for the position.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

YES! We have some AMAZING rewards…. and some funky updates still to come – including some seriously cool little video clips showing inside views of the work we are doing. We also have a further goal that we’re seriously excited about – and there’s more information about that in the campaign.

Anything else you want t0 shout out to your crowd?

Please spread the word. Pledge as much as you possibly can, and we promise to do you proud. We believe this work is about all of us – and here’s a direct way you can make a difference – right NOW! Arohanui ki a koutou….

To make a literally life-saving pledge, check out Taranaki Retreat’s campaign right here.

What we learned from our Tā Koha wānanga

The Tā Koha team hit the road with two aims: to bring the idea behind Tā Koha to local communities around the motu, and to hear the voices of the entrepreneurs and communities that Tā Koha will serve. We brought with us our energy and collective knowledge, and the crowds we spoke with gave us their insights, their enthusiasm and their curious questions.

Our whānau in Tūranganui a Kiwa


So what did we learn from the wānanga with our wider whānau in Whangarei, Manukau, Rotorua, Tūranganui a Kiwa and Ōtautahi? What wisdom flowed from our crowd?

Barriers to funding

The very first obstacle is a lack of awareness of the variety of options that exist and an understanding of how they can work for Māori. Who do I ask and where do I begin looking?

“Funding” can often be perceived as government grants, rather than covering everything from bootstrapping to philanthropy, from bank loans and payday lenders to angel investment and crowdfunding.

Not fitting the mould or satisfying the criteria set by traditional funding gatekeepers often prevents Māori entrepreneurs from funding their journeys. Sometimes it feels like applications and forms aren’t designed for Māori.

Having the support and insights to build confidence as you work through a funding process is crucial.

What’s needed beyond the money

What meaningful outcomes do Māori entrepreneurs want from raising money?

From many, we heard about a desire for a shared sense of ownership amongst whānau and hapu over the enterprise, whether a business, a non-profit, a whānau enterprise, social enterprise or marae enterprise. This helps to source skills, assets, time and willing effort from the crowd.

Others were eager to find expertise and guidance from inside and outside of the local community, and to uplift, upskill, and provide opportunities for the community. People agreed that filling up the kete was more important than funding.

Crowdfunding concerns

There were some concerns expressed about crowdfunding. Crowdfunding was new to many, and some suggested that passing on the knowledge to older stalwarts would be a challenge.

Alongside this was the fear of not knowing how it works, and not being supported through preparing for a campaign. People expressed a need for hero campaigners whose shoes they could see themselves in. Plus, taking part in a campaign takes time, skills, money and a willingness for people to put themselves out there.

Beyond the technical issues, come the issues of finding the right audience: how do people figure out who their crowd is, or even whether they have a crowd? And the big ask is a natural reservation. How can we reshape asking for money as giving whānau an opportunity to share in our impact? How do we move away from transacting and towards engaging?

Innovative sparks

It was inspiring to hear the creative ideas coming from the crowds. From kanohi te kanohi learning support, to games that introduce rangitahi to basic crowdfunding concepts. From viewing your diverse crowd as a “digital marae”, to collecting a wishlist of in-kind support from whānau (building the kete of time, skills, effort voices, land, assets & equipment).


What did we each take away from our hikoi experience?


Understanding how crowdfunding works is really important to the people we connected with.  And we keep seeing the desire from our people to access capital, in ways that is accessible and can utilise the collective potential of whānau and community.  People also want to give beyond money, they want to give their time, skills, knowledge information. We hope we can weave this into the Tā Koha Platform.


“We, as Māori, have always used our whānau and communities to fund our ideas.  What is stopping us from using the technology within PledgeMe to seek further funds and services to grow!  “E tipu e rea, mo nga ra o tou ao, ko to ringa ki nga rakau a te Pakeha hei ara mo to tinana: ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna Maori hei tikitiki mo to mahuna”


“Having the chance to sit back and just listen to the whakāro from all the people we spoke to was eye-opening. We are grateful for these contributions, and for the opportunity to try to turn them into reality.”


“Getting to know good people from all over Aotearoa who care about uncovering opportunities for their communities was fantastic. And the open and honest kōrero with our newfound whānau has really widened our vision for what Tā Koha can achieve. How can we design ways for contributions of all shapes and sizes, of dollars and of goodwill, to be shared and celebrated?”


We’re extremely grateful for everything and every word that was gifted to us on our hikoi. We now must honour those conversations, contributions and ideas by creating a crowdfunding platform that truly delivers for Māori.

A big Kia Ora to our hosts who warmly welcomed us into their homes: InnoNative Business Base in Whangarei, GHA in Rotorua, Te Puni Kōkiri in Manukau and Gisborne and Ngai Tahu in Ōtautahi.


There’s still have a couple of local wānanga coming up. If you’re keen to join the conversation join us at TPK Porirua on Wednesday 28th March at 6pm, or online for a webinar wānanga on Wednesday 4th April at 6pm. You can RSVP here for Porirua, and here for the webinar.

Looking for a Kaituitui (Tā Koha platform Project Lead)

We’ve partnered with Māori Women Development Inc (MWDI) to create a new way for communities to fund indigenous and regional entrepreneurs. We believe supporting tangata whenua to access new forms of capital using platforms and tools that enable them to involve their communities can create a whole range of new opportunities – some of which we might only scratch the surface on.

Now, we’re looking for a Kaituitui to come lead the delivery of the Tā Koha platform. We’ve been up and down the country researching, have deep knowledge from Māori Women Development Inc and PledgeMe, but need someone to come bring that all together and drive the delivery of the platform. Is that you?

Role: Kaituitui – Tā Koha platform Project Lead

Location: Creative HQ, Wellington

Hours: 2-3 days per week for the next four months

Rate: $40/hour


We believe the right person will be able to:

  • Lead a part-time team of five across two organisations
  • Consolidate the qualitative and quantitative research already completed into the capital needs of indigenous entrepreneurs
  • Formulate follow up research plans for external researchers
  • Scope out the implementation with our wider team
  • Take part in Kiwibank Accelerator programme in Wellington (running until the end of May)
  • Give presentations, and facilitate group discussions
  • Take part in weekly group meetings and advisory board check ins, as well as daily standups
  • Deliver the first iteration of the platform with our partners and technical providers
  • Support projects through the process
  • Feed into reporting to our boards and funders
  • Have fun


  • Fluency in Te Reo Māori and a deep understanding of kaupapa Māori and Māori communities
  • Leading teams (bonus points if it’s across organisations)
  • Managing projects to budget and time
  • Research

Who’s behind this?

We’re co-creating this initiative between Māori Women Development Inc and PledgeMe. Here is some of the team behind it:

Barry Grehan is our Irish blow-in. He’s a rebel banker with an eye for fresh financial ideas. Whether it’s crowdlending or equity crowdfunding, his aim is to democratise the financial markets.

Kaye-Maree Dunn is a Hinepreneur ICF Coach under #RISE2025 and Māori Women’s Development Inc (MWDI), specialising in project management and relationship building, she works with MWDI and Te Whare Hukahuka. She has also started her own company, Making Everything Achievable (MEA). Through coaching, facilitation, technology, community development and business management, she uses her commitment to kaupapa Māori and holistic principles to explore how we can create systemic change.

Linda Clay is a 2018 Leadership New Zealand participant has been the accountant at MWDI for the past five years. Her role includes managing the loan book for the organisation and working directly with clients and supporting the delivery of education to wahine Māori and their whānau.  

Teresa Tepania-Ashton has 12 years experience in corporate banking with CITIBANK. She was responsible for major corporate clients in New Zealand that were focussed on global cash management and prior to that for more than a decade Teresa worked for a Danish Dairy Engineering firm. In July 2004, she was appointed as the CEO of Te Runanga a-Iwi o Ngāpuhi, allowing Teresa to focus on developing the assets of Ngapuhi but more importantly the aspirations of the Ngapuhi people. Teresa is currently appointed as CEO for Maori Women’s Development Inc who are a micro-lending organisation offering business loans to Maori women and their whanau.

Anna Guenther is PledgeMe’s co-founder, sounds American but she’s definitely a Kiwi. If pushed, she’ll say she’s technically from Dunedin, but will later admit she grew up in Boston. She completed her Masters with a focus on crowdfunding and has worked for everyone from NZTE to MIT (and all of the acronyms in between).

Interested in the role? We’re taking applications until EOP Monday 26 March and looking to appoint quickly after that.

Please email your CV or LinkedIn and a bit more about what you’d like to bring o this role to [email protected]

We hope to find someone as passionate about inclusive capital as us, with relevant experiences, and the interest to stick with us past the delivery of this project if it goes well.