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.

Since 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.

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 awesome 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 with this new capital and a great crowd of investors behind them, they’re set to change how the beauty industry operates even more.

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?

Our Five Cleanest Campaigns Yet

Cleanest campaignsWe’ve gone equity campaign crazy here at PledgeMe! But the five equity campaigns we’ve got on the go aren’t just brilliant business opportunities – they’re also all working to keep it clean in NZ. Read on to find out more about these clever, cool, clean campaigns:

Liquid Waste Treatment Systems LimitedLWTS image

What they’re about: LWTS is first on our list, a Hawkes Bay company who’ve developed the technology required to treat NZ’swastewater more effectively.

 How they’re keepin’ it clean: Using aerobic granules, LWTS will achieve nitrification, de-nitrification, and biological phosphorus removal at an awesome rate. That’s science-talk for cleaner waterways, and a cleaner NZ. What’s not to like?

 Angel FoodAngel food twitter

What they’re about: the team at Angel Food create alternative foods for people on plant-based diets. They provide tasty choices for mindful eaters, with everything from dairy-free cheese sauces to egg-free magic meringues.

How they’re keepin’ it clean: in a world where our diets are becoming increasingly out of control, Angel Food offers clean-eating alternatives made right here in NZ. Sounds like a pretty spotless suggestion to us.

Tapp LimitedTapp blog header

What they’re about: Ever find calling a cab a drag? Tapp’s taxi app will connect passengers and drivers in real-time, creating a cardless, cashless, and super-streamlined transaction.

How they’re keepin’ it clean: Tapp could change the whole way we travel; taking cars off the road and supporting taxi drivers too. Fewer cars on the road plus happier drivers equals one clean campaign!

Powerhouse Wind Limited
Halfway point

What they’re about: this Dunedin-based tech startup are turning to equity crowdfunding to bring their new turbine, the ThinAir, to a wider marketplace.

How they’re keepin’ it clean: Powerhouse Wind provides kiwis with household wind turbines, offering an energy alternative that’s not only affordable and efficient, but clean and renewable. And we’re clearly not the only ones who think so – Powerhouse’s crowd have got behind them too, helping them power through their halfway point yesterday. Clean energy is clearly killin’ it.

Sorbet by Ethique Limited 

SorbetWhat they’re about: Sorbet launched their equity campaign with us last night at 7pm; funding their hair and skin care line which consists of simple, solid, concentrated products that deliver on results.

How they’re keepin’ it clean: Sorbet isn’t just helping to keep our bodies squeaky-clean: they’re doing the same for the environment. All Sorbet products are long-lasting, sustainably created, and distributed in waste-free packaging. Certified climate-neutral, this company is changing the landscape of the cosmetics world and offering consumers an environmentally-friendly option. If that’s not a clean campaign, we don’t know what is!

So there you have it! Five squeaky-clean campaigns that are doing as much for the environment as they can do for you. Check out all their campaign pages for more information, and help them keep NZ clean.

PledgeMe’s Third Birthday! (and a third)

Party

If there’s one thing the PledgeMe posse knows, it’s how to party. We love nothing more than some groovy beats, good food and great company. But with how busy we’ve been lately – did we mention we’ve been busy? – we shot right past our third birthday without so much as a party popper to celebrate.

This must be remedied.

And because we don’t believe in doing things by halves (or thirds), we’ll be throwing not one, not two, but THREE enormous PledgeMe bonanzas to celebrate all of our accomplishments, and all of yours. We’ll have stories from current campaigns, awesome alumni and we’ll be toasting to three spectacular years and over 840 successful campaigns. But here’s the best bit: you’re all invited!!

So whether you’re closest to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, grab a friend or ten, click on the links below and RSVP – we can’t wait to see you there.

Wellington: Basque, June 18th, 6-8pm.

Auckland: The Lucha Lounge, June 25th, 6-9pm.

Christchurch: XCHC, June 30th, 6-8pm.

Cleaning up our future

LWTS image

Our country’s waterways are in danger. Despite the rhetoric around “clean green New Zealand”, so far we have failed to effectively manage our wastewater and natural resources. Liquid Waste Treatment Systems wants to change all that.

Liquid Waste Treatment Systems (LWTS) is a Hawkes Bay company that has developed technology to treat wastewater effectively. Using aerobic granules, they can achieve nitrification, de-nitrification, and biological phosphorus removal at an awesome rate. Put simply: these aerobic granule processes are way better at treating water than anything we have now – and LWTS wants to bring them out of the lab and into the commercial world, where they can start making a real difference.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 3.56.56 pm

LWTS can either build new wastewater treatment plants or add their technology to existing facilities to make them more effective. Their technology works well across sectors, and will be particularly attractive to local authorities because of its lower cost, greater effect, and smaller footprint. Their mission is to approach the use of this technology in a new way, and improve the way wastewater is treated across New Zealand.

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And now you have an opportunity to join in that mission! LWTS is offering up to 1,750,000 “B” shares for new investors. Their revenue streams will come from royalties and the sale of licenses, and once they’re established in the target markets, LWTS will branch out into other sectors such as food processing and the meat industry. This is a growing, exciting business that stands to make a tangible difference in New Zealand.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 3.56.34 pm So if you want to make our country a better place for future generations, check out the offer from Liquid Waste Treatment Systems, and get pledging!

Tapping Into a New World of Transport

Tapp blog header

Two former taxi drivers want to change the way we catch rides.

Simon and Andreas, Tapp’s co-founders, both used to drive taxis for a living. But they noticed that not all their customers were as happy as they could be. Key concerns like safety, uncertainty and efficiency came up time and again – and so they decided to do something about it. So in November 2013, Tapp Limited NZ was incorporated.

Tapp’s product is a taxi app, which connects passengers with taxis through their smartphones, enabling them to see each other in real time. It also allows the passenger to pay through the app, making the transaction cardless, cashless, and super-streamlined.

Tapp 1

The taxi industry in New Zealand is a huge and growing market, with more than 8000 registered taxis and over 19 million rides taken each year. Internationally, the situation is even better: in Colombia, taxis are an everyday practice, and more than 1,200,000 rides are taken every day in one city. The operation was officially registered there in May 2014, giving Tapp an international branch that looks set to become hugely lucrative.

Tapp will make its money through a monthly subscription from drivers and convenience fees from passengers. But in order to start becoming profitable, they need to bring the product to market, and work on risk mitigation. Which is why they’re giving you a chance to get involved!

Tapp 2

Tapp is a small but rapidly-growing company, and this is reflected in the number of shares they have on offer. With your help they can expand this exciting product across New Zealand and the wider world. So what are you waiting for? Check out their equity campaign, and tap into a new world of transport.

Our Top Five Serial Campaigners

Serial-Campaigners
Running a PledgeMe campaign is no picnic. But some campaigners must either have boundless energy or the best crowds known to man, because they just keep coming back. We went project-hunting to find our top five serial campaigners, and ask them about their motivation, their commitment, and how they bring their crowd along for the ride. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. OMG Tech! workshops

OMG Tech rangers

A Tech Rangers workshop in action.

OMG Tech! is an organisation dedicated to bringing technology to young New Zealanders. Vaughan Rowsell and his team have run two successful campaigns already, and there are plenty more on the horizon. We got in touch with Vaughan to hear about the technique behind the tech.

What motivated you to create the OMG Tech! workshops, and why did you choose PledgeMe to make it happen?

As someone who works in technology I could see some problems coming our way as we grow more and more innovative technology startups from New Zealand. We won’t have enough talent here, and people in the industry will have the wrong skills. The future in the next 10 years will be pretty amazing and exciting, but the 8 year olds today will be the ones building the future then, so we need to get them playing with any technology they can get their hands on.

The second problem is quite simply a numbers one: getting enough kids interested in a domain that is typically filled by white affluent boys. So we want boys and girls from all cross sections of NZ to have access to workshops on how to use all the crazy future technology coming our way.

We have run a number of workshops now and used PledgeMe because we have a great crowd around us who are passionate about what we are doing, so PledgeMe makes it super easy for us to promote and get pledges on the campaigns to run the workshops.

Your audience readily re-engaged with your second project – do you have any advice for how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

FOMO. Our campaigns were so popular that people missed out, so when they heard we were having other workshops they quickly got on and pledged before they missed out again. Engaging with your crowd all the time too, so they know what is coming up so they can be ready to pledge. Lastly, really over deliver so the pledgers want to pledge again, and tell everyone else about how awesome it was and how they made a difference. Word of mouth is every marketeers secret weapon, if you have it is is magic.

Vaughan and OMG Tech have another campaign closing tonight! Check it out and help kids get tech-y.

2. Quirky Music

Katie Thompson

The fabulous Katie Thompson.

This music services company helps to develop and manage independent artists from around New Zealand. After their successful campaigns, Quirky Music artists are now producing and distributing their work in a whole new way. We had a chat to Katie Thompson about how she’s using PledgeMe to face the music.

Why did you decide to use crowdfunding for some of your artists’ work?

​Back in 2009 I became the first country artist in the world to raise $50,000 via Sellaband – an overseas crowd funding platform for musicians. I decided to use crowdfunding with my artists as many have a great fan base that they’ve built over years of performing around New Zealand and abroad. Many of these fans are keen to get their hands on an album from the artist so it seemed like an obvious solution. To put it quite simply it’s a big old win-win for everyone!

Any tips for people trying to run a successful campaign?

​Do your prep work!!!! If you can’t get it out in one paragraph and excite someone with that then​ you probably need to go over the basic reasons as to why you’re doing this.

Crowdfunding is the most amazing and scary thing you can do and you will need support! Chocolate & coffee are typically my support system!

Finally, what’s up next – should we be looking out for any more PledgeMe campaigns from you any time soon?

​I’m currently working away at campaign work with Anna van Riel & Donna Dean. These ladies are amazingly talented and I cannot wait to share what they have planned. ​The hardest part of my job is that I get so inspired that I want to start my own project for my music.

3. Laura O’Connell Rapira

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 11.10.29 am

An image from one of Laura’s successful “Bass the Boat” parties

Laura started her PledgeMe journey with “people-powered parties”; events which fundraised for various charities while also providing a great time for attendees. She then began crowdfunding events for her RockEnrol campaign, running two successful campaigns back to back. We got in touch to hear about why she keeps coming back to PledgeMe, and what awesome projects she’s got on the horizon.

Why did you decide to start RockEnrol?

I co-founded RockEnrol because I was running these events to raise awareness about various issues (environmental primarily) and every weekend young, conscientious people were turning up to volunteer their time, skills or stuff or just to take part and dance and they were young people who really, really cared about a lot of different stuff, but then I looked to our government and noticed that these same awesome young people I was seeing every weekend did not have a visible voice in Parliament. RockEnrol was our attempt to change this.

You’ve done an awesome job maintaining an audience who are willing to pledge for a number of different campaigns – do you have any advice on how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

I think it’s important to keep your crowd in the loop about what you are doing whether it’s between campaigns or just on one. You’re also not going to bring every single person who pledges along with you every single time, but cherishing the ones who do come along with you and recognizing that is really great. It’s also just good manners.

Any other tips for people trying to run a successful campaign?

Most importantly, ask everyone, all the time and don’t be ashamed of that. I have spoken with friends who have done campaigns before and felt like they were “begging”, you are not. You are offering a reward for a price and you are using the surplus funding to help get your idea off the ground. That’s awesome, go you! Don’t let the haters get you down.

4. Jennifer O’Sullivan

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 11.12.23 am

The promotions picture from Jen’s super-successful 2014 campaign, “Taking Off the Bird Suit”

Jen is our very own Wrangler Extraordinaire – if you’ve run a PledgeMe campaign, chances are you’ve heard her calming tones down the phone, or received an impeccably-worded email from her. She’s also a wickedly talented producer and performer, and she uses PledgeMe to make it happen! Sadly, Jen is leaving us soon, but we can’t wait to see what awesome stuff she has in store. We stole her away from her work for a bit to ask her how she does it.

You’ve been producing and performing for a while – what made you choose to start crowdfunding some of your shows?

​Crowdfunding is great for performance projects not only because it’s a way to access funds from people want to see the work on stage, but because it’s a great way to get the word out about the work in the first place. Two birds, one rad stone.

You’ve run a lot of successful campaigns now. Why do you keep coming back to use PledgeMe?

It’s an entirely accessible funding option for anyone with a clear project, and it’s perfect for quirky, quick turn-around projects that might not attract funding from other avenues. It’s also great for projects where you can offer ​amusing rewards and build excitement – for example my lads Augmented Fourth and their personalised songs delivered on YouTube.

You’ve done an awesome job getting your audience to pledge for a number of different campaigns – do you have any advice on how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

​I think it’s about making sure that you keep in touch with them in between. Keep them interested in your work when you DON’T want anything from them, and it’ll be easier to bring them on board when you do.

Finally, what’s up next – should we be looking out for any more PledgeMe campaigns from you any time soon?

I don’t have any plans at the moment, but I’m an improviser – that could change in an instant!​

5. Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 11.15.34 am

The uke orchestra in puppet form!

This rad ukulele ensemble used PledgeMe to fund both a trip to Edinburgh, and their album last year, and kept their fans’ support the whole way through. They paused in their strumming to give us some sage tips on how to cultivate a crowd.

Your first campaign with us aimed to raise money for a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012. What made you choose PledgeMe to fund this trip?

We looked at several crowdfunding tools and chose NZ-owned PledgeMe because we felt that the main support would come from our NZ fans eager to see us take on the world. New Zealanders know how much it costs to even step off the islands, let alone house and feed a large band on the other side of the world. We ended up getting a lot of support from people all around the globe, which was doubly great.

Your audience readily re-engaged with your second project – do you have any advice for how people can bring their crowd with them between their different projects?

In order to bring your crowd from one project to the next, allow a grace period between projects (we allowed a year), and make sure you’re offering something different each time. You might want to front-load by building up your social media following in advance of a campaign, and building anticipation about your project. Long before we launched our album PledgeMe campaign, we had been posting enticing photos from our album recording sessions which made our fans feel they were part of the fun.

Finally, what’s up next – should we be looking out for any more PledgeMe campaigns from you any time soon?

We do have some exciting stuff coming up; happily we won’t need the help of our fans via PledgeMe to do it. Ultimately the point of something like PledgeMe is for your supporters to help you get to the “next level”, and ours have done that. We can’t thank them enough.

So that’s our top five! We hope their words of wisdom will help with your own campaigns – and make sure you keep an eye out: you never know what they might be up to next!

We’re going to miss you, Jen

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So, it’s official. Jen is going full time into producing fab female comedy, and leaving an O’Sullivan sized hole in our hearts (and team).

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We’ve spent the past few days trying to talk her out of it. Now, it’s time to confront the fact that Jen knows best. And, if we move quick, she’ll be able to train Jen 2.0 in the wonderful art of People Wrangling before she goes.

 

We’ve written up a list of our favourite Jen qualities, which we think will help anyone thinking about applying:

 

1) Jen makes us laugh, a lot. Like that time she accidentally bought 30 bottles of almost expired Passionfruit lube, and gave it away to everyone on Twitter. (EDIT: Jen has confirmed it wasn’t really an accident).

2) Jen is nice to everyone, and deftly guides even the technically scared through the process of creating project campaigns

3) She has mermaid hair. Which Rory thinks is the best.

4) And a handy supply of chocolate (which Anna eats most of)

5) But, most of all, she really cares about us all. Through the highs and cheese lows, she’s been there with us. And we’re going to miss her greatly.

 

Be forewarned Jen, we’re going to be the loud and rowdy audience members at all of your shows.

 

(If you’re interested in applying to be Chief People Wrangler, here’s the job description. Send your CV’s by 1 June to lana@pledgeme.co.nz – you can be Auckland or Wellington based).

IMG_1387  IMG_0898 IMG_1050

Saving the World Through Video Games

There are only 55 Maui’s dolphins left in the entire world. Their species teeters on the brink of extinction, along with NZ’s other natives, the Hector’s dolphin. Very little is being done to protect these species. But Gamestarter, the team behind Plunge Free Dive, are determined to change that.

Plunge free dive
Plunge Free Dive is a game based on the awe-inspiring feats of William Trubridge, freediving World Champion and double world record holder. In 2010, Trubridge not only set the world record for freediving (101m on just one breath!) but by doing it for Project Hector, brought the desperate position of Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins to the world’s attention.

William Trubridge

That’s what the creators behind Plunge Free Dive want to recapture. In their game, players train as William Trubridge for his record-breaking event, with a chance to experience the real-life exercises Trubridge underwent to perform his feat, and the occasional opportunity to save dolphins from fishing nets as they dive. Through this interactive medium, Gamestarter aim to raise awareness about the dolphins’ plight and help the player to understand the need to take action.

Gameplay

But they need your help to do it. Gamestarter have to raise $10,000 to develop the game, and they’re offering everything from blowfish t-shirts to the chance to design your own customised character as rewards! Check out their amazing campaign here and help make a real difference to our native dolphins.