Often when people hear the words “The Board”, eyes glaze.
They picture bland suits. A faceless, omnipresent entity that crops up every once in awhile in conversation – as in, “The Board vetoed this decision last Thursday.”
But, please – deglaze for a moment. Because that is definitely not how our board rolls.
We really want you to see the brilliant personalities and expertise that lie behind the names of the Board roll, because each member of the PledgeMe board was meticulously hand-picked to bring their savvy heads and extreme passion for business and community to the PledgeMe table.
These folk are here to make things happen for you, so with much pleasure, we introduce our unboring Board!
Anna Guenther, Founder & Chief Bubble Blower
- Breathing life into crowdfunding brainchild PledgeMe, and nurturing this 2-year-old every day to help Kiwis fund their very own brainchildren.
- Certified crowdfunding academic/swot – Loves crowdfunding so much, completed masters thesis at Otago University on the topic of crowdfunding with a focus on what motivates people to pledge.
What she brings to the PledgeMe table: A background in economic development and major events at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and grant administration at a research institute affiliated with Harvard and MIT.
Pet passions: Singing to Pat Benatar in the office, wearing her panda onesie, coffee, and helping people out (not necessarily in that order – and not all at the same time).
Crowdfunding Soundbite: “I’m passionate about crowdfunding – and how it empowers creators to include their communities earlier in their journey. Our potential move into equity crowdfunding just strengthens our mission of helping Kiwis fund the things they care about!”
Anake Goodall, Director (though, we call him Obe Wan Anake)
- Former CEO of Ngai Tahu; developed intergenerational asset allocation programme around its $700 million portfolio.
- Currently serving on the boards of Meridian Energy and social enterprise accelerator, the Hikurangi Foundation.
- Strongman background in both public and private sector as a union delegate, credit union founder, iwi authority and startup champion.
- Governance guru* – currently holds a range of governance roles in commercial, government, social enterprise and philanthropic entities .
What he brings to the Pledgeme table: A huge brain for strategy and development. Anake doesn’t just think about what we should be doing this week, or next month – we swear, he has a hundred-year-plan mapped in his head.
Pet Passion: Especially interested in organisations that are taking the lead on a low carbon, re-localised, sustainable and resilient future; very passionate about communities realising their collective aspirations. He also loves photography, and can often be found with his camera in hand.
Crowdfunding Soundbite: “It’s really exciting to see crowdfunding remove one of the biggest constraints to innovators evolving and going to scale. Creative ventures have just slipped the leash!”
Nick Lewis, Chairman of the Board
- Polymath-esque background in engineering, finance, entrepreneurship, education and mentoring.
- Co-founder of Wellington boutique investment bank, Woodward Partners (having done time at JP Morgan).
- Serves on the board of Creative HQ, the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s business incubator that brought the business accelerator Lightning Lab to NZ.
- Frequent guest lecturer at Otago University’s Masters of Entrepreneurship programme (“Where I first met PledgeMe’s unstoppable entrepreneur, Anna Guenther!”).
Pet passion: Calculators and suits aren’t Nick’s only tools – he’s also pretty powerful with his pen. Much to his wife Diane’s dismay, he took a sabbatical to write his first novel a few years back (a thriller), and he still stretches those creative writing muscles with us!
What he brings to the PledgeMe table: As an entrepreneur, banker and investor, Nick has spent most of his career at the intersection of companies and the financial markets that fund them.
As a result, he’s naturally passionate about how PledgeMe provides a platform for Kiwis who want to support projects they find worthy or (license pending) invest in businesses they find promising.
Crowdfunding Soundbite: “OK, New Zealand, over to you! Support each other’s exciting ventures!”
- An incomparable technical brain combined with human empathy like no other: as the founder of Rabid Technologies Breccan supports the development of new products and companies with a belief that partnerships and relationships are more important than simple transactions.
- An ability to discuss complex philosophical ideas with the best of them (he did his degree in it – bless him).
- But also the ability to simplify things down so even a child could understand them – very useful with tech lingo!
- He lets the team talk him into karaoke, when and as required.
What he brings to the PledgeMe table: A background in technology and startups, Breccan has been programming since he was six with a Commodore 64 and has degrees in philosophy and management.
Pet Passion: Watching the top 250 movies on the IMDB list. He only has 30 more to go, and is always up for discussing the merits of all the movies he’s enjoyed to date.
Crowdfunding Soundbite: “I’m excited about our potential move into the crowdfunding equity space because I believe it will release a broader base of capital to startup businesses and help New Zealand grow.”
- With a background in commercial and financial law, Mark is a founder and partner of Auckland boutique law firm, Carter Kirkland Morrison.
- Guest lectured at the University of Otago’s Masters of Entrepreneurship programme (where he also crossed paths with Anna).
- Speaks semi-fluent Russian – we’re not quite sure how to channel this talent for PledgeMe yet, but it’s merely a matter of time.
Pet passion: His Harley. So much so, we had to include a photo of it. Which we think plays into his adventuring, pushing new boundaries spirit – which is exactly how he’s helping us with the legal side of equity crowdfunding, forging new boundaries and demystifying some of the legalese around the capital markets.
Crowdfunding Soundbite: ”Bring on Naked Investment!”