6 days to be a part of the solution

Screenshot 2015-04-22 10.01.03 (1)

Are you ready to be part of the solution for young people?

With youth anxiety, depression, eating disorders and cyber-bullying all on the rise, it’s clear that it’s pretty tough to be a young person right now. The team behind BE Intent want to change that – and they’ve got a great plan to make it happen.

BE Intent Youth is a positive education technology toolbox, designed to change how schools support their students, and help young people navigate the challenges they face day-to-day. Delivered as an app, it’s been created to inspire students to “meet their potential, increase their well-being and help get more out of their day, lives and their study.”

Be Intent

The team behind BE Intent know what they’re talking about. Founder Susanne Hall has used her ample business experience – including being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to business in 2005 – to build BE Intent, and she and her team have spent years developing and implementing the adult and corporate versions of their platform. They know what works and why, and now they’re ready to use that knowledge and experience to help young people all around the world.

This is where you come in! Funds raised through BE Intent Youth’s equity crowdfunding will allow them to finalise their youth-specific research, and implement their marketing and sales strategy as they take their business global. They’ve already come an incredibly long way, raising $116k in just three weeks, and rocking out awesome events like their investor session last night.

Screenshot 2015-04-22 12.01.18

Now they’ve got just six days to go and less than $39k to raise – with 100 people pledging $500 each, they could reach their target in no time! So what are you waiting for?

To find out more about BE Intent Youth and get on board, check out their offer here, or take a look at their website.

 

World’s youngest equity crowdfunder

The very young Look Through Our Eyes team.

Here at PledgeMe we encourage everyone to try to try and fund the things they care about. And age is no barrier to successful running a crowdfunding campaign. We’ve had a whole bunch of great projects on PledgeMe reach their goals and do really cool things. Examples here, here, and here.

So when 19-year-old Indy Griffiths approached us looking to run an equity crowdfunding campaign for his kickass company Parent Interviews, we were stoked! As far as we know he is the youngest person to ever equity crowdfund anywhere in the world and he’s making the most of the opportunity.

Indy pitching at BNZ Startup Alley 2014.

Parent Interviews started as Indy’s school project in 2013 when he was at Bayfield High. A couple of years later he has transformed it into a company which has already helped over 23,000 students manage over 400,000 interviews so far.

It’s a simple concept: help schools and parents arrange parent-teacher interviews with less stress and hassle than the ol’ fashioned way. And people are loving it. Parent Interviews has been getting a bit of media coverage, from the ODT to WIRED online.

Now with just over a week to go and with more than half their goal pledged, Indy is gearing up to scale his product internationally. There’s no reason why teachers all over the world can’t use his platform to arrange their interviews too. This is one lad with a bright future.

If you want to invest in Parent Interviews then check out their offer.

Equity crowdfunding takes us over the $5 million edge….

On Thursday 9 April 2015 PledgeMe hit the $5 million total pledged mark after closing two successful equity crowdfunding campaigns.

5million

Children’s shampoo and body care maker Pineapple Heads and social marketplace app SellShed’s campaigns both wrapped up their offers successfully raising a combined $917,000. This brings the total number of successful campaigns on PledgeMe Equity to four – raising more than $1,500,000 in the process.

The way crowdfunding works is that a minimum target is set and must be achieved in order for the campaign to be a success. PledgeMe Equity success comes through many ingredients, including:

  • Reading through our Education Guide to Equity Crowdfunding (online & PDF available),
  • Doing the hard yards on your business plan, its growth, and valuing your business (hint: we talk about this in our Education Guide)
  • Developing rockstar communications to prime and educate your crowd about what equity crowdfunding is and that you’re doing it (including newsletters, press releases and other channels of communication key to your business)
  • Putting together a your launch plan to kick off your campaign
  • Managing a campaign communications plan for current pledgers, followers other potential investors (equity crowdfunding is not a ‘set it and forget it’ process)
  • Focusing on what’s working (maybe investor events or focusing on key groups has worked best – be conscious of this and stick to what’s working)

With less than a week to go both of these campaigns were sitting at approximately 50% of their funding target. Megan @ Pineapple Heads and the team at SellShed deserve a massive shout out in activating their crowds right through to the finish. Their success came from having a plan, knowing who/what/where was working and backing themselves right through to campaign close off.

It was a very exciting week last week for us at Team PledgeMe, for these two companies who we’ve been working with, and for equity crowdfunding as well which is barely more than one year old in NZ.

We currently have three other equity crowdfunding campaigns running for Chariot, Parent Interviews, and Be Intent Youth as well as have a tonne of awesome Projects on the go.

Our Equity world is pretty crowded… and we love it

Equity Crowdfunding turned one year old on the first of April (no fooling). It’s been a crazy year in the PledgeMe office, which has included:

At the same time we’ve also:

  • Grown our team (including two Auckland based staff!);
  • Moved into one of the coolest offices in Wellington (/NZ/the world), and;
  • Launched 5 equity campaigns at one time (ahem ↓↓).

Equity

We’re really excited about the recent addition of equity crowdfunding to our platform and are very fortunate that the NZ Government has decided to make our country world leaders in this space by being the one of the first countries to introduce new legislation allowing equity crowdfunding. This has opened up a whole new channel for companies to raise funding, and we hope it’s bridging a capital chasm that a lot of companies face when they’re starting up or growing.

Since getting our license we have had more than 500 people contact us because they’re interested in using equity crowdfunding as a way to help fund growth in the businesses they care about. It never ceases to amaze our team what some Kiwis are getting up to in their back sheds and offices, and how passionately they are creating value with their businesses.

This week opened strongly as SellShed surpassed its $250,000 target meaning their campaign is now sitting in the success column and interested investors who have not yet pledged have until 7PM 9 April to do so. Congrats to the team at WebSoft Ltd on their campaign and we look forward to a strong finish as they push towards a $1M maximum.

Although this is a cause for celebration we’re a wee bit too busy with a further four more live campaigns including Pineapple Heads who also close Thursday, BE Intent Youth which just went live, and Parent Interviews & Chariot both currently in the middle of their campaigns.

In the past few weeks we’ve had more than $500,000 of pledged investment towards our five current equity campaigns and look forward to seeing more funded campaigns and excited new shareholders by month’s end:

The Closers:

ssholdingphone-1
SellShed by Websoft Ltd. – FUNDED
Raised: $275,100
Target: $250,000
Maximum: $1,000,000
Closing Date: 9 April – 7PM

SellShed is an easy to use social marketplace. It provides a locally relevant and socially integrated platform for it’s buyers and sellers, allowing them the opportunity to easily trade right from their pocket.

SellShed is free for individuals to use and is designed for mobiles and offers an attractive alternative to existing desktop focused pay-to-list or pay-upon-success online platforms.  The future is social, and SellShed have a marketplace available in iTunes and Google Play which is already enjoyed by more than 13,000 people.

SellShed has reached its target of $250,00 but investors have until 7PM 9 April or an investment cap of $1M.

Here’s what two pledged investors said about this offer:

“For me Websoft Ltd is a cutting edge technology platform providing huge growth opportunities with genuine global potential for investors” – Ian Gleghorn

“I invested in SellShed through PledgeMe as I see huge potential. The app is so easy to use and free and I’m excited to own a part of a New Zealand based Tech Startup that has huge scope. Can’t wait to see where it goes” – Kellie Deuchar

For more information on this offer check out the campaign page http://pldg.me/SS

new

Pineapple Heads Ltd.
Raised: $102,150
Target: $189,000
Maximum: $389,000
Closing Date: 9 April – 7PM

Pineapple Heads is a range of eight children’s hair and bath products made in New Zealand. They are sold throughout New World supermarkets, 70 other retailers throughout New Zealand and Australia, as well as through their own online shop.

Pineapple Heads are raising funds to onboard two Sales Reps and an in-house Digital Account Manager to roll out Pineapple Heads across New Zealand, aggressively opening up Nationwide distribution along with growing partnerships in Australia.

Megan is a solo-business owner/mother who has had some pretty awesome press all around the country about her capital raising mission.

Here is feedback on the offer from two invested pledgers:

“Fully supportive of a great lady, great product and all New Zealand made.” – Erika Burt

“I love your products and believe in the company.” – Sarah Chainey

Upon reaching their target, Pineapple Heads is offering one lucky family the chance to visit the Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast along with a year’s supply of Pineapple Heads Products! Contest open to all pledgers (past, present & future!)

IMG_5524

For more information on Pineapple Heads offer check out their campaign page http://pldg.me/PH

 

New Kid on the Block:

DevicesBe Intent Youth Ltd.
Raised: $87,000
Target: $150,000
Maximum: $580,256
Closing Date: 28 April – 5PM

BE Intent Youth is a cloud based technology platform and toolbox that delivers positive education and solutions that inspire and support students to meet their potential, increase their well-being and helps them to get more out of their day, their lives, and their study.

BE Intent Youth are raising funds to finalise the research that is specific to youth and implement their marketing and sales strategy.

Based on positive psychology, neuroscience and neuroplasticity research their technology aims to change the way that schools around the world support their students with issues like bullying as well as help youth become mindful, motivated and resilient.

For more information on Be Intent Youth’s offer check out their campaign page http://pldg.me/BIY

 



For a full list of our current equity offers http://pldg.me/offers

“Let’s Do Something Naughty”

Vajazzle

This is a campaign that brings the bling. The shocking, shameless, sparkly short film “Vajazzle” is premiering online for Valentine’s Day, and after the spectacular success of its Pledge Me campaign, we just had to sit down with creator Nathalie Boltt to get the inside scoop.

Before launching Vajazzle’s campaign, Nathalie and her crew had never considered crowdfunding. They initially tried to fund the film through conventional channels, with encouraging results – the film was shortlisted for premiere funding from the Film Commission. But Nathalie suspects it was “just a bit too racy” for the Commission to support. She describes the decision to turn to Pledge Me as “terrifying”, saying “you’re really putting your neck on the block, and the danger is that nobody wants to see this.” But as she points out, filmmakers have to be willing to make that sacrifice anyway – “because why should the Commission give you money for stuff nobody wants to see?”

Much of Vajazzle’s campaign success is undoubtedly tied to its pitch video, which is 1 minute and 46 seconds of glorious glitz and glitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, watch it below!

 

 

It was shot in an hour (after they decked the house out in silk and hunted down the cat) and not only showed viewers what they were in for, but also helped in terms of “clarifying [the] whole concept” for Nathalie and her crew. The reaction to the video surprised Nathalie, with eager responses from everyone from her own mum and dad to the parents at her six-year-old son’s school. But these unexpected supporters are what make up a crowd – as she puts it, “that sort of person comes out of the woodwork, and says ‘yes, let’s do something naughty.’”

Vajazzle 2And Nathalie has no intention of letting them back into the woodwork any time soon. Although the film has now been shot and is ready for release, she’s keen to maintain her crowd: “[the project] has got to lead back to the mothership…so when it’s time for your next feature, they’ve been with you the whole time.” And Nathalie is also committed to showing gratitude to her audience – whether that’s with an autographed blu-ray of the movie or a customised vajazzling of her own “mons pubis”. Our chief media wrangler, Jackson, was even thanked with his very own free vajazzle voucher! It’s all part of showing her appreciation: Nathalie urges future campaigners to “say thank you, thank you, thank you to your pledgers – never come across as ungrateful.”

All in all, Nathalie sees people pledging to films as a win-win for everyone: “Not only have they funded you, seen the result, been happy with it hopefully…but they’ve been part of something fun – and isn’t that just basic human nature, just wanting to be part of something exciting?”

So if you want to be part of something exciting, and you’re keen to see an exploration of “the freaky side of the female mind”, watch one of our latest crowdfunded short films, Vajazzle, below – trust us, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.

 

Four Steps for a Fab Team Photo

Thankyou Payroll 7

People pledge to people. The best way to get your crowd invested in your project is to show them who’s behind it, and what better way to do that than a team photo-shoot? So, by studying the great work of our friends at Thankyou Payroll, we’ve come up with the four steps you need for a fab team photo.

Thankyou Payroll 3

1. Collect your team

Your team might not initially be on board with becoming models. If you’re having trouble with a few camera-shy colleagues, remind them how it’ll help them connect with your crowd, and ask them what kind of shot they’d be comfortable with. If worst comes to worst, let them hold the dog.

Thankyou Payroll 5

2. Choose your pose

A great photo is all about great composition. Find a stance that suits each team member, but remember that the photo’s all about cohesion – make sure you’re showing off how good you look as a team, not just as lovely individuals.

Thankyou Payroll 1

3. Stay consistent

If you’re taking lots of different photos, it’s good to keep a consistent theme running through them, so people remember what you’re about. We love how Thankyou Payroll’s dog, Hale-Bopp, is present in all their photos (although to be clear, points of consistency are not limited to canine companions!)

Thankyou Payroll 2

4. Have some fun!

At the end of the day, a team photo is all about expressing your team’s unique personality. Don’t be afraid to get weird or wacky with it – just show your crowd you who are. They’ll love you all the more for it, we promise!

And, as a bonus tip: If you don’t know what to do, ask your crowd! We loved seeing the crowdsourcing efforts of Thankyou Payroll this week:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 6.48.15 PM

And, if you don’t know who Thankyou Payroll are – check them out asap here: https://thankyoupayroll.co.nz. They provide a free payroll service to charities and kiwi businesses (and they are awesome).

Half a mill in half an hour

Yeastie Boys made it big yesterday. They equity crowdfunded half a million in half an hour. This is the fastest equity crowdfunding raise so far in New Zealand and one of the quickest in the world!

Down at Goldings Free Dive the atmosphere was electric. The venue was packed with people thirsty to become investors.

electric crowd

Just before 6 Stu got up and thanked their crowd for coming down and all those who were about to pledge. At the stroke of 6 Anna hit the publish button on the campaign, Stu rang the bell, and confetti exploded into the air.

Yeastie Stu

People dived onto their phones and laptops to get in. Within four minutes the campaign had hit $100k!

Pledges were flying in thick and fast. Not just from in the bar, but across New Zealand. There was a steady progression of pledges over the half hour. Could they have hit a million? We reckon so. Maybe something to consider next time Stu ;)

ybgraph

Between refreshing the laptop and updating the crowd Stu was quietly chuffed when, a mere 17 minutes in, they hit their minimum goal. pledgemepugThe crowd went wild at that point and Anna and I feared that the dreaded PledgeMe pug of unavailability might make an appearance. Luckily the team at Rabid had prepped the servers so they were ready for the onslaught of Yeastie Boys and Girls.

It was great to see Yeastie Boys bringing their campaign into the real world. Stu had travelled up and down New Zealand over the past week handing out business cards and talking about the equity raise. He also issued the financials and company documents over the weekend so people could read up and decide whether to invest over their Sunday brunch. Help was on hand with Stu answering questions and team PledgeMe helping people to pledge.

The buzz was great and it meant that on top of putting together a slick business plan and brewing great beer they activated their crowd and got a magnificent result.

IMG_5884

All good things must come to an end. Just before 6:30 the party was over with the maximum goal of $500,000 was hit. More huzzahs and hoorahs! The revellers went  home with a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts and shares in their back pockets.

Yeastie Boys now has 212 new shareholders. We’ll they’re not just shareholders they’re champions. Stu has bought his crowd into the company and now they have an interest in seeing Yeastie Boys succeed. Big congrats to them for going out to their crowd and making it work.

KEY FACTS

  • $505,019 raised
  • Time: 30 minutes exactly
  • 212 new Yeastie Boy shareholders
  • Average pledge: $2382
  • Largest pledge: $50,000
  • Happy Yeastie Boys: 2

tomorrowtheworld

Top Ten Tools for Crowdfunding

hammerWHITE

Connecting with your crowd can be tricky. Luckily, there are lots of great sites and apps that can help you at all stages of your campaign: creation, organisation, promotion and connection. Check out our top ten tools below, and see what they can do for you and your crowd.

creationWHITE

1. Google Docs

This extension of Google allows you to create documents online, and is a really good place to write your pitch – it’s free, easily accessible and simple to use. Plus, multiple people can edit a document simultaneously, which gives you an easy way of collaborating with other people in your team. It’s also sort of freaky.

2. Google Drive/Dropbox

It’s important for your team’s sake that you have a way to store the files you’re creating, so everyone can access them easily. Drive and Dropbox are both great tools for this – they let you and your chosen group upload or download files which you can access from anywhere, any time.

orgWHITE

3. Trello

When you’re organising a campaign, the sheer list of things you need to get done can be overwhelming. Trello helps you keep track of you and your team’s to-do list. You can upload and assign tasks, and keep an eye on how your different projects are progressing. We especially love the check list function, tick tick tick!

4. Google Calendar

You need to be able to visualise the timeline of your project, and ensure that everyone in your team is in the loop. Google Calendar syncs easily with Gmail, and lets you invite members of your team to specific events, as well as reminding you about upcoming appointments and deadlines.

promoWHITE

5. Social Media

In order to keep in touch with your crowd, you need to think about how you will use social media. By using sites like Twitter and Facebook you can give your followers updates on your campaign on their own turf, and they have the opportunity to connect with you too. Photo-sharing sites like Instagram are great for this too; they’re an easy way to check in with your crowd and remind them what you’re up to. But not in a spammy way, make sure to have conversations not just promotion fests.

6. Canva

Canva is a super-easy design tool that makes creating images simple, even for people who’ve never designed before. It has specific templates for different kinds of social media, making the process of creating and sharing images online straightforward and enjoyable. We even used it for the images in this blog (just to prove a point, we still love our designer Rory).

7. Squarespace

Having a website is a great way to inform people about your projects. Squarespace is a very easy-to-use website builder, with customisable content and a professional look.

connectionWHITE

8. MailChimp

MailChimp is a great way to email your crowd en masse. They have beautiful newsletter templates, and make it really easy to design sign up forms. Plus, if you have fewer than 2,000 contacts your account is free!

9. Google Forms

Feedback from your crowd is always useful. Google Forms lets you build free surveys to send to your followers quickly, and turns their responses into a spreadsheet so you can analyse what they had to say.

10. Attending.io

This app helps you make event pages that look great, but that are simple and easy to create. Your followers can choose to RSVP with any of their social media accounts or email, which allows you more freedom in bringing different parts of your crowd together. Use this to create your launch party, or your celebration picnic when you meet your goal. Organise investor Meet and Greet’s, or tea parties. Go wild, with your crowd.

That’s our top 10 (or 13 if you count some of the cramming we did under Social Media), but we’d love to hear what you’re using at the moment. So comment below, and happy funding!

Pitch Kitchen

While you’ve been on your summer holiday we’ve been preppin’ the kitchen, the Pitch Kitchen that is.

Untitled design (1)

Yesterday we turned up the heat on two companies who are going to be doing equity crowdfunding campaigns with us.

The slicing and dicing isn’t like a Ramsay’s Kitchen where Anna and I sit there and make people cry. In fact it’s more like Jamie Oliver where we cook up good, healthy ideas with a group of friends giving feedback and support on ways they can make a crowdfunding campaign better. It’s an afternoon for honest feedback, streamlining your pitch and working on the getting your equity campaign to gourmet quality.

The first two entrepreneurs put under the grill were Stu from Yeastie Boys and Tom from Chariot. Also in the room we had some of our shareholders, team, and alumni: Jacky Laverty, Nat Boltt, Breccan McLeod-Lundy, Dave Allison, Julia Campbell, Will Stewart, Nick Lewis, Anna and I. We were there to provide that friendly and nourishing advice. We all had these sweet name tags →

Stu kicked us off running the group through his pitch for Yeastie Boys and then the teaser video they’ve put out. Stu announced just before Christmas that the brewery would be equity crowdfunding later this month.

Tom then pitched us Chariot, it’s a super slick car-sharing app which will be launched very soon. They’re also going to be launching their PledgeMe equity campaign soon too — SO WATCH THIS SPACE!

From there the group asked questions, gave feedback, and shared ideas for the two companies. Stu and Tom were busily writing down notes and Anna was assigning people tasks of small chunks of work that we could do there and then.

For example, Jacky and I helped Tom whip up a basic communications plan for their equity campaign while Nat and Julia helped channel Stu’s creativity for a new pitch video (it’s going to be hair-larious). There were also discussions about financials, events, and messaging.

Both Tom and Stu came away from the afternoon with clearer pitches and a clearer vision what it takes to activate a crowd and run a successful equity crowdfunding campaign  — a recipe for success.

We’ll be running the pitch kitchens when and if companies need ‘em. If you’re hungry for one let me know.