What's Up Wednesday

Let’s Brew Kereru!

Feb 3

Being gluten-free isn’t always easy. And it’s a lot harder without a cold one at the end of the day. This is what the team at Kereru Brewing wanted to fix when they started their special line of Gluten-Free Auro beer. But while the coeliacs of the world rejoiced, the beer was expensive to produce and tricky to find a wide range of customers for.

Luckily, the Kereru Crew didn’t just give up there and then. They came to us! By running a PledgeMe campaign, they can locate their customers before they brew – and you can get in on the gluten-free goodness. We thought this was such a masterful model that we needed to hear from the brewers themselves, so we got in touch with co-owner Chris Mills.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

So far the campaign is ticking along nicely. We’ve never used this platform before so I am quite curious to see how well it is received as well as looking forward to seeing if we are able to fully fund our project.

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

We will share a number of updates to tell the story of the beer being brewed – videos of brew day, testing for lack of gluten, packaging, and finally getting everything ready for delivery.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

The most important thing is to let people know that we need them to get behind this campaign if we are to make our gluten-free beer again. We really hope there is enough support to make this happen.

To get in on the gluten-free glory, take a look at Kereru’s project here and get pledging!

Back to the books: CrowdfundingU + fee change

Team PledgeMe has learned a lot over the last year. And now with 12 equity campaigns funded (out of 19 launched) we have a pretty clear idea of what’s working and what needs refining to help kiwis fund the things they care about.

As we do, we listened to our crowd. We asked them what would help get them ready to run equity campaigns, and what they thought would give them the best chance of success. We clearly heard that companies wanted more support in the lead up, more education around, and a better structured programme to ease them into a campaign.

Taking that on board, and mixing in our experience in crowdfunding…

we’re launching, CrowdfundingU!

Welcome to CrowdfundingU

CrowdfundingU will provide a structured 6 week programme for equity campaigners, running through all the things you need to know about:

  • What is Equity Crowdfunding
  • Documentation do’s and don’ts
  • Mapping your Crowd
  • Communicating with your Crowd
  • Pitching to your Crowd (from visuals to events)
  • Launching your Campaign

While comprehensive, the programme is not intense. It’s not some sort of boot camp where we wake you up at 5 AM and make you do press ups in the mud. We focus on the essentials on a one-to-one basis to make sure companies are ready for their campaigns before they hit the launch button. The sessions give an up to six week lead in time to launch, but can be condensed for folk who want to move quicker than the average bear (or tiger).

So for all of you who want to learn more about CrowdfundingU click here. If you want to sign up you can do that there too.

Got questions? Ask Will, our Equity Champion, more questions here or tee up a time to chat.

This does mean our pricing will change

To reflect the change in the way we’re running equity campaigns we’re changing how we charge for them.

There will now be an upfront fee of $1,500. This replaces the fees for legal work and background checks we were charging previously. It also covers the one-to-one time you’ll get with one (or more) of the PledgeMe team through CrowdfundingU.

PledgeMe.Equity fees as of 01/02/16
CrowdfundingU $1,500 (zero rated) Paid before campaign starts
Success fee 5% of total raised (zero rated)
Credit card fee 2.8% + 25 cents per transaction (Only on pledges paid by credit card, average fee to date is ~0.3%)

 

To use PledgeMe’s Shareholder Portal there is a fee of $25 (plus GST) per month, first two months free. It’s optional to use this service.

And of course, you may incur additional costs launching and running your campaign, ranging from legal and accounting to design and communications.

The benefits

Over the past year we’ve found that running equity crowdfunding campaigns can be a daunting task. Having done two rounds for PledgeMe, I can confirm that it is indeed a little bit scary. So CrowdfundingU is designed to break that fear down into small chunks and make it manageable. Here’s how CrowdfundingU will benefit all you potential equity crowdfunders out there.

More structure

One of the big things we heard from our crowd was that they wanted a more structured process. Not a rigid set of guidelines, but something more than just a how to guide. CrowdfundingU breaks helps you get all the corner and outside bits of the puzzle locked down, to make the middle bit easier.

More support

Campaigns all come in different shapes and sizes, and from campaign to campaign we were figuring out how we could help companies. With the one-to-one sessions during CrowdfundingU it gives the companies space to ask us questions, and gives PledgeMe time to hear what the companies need and go away and work on it.

Pitch Kitchen

We’ll still be running Pitch Kitchens during CrowdfundingU, but these will be better informed and come sooner in the process to give companies good feedback on their pitch as they’re building it. Because of the better structure and increased support we’ll have a better idea of the skills the companies need present and so can arrange stellar lineups (from our crowd and theirs).

One year on for Yeastie Boys

Exactly a year ago we were ringing the bell to begin our PledgeMe crowdfunding campaign, at a launch party in Wellington’s Golding’s Free Dive. A meagre 31 minutes later we were celebrating the successful raise of $500,000 with a whole bunch of our 200 new shareholders.

Moments after the high-fives, backslapping, and congratulatory hugs died down I distinctly remember thinking: “Uh, oh!! Now I’ve got to actually go out and do what I said I could.” It suddenly dawned on me what a difficult year 2015 could become.

WOOOOO!

It has been even more difficult than I could have imagined but, also, so much more rewarding than I could have dreamed.

Having 200 shareholders is the opposite of what everyone would have had me believe when we looked at our capital raising options.

What is pitched, by those more familiar with traditional investment, is the burden of looking after shareholders. The reality, for us, has been shareholders as a source of inspiration and a constant reminder that we’ve followed the right path.

When I broke both my arms on a trip to USA, in July 2015, who was there to do my washing and be my tour guide at the end of each work day? Two of our fantastic shareholders. I couldn’t ever imagine the folk behind a private equity firm washing my undies!

Who would touch Stu's undies. Gross!

Stu with his helpful undie-washing Portland shareholders.

Our shareholders are engaged in positive ways — from buying their beer to share with friends, to being brand ambassadors all over the world, through to providing excellent analysis and thought provoking feedback on our business.

In the year since we raised the capital to grow I have spent 40 weeks in UK, a couple in USA, and only a small amount in New Zealand. I’ve now moved my entire family (and a dog!) to England to pursue the great opportunity we see here.

We could never have pursued this opportunity without the capital invested and our crowd.

The most important thing we have done since raising capital is to take on Zane Smith — Yeastie Boys’ Master of Everything. Zane now runs everything in New Zealand and, although I’m still heavily involved from afar, I couldn’t have made the move to the antipodes (with no UK revenue coming in) without someone like Zane.

I consider myself an accidental entrepreneur — that is, someone who simply loved beer and fell into business — the urgency that I feel on a day-to-day basis probably pegs me as a natural business owner. I’m impatient about everything and it is never done as well as I’d like!

But you soon come to realise that it takes perseverance, and not visionary skills, to get a business kicked off in UK. Perhaps the next time we raise money, I’ll be able to hire the people who can take over the perseverance tasks!

BEERZ

When I look back at the year, we’ve done some things which we couldn’t (or at least wouldn’t) have ever done without our shareholders… we have:

  • more than doubled our staff (albeit only from 1 to 2.5),
  • raised our revenue by 50% since we started producing in UK, and that could have been a lot higher if not hampered by bureaucracy,
  • moved to a model of self-distribution and online retailing in New Zealand, which will result in significantly higher margins and better connection with our customers,
  • embedded the right relationships in UK to build our business from the ground up.

There’s a list, far too long to write here, of what I’d like to have done but haven’t been able to manage yet. But I’m not sure what I’d actually do if that list didn’t exist!

Most importantly, I couldn’t be much happier about changing tack on the way we have done things in 2015.

All this makes the year ahead tremendously exciting. With our processes and bureaucracy (mostly) sorted… Expect to hear big things from Yeastie Boys in 2016.

Who run the world?

While 61 percent of university graduates in New Zealand are women, only 17 percent of NZX-listed board positions are held by ladies (a 5% hike from 2013). Despite the increase, there seems to be a huge disconnect in Who Run The World (hint: not girls). And, sadly, the number of women in leadership positions may be decreasing with female c-suite execs decreasing from 21% to 19% in the same NZX findings. 

There’s a bunch of research that indicates more diversity (from gender, to age, to ethnicity, to abilities, to sexual orientation) is A Good Thing.

We’re not that great at governance diversity at PledgeMe either. Half of our team are amazing women (and then there’s me) but only one of our board members is a woman (yup, me again).

That makes me sad.

I rant talk enough about gender (in)equality to ruffle a few feathers.

I’ve even been told to be “a bit less feminist” by an early investor.

But, if we want to be in a world where gender inequality is a historic relic, we need to start in our own backyard. And board room.

As we announced last week, we are searching for a board member to replace Anake. We’ve already had 30 applications so far, including 12 from women. And, we want more. I’d really like the successful applicant to identify as a woman so we can practice what we preach and hit our internal target of 40% women on the board. 

And, Mr. #notallmen, before you say it:

Yes. We do want the most skilled person.

Often that ol’ “most skilled person” line is used to justify the default stale, pale and male approach.  This response indicates a belief that there aren’t women with those skills. It also shows an unconscious bias from the person using it. Like being on a board is akin to a mission to Mars where only rocket scientists need apply.

Yes, we want skills. We wouldn’t ask someone to be on our board who would feel uncomfortable performing the role required.

 

So what do we want?

An awesome woman with experience providing feedback on strategy and operations, as well as an understanding of the risks involved in being the director of a fintech startup. We’d like someone with skills in branding/marketing, scaling a company, or a legal background. And we want to call bullshit on the assumption that there aren’t heaaaaps of wonderful women with the skills PledgeMe needs. I know there are.

 

We need you to help spread the word

We need help to find someone (preferably a woman) who has the skills we need, the risk appetite for a start up, and who is values aligned with our team.

Who better to ask for help than our crowd. Click one of the links at the bottom to tweet / share the link to this blog with someone you know. Click here for the job description. Click here to apply. Click here to ask me more questions. Click here if you just wanted another option on the clickable side of life.

 

We’re trying harder

I’ve been talking about this for ages. And I send apologies to all the amazing women I have talked to about this for the lack of a structured process and lack of clarity around what we need and want previously. We’re trying harder now because in my mind it’s gone from the ‘nice to have’ to ‘it’s not going to happen if we don’t take direct action and it will help our company’.

Now that PledgeMe is diversifying our product offering, I feel compelled to diversify our board too. I’m going to be sending this blog to the people I’ve ranted to / w(h)ined with in the past and I would love it if you could please share it too.

Here’s the job description.

Here’s the application process that we’re running.

Applications will close Wednesday, 10 Feb 2016.

ps. Thank you to all the amazing applicants that have applied for our board position so far, men and women, you rock.

How to PledgeMe.

The curious tale of what happens after you request a campaign

By the simple act of hitting the request button, suddenly your project idea is real, has form, and has gone off into the internet tubes to be assessed by a team of specially trained mice. Twisted, turned, hummed and haaaa-ed over, tapped, shaken, and rolled out on the floor for a better look.

If you feed PledgeMe cheese, they'll be happy mice.

Pushing that button is starting your project on the path to life, and we have the great joy of receiving it. Sadly we haven’t trained the mice well enough to oversee the process, so it falls mostly to yours truly (Tash) to check it out.

So what happens when you hit the button? You’ve filled out all the fields, told us your life story, and now it disappears into the darkness. You wait with great anticipation, refreshing your inbox every five minutes to see if we’ve replied.

Well, here’s how it goes

  • You request your campaign idea, complete with story, people, reward ideas and funding goal.
  • It pings an alert in my inbox, waiting patiently for my attention. Once (or sometimes twice) per work day, I open the folder which holds all the project notifications.
  • I click through to see what you’ve sent me. At this point all I know is your title, so my anticipation is based solely on your title, so capturing my interest at this point is a sign of a great project. Think of me as the average pledger who doesn’t know you — and write your title with the aim of getting me interested straight away.
  • I read over what you’ve sent. The key things I look for are: specific mention of what your project is about and how you’re going to achieve it, how much money you’re after and what you’re going to spend it on.
  • I hit ‘approve’ if you have all of those things covered, if not, I’ll probably email you to check any details that aren’t clear.
  • If the project primarily reads as if the funding is for charitable purposes, or the project is such there are no possible rewards to be offered, I’ll let you know and point in the right direction to get some assistance.
  • Once I’ve hit ‘approve’, I’ll follow up with an email. It’s full of super useful information about filling in the rest of your project details. It may look long and daunting, but it’s definitely worth reading.
  • Hooray! You can now log in, go to your project and edit ALL THE THINGS.
  • You push the final magical ‘submit’ button.
  • Again, a sparkly email arrives in the mailbox, and I’ll check in on what you’ve done. I’ll make sure you have: a video or main image, a funding goal, a deadline, a solid description and rewards.
  • If any of those key items are missing, or lacking detail, or otherwise a bit wonky, I’ll get in touch with suggestions to straighten them out. You make the edits and submit again.
  • If everything is there and I think you’re on the right track, I hit the final button: PUBLISH! Hooray! And now your project will be live on the site, ready for people to get pledging.

Pro tips

If you want to make the mice super happy, then pay heed to these pro tips.

The PledgeMe mice are happy you're going to follow Tash's pro tips.

  • Allow at least 5 working days for publishing from when you send the initial pitch through. Definitely tell people you are going to run a campaign, build the anticipation so when you can share a direct link everyone is ready to go.
  • Have all the information required before you create the project. It’ll make the process much faster and get your project live sooner, rather than it percolating in the background as a half-filled-in idea.
  • Ask us questions! Not sure about your pitch, your reward ideas or need to check in about the timeframes? We’re always ready and willing with advice – remember this is what we love and do every day!

PledgeMe.Equity/Private

While most Kiwis were at the bach over the holidays, Team PledgeMe were hard at work adding new features to the platform, inventing new products, and searching for a new board member.

But the newest of the shiny new things we’re unveiling is the ability to run private campaigns on PledgeMe.Equity.

PledgeMe.Equity/Private means companies can go out to their crowd, and their crowd only, to secure investment. Companies can raise money through their personal and professional networks and customers, having a bit more control over who sees their information while still going through the PledgeMe process.

I’ve put together a brief FAQ to fill y’all in on what we mean by “private” campaigns.

Q: Why private campaigns? I thought PledgeMe is all about transparency!

A: We are. But we’re also about actively listening to our crowd! They spoke, we listened. We heard from the hundreds of companies we’ve talked to that some would like the ability to do a private round.

The two main reasons people told us they wanted to run a private campaign were:

1. running a friends and family round or an initial investment round (this will be especially helpful for very early stage start ups), and

2. raise through their crowd of customers without showing the world what they’re up to just yet.

Friends and family

Going out to friends and family can be difficult for many entrepreneurs. We’ve had feedback from a few startups who are very interested in using PledgeMe.Equity so potential investors can read, digest and make an informed investment decision in their own time (rather than over Sunday dinner at Aunt Edna’s place).

A private PledgeMe.Equity campaign would provide a structure and a system so both parties are best informed of the potential returns and risks. This is useful for entrepreneurs and interested investors alike.

Not ready to show the world our business

A few companies who PledgeMe has been working with are doing some pretty incredible things but they aren’t quite ready to tell the world (or the National Business Review). In most cases these are high growth companies or businesses with close competition around the same stage in the market.

Private PledgeMe.Equity campaigns will mean these companies — who have stress tested their idea, got a crowd of people ready to invest and who have a clear plan — can push go without any of the public/media focus that comes with a public campaign.

Q: What’s the real difference between public and private?

In terms of readying your company for accepting investment: nothing.

Regardless of running a public or a private campaign, a company is going to need to follow the same process to putting forward an offer on our platform. The only difference is that instead of the offer being visible to anyone on pledgeme.co.nz, it will only go out to those you choose to share it with.

One potential difference for a private campaign is that some of the costs around getting your campaign ready may be reduced or eliminated (compared to public campaigns). Things like pitch videos cost money and, depending on the private campaign, may not be necessary.

Q: What’s the advantage over using PledgeMe versus doing it myself?

PledgeMe charges a 5% success fee on the total raised for all campaigns which reach their funding goals. This cost isn’t for everyone and we know how important cash is for early stage companies. However, there are a few key reasons companies come to us and see value in our service:

• Company Hygiene. In order for any company to use our platform they have to provide a full list of documentation around the investment (which may not be on hand at Aunt Edna’s dinner table). So the process itself is transparent. Companies have to put together a proper business plan, constitution, financials and valuation with assumptions so investors can assess the potential risks and returns.

Taking the personal pressure off asking people close to you. Allowing people to make a decision on their own, but with a clear deadline, is really the best thing for both parties. It means investors don’t rush into something, and it means companies can concentrate on their crowd as a whole, rather than a few people at a time.

A strong foundation for growth. Since you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s the first time around you will carry this knowledge and experience forward for any additional rounds you may do — and your company is already structured to allow for this growth so your eyes can remain on the prize.

When is this going live?

It’s live now! Come have a chat with me if your company want to talk (privately) about this.

Flick me an email here or schedule a meeting directly into my calendar.

Throwback Thursday

The Road that Wasn’t There

Jan 21

This week’s Throwback Thursday hails from July 2012, when the Trick of the Light Theatre Company crowdfunded a play about a girl who follows a map off the edge of the world…

Their PledgeMe crowd helped them take the show, named The Road That Wasn’t There, to the Edinburgh Fringe and then home for a nationwide tour of New Zealand. It was a huge success, winning Outstanding New NZ Play, Most Promising New Director and Production of the Year at that year’s Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, and was remounted last year for a two week season at Circa Theatre.

download (1)But The Road That Wasn’t There hasn’t been Trick of the Light’s only success. The company has performed a series of successful shows all around New Zealand, including The Bookbinder which took them back to the Edinburgh Festival last year.

At the moment, the company is working on a show for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington. It’s called The Devil’s Half-Acre and is pitched at an adult audience, but director Hannah Smith tells us “it is a work that definitely shares DNA with The Road That Wasn’t There”. To find out more and stay up to date on their shows, check out their website here.

Speaking of which? The Road That Wasn’t There is back on the road! They headed off yesterday to tour the show around Australia. So if you or your mates will be hanging in Perth or Adelaide any time soon, check out the season dates below and be sure not to miss it!

Perth @Fringe World Festival
27 Jan – 6 Feb  6pm (no show Sunday/Monday)
The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge
$25 Full | $20 Kids (12 + under)  |  $75 Family | $23 Group 6+
Book at summernights.org.au or fringeworld.com.au

Adelaide @Adelaide Fringe
12 Feb – 20 Feb 6pm
The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide, SA 5000
$25 Full | $18 Kids  |  $20 Companion Card/Honey Pot/Trev
Book at bakehousetheatre.com or adelaidefringe.com.au

What's Up Wednesday

Venture Up

Jan 20

Looking at Venture Up 2016 is a bit like looking directly into the future. It’s a programme run by Creative HQ, in which NZ’s forty finest young entrepreneurs will be brought together in January and February to take part in an entrepreneurship accelerator. They build skillsets, make connections, and get a glimpse into the world of a startup.

The programme is generously funded by Creative HQ, with support from Ministry of Youth and Callaghan Innovation. But they want to make attendance possible for participants from all backgrounds – so they need your help to keep their direct costs low. With their crowd’s support, they hope to raise $25,000 for accommodation and board, which will be matched by their main sponsor Wellington City Council.

And that’s where you come in! By pledging to Venture Up you’re not just supporting a current project, but all the exciting projects of the future too. And you don’t even have to wait too long to reap the benefits! Venture Up is offering a series of awesome rewards, the newest of which are outlined in the video below.

After such an extraordinary update video, we knew we had to go out to the campaigners themselves, and hear about what’s going on behind-the-scenes.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We have loved the support from the PledgeMe Crowd and our communities, but still a way to go in gaining more pledges!

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

We have just released some punchy rewards – all new to boost the final fling into our deadline, including cake, muscle and wet entrepreneurs!

 

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Venture Up is steaming ahead and we want to take you with us! Entrepreneurs, innovators, lovers, dreamers, fighters and philosophers … everyone has an idea. Help us make those ideas reality for New Zealand’s young aspiring go getters! And get some cake while you’re at it!

 

Directing PledgeMe

An acquaintance once told me a good director (on a board of directors, not like Steven Spielberg director) is like having someone on the roof of your car, shining a light onto the road ahead. They aren’t driving (that’s the CEO) or actually in the car (that’s the team) but they make sure you are heading in the right direction, and might occasionally reach into the car to pull the handbrake if they need to.

With Anake leaving our board of directors, we’re on the lookout for someone to jump on the roof of the car that is PledgeMe. That someone needs to be able to shine their fullbeams on our mission to help Kiwis fund the things they care about, our strategy, and oversee our management team.

We’re going to crowdsource applications because… you know… we’re a crowdfunding site. Typically, the hunt for a new board member goes on behind closed doors, but, we’ll be searching for the right person with our crowd’s help. Who is our crowd? Well that’s you! So if you are interested, or you know someone who might be a good fit, have a read of the job description below and apply using the Weirdly form below. If you have further questions then get in touch with either Nick (Chair of the board) or Anna (you know, me).

Details at a glance

Position: PledgeMe Board Member
Length of term: 1 year with the option to renew annually
Applications open: 15 January
Applications close: 10 February
Interviews: 15 February
Directors’ Fees: $1,100 per month (paid in shares / cash annually).

How PledgeMe does governance has evolved significantly since we started up almost four years ago. We started out with the two co-founders setting the direction, doing all the things, and trying to prove crowdfunding was actually a thing New Zealand needed.

Then, we realised we needed outside support. We got a group of smart people together for monthly advisory panel meetings to test our ideas, get feedback, and discuss the best ways to grow PledgeMe.

When we decided to start equity crowdfunding, it became apparent we needed to get serious about governance. It became more formal, with our initial investors in equity crowdfunding becoming our original board members.

After almost two years on the board one of our original board members, Anake, is leaving to focus on his family and other commitments. We’ve decided to go out and find a new director with a fresh perspective. We’re aiming to bring more diversity to our board, and need someone who is ok with the fast pace of a startup and who has the rigour required for being a director on the board of a financial service provider (FSP for you acronym lovers out there).

The sorts of skills you will need

Here’s a list of skills, experiences, and general things we reckon will indicate value-alignment.

Someone who’ll ask good questions

You don’t need to know the answers, but you do need to help us ask the right questions and work toward constructive solutions together. It’s not only about the questions, it’s about sharing your experience and reviewing our work, and chipping in with your informed opinion about the best path forward.

Someone who is ok with a bit of risk (but can manage it too)

PledgeMe likes to do things differently. We want to push boundaries, move quickly, and make a difference. You need to be comfortable with a constantly evolving playing field. To change the world you’ve got to be a bit uncomfortable, right?

Someone constructive

We want to make sure we have a diversity of opinions in our decision making — that’s why we have a board. We don’t have to always agree, but we do need to come to solutions which work. You’ll need to be able to identify and tell us about risks. This needs to be done in a constructive and consensus-focussed way.

Someone who is good with kids

You don’t have to have any. We don’t need a babysitter. In our experience, the best board members are the ones who are great parents / aunties or uncles / mentors. Startups are pretty similar to a teenagers, sometimes you need to protect them from themselves but often you just need to let them make their own mistakes in a safe space.

Someone comfortable with tech

You won’t have to dive deep into the Ruby or be our new scrum master, but we need someone who likes using Google Docs, responds to emails promptly, and who knows how to use platforms like Slack, Trello, and Loomio.

Someone who is comfortable with the financial and legal side of things

You don’t need to be an accountant or a lawyer. But, you should be able to read a balance sheet, and be comfortable with the requirements of being a director. We’re also looking for the new board member to bring experience / skills in branding, scaling operations, and/or a legal brain (though, we’ll still call on our lawyers, Buddle Findlay, as needed).

Who is on the board?

Blog - Board - Nick
Nick Lewis — Nick is an experienced entrepreneur with a history of work in the investment banking space (from JP Morgan through to co-founding Woodward Investments in New Zealand). He is the Chair of our board and independent board member, and started off (back in the day) on our advisory panel.

Blog - Board - Anna
Anna Guenther — Anna is our Managing Director, co-founder and CEO of PledgeMe. She 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. Having roamed around the world, she now calls Wellington home. Anna completed her Masters on crowdfunding and has worked for everyone from NZTE to MIT (and all of the acronyms in between).

Blog - Board - Breccan
Breccan McLeod-Lundy — Breccan manages all things tech for us with the help of the awesome Rabid team. He is passionate about what the next level of crowdfunding could be, and has a beautifully analytical brain. He’s the only board member left in his 20’s…

Blog - Board - Anake
Anake Goodall — Anake, our departing board member, has a strong background in both the public and private sector. This busy man is currently on the boards of Meridian and the Ākina Foundation as well as ours. During his time as CEO of Ngāi Tahu, he developed an intergenerational asset allocation programme around their then $700million portfolio. He’s South Island based. Read our farewell to him here.

04 team and board

 

You? We’d like to add some diversity to the board. That could come in a few forms: gender, age, location, physical ability, orientation, the list goes on… More on this soon.

How our board rolls

The Board has the primary responsibility to oversee the conduct of PledgeMe and to supervise management (who are responsible for the day-to-day activities). In performing its functions, the Board primarily considers the interests of PledgeMe to which its fiduciary duty ultimately resides, and then to its shareholders. It also considers the legitimate interests of other constituents such as employees, suppliers, and customers.

Number of board members

We currently have four board members, and aim for between 3–5 board members at any time, with a mix of skills, backgrounds, and expertise. A quorum is currently 3 board members. Nick was deemed our independent director under the NZX rules, but we aim to get one more independent director. Aiming for 40% female representation, with wider general diversity (age, location, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation).

Chairperson

The Chairperson shall be appointed by the Board on an annual basis (May meeting). The current Chairperson is Nick Lewis.

Term

New directors are appointed at PledgeMe’s AGM or through a resolution passed with the shareholders during the year. Nick will manage the staggering of the board terms, based on interest, their performance and the filling of skill gaps.

Board membership is set to a 1 year term with the ability to renew annually.

Directors’ Fees

Set at $1,100 per month paid annually in arrears and paid in a mix of shares but with enough cash to cover tax implications.

Frequency

Monthly board meetings and occasional discussions on Loomio, though this can be moved to purely online (via Loomio) as needed. 10–15 hrs per month. Board members are required to respond to discussions and emails within two working days.

Board Responsibilities

The Board retains the responsibility for managing its own affairs including the responsibility to:

i) Appoint the Chairman of the Board;

ii) Appoint, review and/or replace the Chief Executive Officer

iii) determine the timing and agenda for Board meetings.

iv) annually review the skills and experience represented on the Board in light of rapidly changing business requirements.

v) recommend the criteria and potential candidates who meet the criteria to the Board.

vi) on the recommendation of the Chair, appoint, determine the composition of and set the terms of reference for Board committees;

vii) approve the terms of reference for the CEO and Chairman.

viii) implement an appropriate process for assessing the effectiveness of the Board, the Board Chair, committees and directors in fulfilling their responsibilities.

ix) assess the adequacy and form of director compensation and make recommendations to the shareholders to approve the director compensation at the Annual General Meeting.

x) assume responsibility for Company’s governance practices and ensure they meet the needs of the shareholders, employees and customers; and

xi) monitor our compliance with our licensing obligations under the Financial Markets authority.

APPLY

So that’s the role and the kind of person we’re looking for. Think it’s you? Then please fill out this application form powered by Weirdly.

UPDATE: Some people have been having trouble filling out the embedded form. If it isn’t working, not saving, or crashing then please click through here and complete it.

Farewelling Anake

strategycupcakes 20150422-12

Anake and the team, very focused on important business as per usual.

This week, we are very sad to announce that the lovely Anake Goodall is stepping down from our PledgeMe board. After two years of hard work, sage advice, and cupcake decoration, he’s decided to move on in order to focus on his family work. So, we went out to the rest of the board to hear what they’re going to miss about Anake.

Our CBB Anna believes one of Anake’s key strengths is his forward-thinking ability. “I often think that Anake has a hundred year plan for PledgeMe (and for me). He has a way at looking beyond the immediate, and really contributes to the strategy and evolution of what we do. That said, he’s got no hesitations at pointing out things that need to be handled immediately, and has contributed a lot to the documenting of policies (with his red pen on hand to point out any typos I might make).”

Board chair Nick also praised Anake’s clear-headedness, saying “he has the enviable ability to rapidly cut through the noise to get to the nub of an issue, while maintaining a nearly spiritual calm about him.” Our other board member Breccan agreed, explaining why he valued Anake’s measured approach: “it’s surprisingly rare to find someone who you still feel so positively towards while they’re disagreeing with you. “

strategycupcakes 20150422-18

Anake and his carefully-crafted poo emoji cupcakes.

But Anake isn’t just thoughtful and business-savvy – he’s also great fun. We asked Anna about one of her favourite memories of Anake:

It would have to be after our Strategy day in April last year. We had a full on day of strategy discussions, and everyone was a little bit brain dead at the end of our day. I had organised a light session making cupcakes with one of our alumni to end the day, but most of the board was too tired / busy to come along.

Not only did Anake come along and decorate cupcakes with us, but he got right into the theme of the cupcakes – poo emojis.

 

When we chatted to Anake about his time at PledgeMe, he also brought up this “memorable post-match function at the cupcake bakery”. He went on to talk about how PledgeMe had changed in his time here:

It’s been wonderful to watch the PledgeMe team grow out into a genuine rounded team of dedicated and enthusiastic and committed members, from very modest beginnings in the early days. This has been possible as a result of the humbling support of the company’s growing shareholder base, and their active support of the PledgeMe promise.

Crowdfunding is a really dynamic space and we know from overseas experience that it is only going to become a bigger and more significant part of our national and local economies. I’ve really enjoyed being on the leading edge of this trend and will continue to watch it closely and support it as I can.

Anake’s next step is working on some of his personal projects, as well as a “very (very) large pile of unread books”. We’re happy for his bookshelves’ sake, but the board has also expressed how much they’re going to miss Anake. For Nick, it will be “his wise counsel, his gentle wit, but most of all, his presence.” Anna added that “he’s been supportive of me in some of my hardest moments, and I know we wouldn’t be where we are today without his support, guidance, and quirky humour.”

So Anake, from all the PledgeMe crew, we want to say a huge thank you. Thank you for your commitment, creativity and endless kindness. PledgeMe wouldn’t be what it is without you.

And as sad as we are to see Anake go, we’re also excited to find out what kind of amazing person will take on his role. If you’re considering getting on board or know someone who should, take this advice from Anake himself:

I really recommend board roles in companies like PledgeMe for those interested in, literally, building the future infrastructure of our community. Anna and her team, and the PledgeMe board members, are all smart and committed people so the next director up will be guaranteed lively conversations and lots of learning opportunities right out there on the leading edge. And a lot of fun and laughter too!