How to: fund the growth of your social enterprise

A group of social entrepreneurs around a table.

Photo cred: Thomas Nabbs from The Waterboy

Two weeks ago we co-hosted our first “Introduction to Investment for Social Enterprises” workshop with Dave and Emma from the Ākina Foundation. It was great for a bunch of reasons, but mainly because of the people in the room. We had a range of ages, stages, and structures of organisations, but an underlying thread of really caring about the future of Aotearoa and the world. People that wanted to do good for their communities, do well as organisations, and grow their impact through investment.

For those of you that couldn’t make it, here’s a quick recap on what we covered:

 

What is social enterprise

Emma from Akina summarised this as an organisation with viable, repeatable, commercial practices that exists to create a social or environmental impact. Simple.

She then ran through examples of different types of social enterprises: profit redistribution, embedded, innovative, and “all of the above”, and the different structures. 

 

General investment readiness

Triangle with top third called "Deal" and bottom two thirds called "Evidence-based business and impact"

Photo cred: Emma from Ākina

We did a quick session on general investment readiness, including the investment readiness triangle (the most important bit is that your enterprise / impact is in order!), what various sources of fund are available (led by Tan), and what it means to do an investment round.

There was a call for the organisations present to be clear on:

  • Their business model & their impact model. Being clear, you don’t need to be set up as a company to have a sustainable revenue model.
  • Their financials – both current and projected
  • And what resources they need both NOW and LATER

We touched on valuation briefly (for social enterprises that were set up as companies), and other forms of finance (both for companies and charities).

 

Crowdfunding101 (but with social enterprise examples)

Image of Pomegranate Kitchen team

Photo Cred: Rebecca from Pomegranate Kitchen

I ran through Crowdfunding 101, and talked about a few social enterprise examples specifically.

Crowdfunding really is as simple as it sounds, you go out to your crowd for funding. You set a specific goal, a deadline, and offer something in return. For projects you offer rewards, for equity you offer shares, and for lending you offer loan notes with set repayment terms.

Social enterprises in some ways have it easier than more traditional businesses, because they have the feel good factor embedded to what they do. But, you still need to show a sustainable business model as well as impact if you’re going for investment in the form of equity or lending.

On the project side, I talked about Pomegranate Kitchen’s campaign (pictured above). They raised $18,350 from 230 pledgers to launch their refugee focussed catering enterprise in Wellington. They offered baklava as one of their rewards, and did an amazing job of bringing a crowd on board really early in their journey (they hadn’t even started when they launched). 

Then I talked about Thought-Wired’s equity campaign where they raised $285,100 from 171 investors to finish their final prototype and commercialise their brain sensing software. Dmitry and the team did an awesome job of showing the work they’d done so far, and activated their community to help them launch (and share) their campaign. A major hat tip to their advisors, who helped at every level of the business.

And, then I ran through Eat My Lunch’s lending campaign, where they raised over $800,000 from 238 investors to improve their technology and launch their buy one give one lunch programme in Wellington. They offered two interest rates – 0% with more lunches gifted, or 6% with fewer lunches gifted, and will repay this loan over the next 5 years. Lending is interesting because you don’t need to be structured as a company to issue loan notes, you could be a charity. 

For the second half of the workshop (after breaking for hot cross buns of course) we gave the attendees the option of what we could cover. They chose these three sessions:

 

  1. Capital strategy – what is it?

Dave ran through what you need to think about when setting up your capital strategy. This is helpful when raising for growth and doing numerous rounds.  You have to think about where the next round is coming from. For each round be clear on:

  • Why do you need money
  • How much do you need?
  • How will you use it?
  • What will you achieve? Achieve – evidence, how are you taking away risk, making next raise cheaper. (Investors may or may not be concerned with this, depending on how established you are.)
  • Where will it come from?

His main tips were was to be easy to deal with, which included:

  • Have your housekeeping in order
  • Be ready to talk
  • Be ready to share

He also ran through this handy dandy chart.

2) Measuring impact – how do you do it?

In order to measure your impact, you need to be clear on what is going to change in the world as a result of what you are doing?

To know that you need to be clear on:

  • Who has what problem?
  • What happens to them / what do they do?
  • What is the outcome of this?
  • What impact does this result in?

When you’re thinking about the problem, you need to be clear on the difference between symptoms and causes. You also need to be aware that systems are complex (you know that, we know!).

Here’s one example Theory of Change:

You need a process for evaluating your impact, not just a product. It should look at understanding how change happens and what your role is in it. Then design your impact, and make it happen. Once you’ve implemented, assess the impact of your effort, and reflect on what happened / why. If it’s not working, iterate. If it is, keep going.

 

3) Locking mission – what are the different ways?

Shows a triangle, the levels from top tip to bottom are: alignment (all people involved are aligned on purpose), business model (mission is part of business model to the point if you changed biz would fail), Limiting investor control, mission lock, asset lock, charitable status.

The final area we discussed was locking in your mission. Emma ran through this triangle. At the top is the loosest way to protect your mission, and at the bottom of the triangle the tightest way to ensure your mission. You need to pick the level that is right for you.


In the end, the event was all about the crowd, meeting people, learning some new things, hearing everyone’s stories and getting feedback from each other. We already knew this, that feeling isolated and working on your organisation in silos can make things feel hard, so coming together can be useful.

We’re looking to run future events around the country, and bring that cohort back together to learn from each other. The cool thing with social enterprise is that if we solve the problems we all win.
Are you interested in having us in your home town? Comment below!

What's Up Wednesday

Dash Rail – Canterbury Commuter Trains

Finding commuting into Christchurch impossible? Having a tricky time travelling around Canterbury? Dash Rail wants to end all of this, with the first community-owned commuter rail operation in the country. And they want you to help them get there.

Dash Rail is noticeable right off the bat, because its campaign target is huge – $1.8 million, to be precise. But for the team behind the project, they have high goals because those are the ones worth reaching for. The Dash Rail team aren’t doing this by halves – they already have plans drawn up for routes, services and timetables. All they need now is the money to get this plan on track.

We had a chat to Tane, who’s behind the project, to hear more about his ambitious plans.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

The stresses of a daily commute in a car during peak hour are unneccessary. And Cantabrians are stressed. The suicide rate has doubled. When I left for Melbourne the city was vibrant and happy, when I arrived home is was dismal to say the very least.  The experience of living overseas gave me a better appreciation for public rail and the difference between commuting with stress and commuting with social media instead and relaxing. Which is a net loss of 10 hours (ish) stress a week.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

The motivation to reach out is multifaceted.  As the generations are changing and the youth are more well travelled than their predecessors, I’m continually bumping into people that have used trains overseas while on OE’s and have wondered why they aren’t being used in Christchurch as everything is built next to the railway lines!!! They need a voice.  And as the rollingstock for such a service is available in Auckland and so cheaply. This has become a race between us (Cantabrians) and Mozambique.

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

We’ll keep getting out there and spreading the message. Thank you all for the great support so far and please keep sharing and spreading the good word.

To help this campaign keep chugging along, head over and pledge right here.

We’re changing our fees

 

We’ve made a big announcement today: we’re changing the fees we charge our users!

We believe that everyone is better off under this new model:

  • The total fee campaign creators are charged will be less (from 7.5% total to 6.5%)
  • If you choose to pledge with your credit card, you as the pledger will be on charged the credit card fee. But, you can fully avoid fees if you choose to direct deposit.
  • There’s tiered pricing for CrowdfundingU, so earlier stage companies and organisations can access it for less.
  • We’ll be earning more for our services. We’ll move from a 5% success fee (which is lower than most crowdfunding providers in New Zealand) to 6.5%.
  • The announcement today is giving a month’s notice to users, and anyone who launches before 1 April will be under our old pricing.

We’ve worked really really really hard to figure out a simple way to do this.

If you have any comments, thoughts, or questions do let us know.

Here’s the full announcement:

 

Kia ora,

 

We’ve got some fee changes coming in the PledgeMe office on 1 April 2017 that we need to let you know about.

Our fee structure currently

Currently, campaign creators are charged a 5% success fee and a 2.5% credit card fee on pledges made on credit cards. That’s around 7.5% in fees, as well as an education programme fee for equity and lending campaigns of up to $1,500 + GST.

How we’re changing our fees

We’re making a few changes to our fee structure to bring us in line with the rest of the industry, but also make it less expensive for our campaign creators.


We’ve decided to:

  • Offer a free payment option so all types of campaigns (project, equity, and lending) will have the option to direct deposit at no cost to the creator or the pledger.
  • Change it so that if pledgers choose to use their credit cards, the credit card cost will be charged to them as pledgers rather than to the campaign creator.
  • Increase our success fee to 6.5%. This is less than our current total fee charged to campaign creators (as it includes the credit card fee), and less than most other platforms in the market.
  • Change our CrowdfundingU six session education programme for equity and lending campaigns to be $750 for those seeking to raise less than $100,000, and $3,000 for those seeking to raise more. Companies will still be able to seek capability vouchers for up to half the cost, read our blog on how capability vouchers work here.

 

What does that mean for campaign creators?

If you create and launch your crowdfunding campaign before 1 April 2017, you will still be under our old fee structure.

 

For example, if you are launching a campaign you’ve created before 1 April 2017 you will pay:

 

Project campaign Equity campaign Lending campaign
  • 5% success fee (GST included)
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.
  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU
  • 5% (zero rated) success fee
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.
  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU
  • 4% (zero rated) success fee
  • Up to 2.5% + 25c per transaction for credit card fees.

 

If you launch after 1 April 2017 you will pay:

 

Project campaign Equity campaign Lending campaign
  • 6.5% success fee (GST included)
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).
  • $750 (campaigns under $100,000) or $3,000 + GST (campaigns over $100,000) for CrowdfundingU (could be half funded by capability vouchers)
  • 6.5% (zero rated) success fee.
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).
  • $750 (campaigns under $100,000) or $3,000 + GST (campaigns over $100,000) for CrowdfundingU (could be half funded by capability vouchers)
  • 5.5% (zero rated) success fee.
  • No credit card fees (these will be paid by your pledger if incurred).

 

So, for example on a $300,000 equity campaign you would pay:

  • $1,500 + GST for CrowdfundingU (if you got a capability voucher for half of the cost)
  • $19,500 zero rated success fee

What does that mean for pledgers?

 

There could now be two fees you pay:

  • When you pledge with a credit card – You can either choose to direct deposit your pledge after a campaign closes, or pay on your credit card. If you choose to use your credit card, the fees associated with using your card will be added on top of your pledge total. These fees are currently 2.5% of the total, and 25c per transaction attempt.
  • The 1% repayment fee on lending campaigns – this hasn’t changed, you will still be charged 1% of the principal amount as repayments are made.

If you have any questions, comments, or gif offerings, let us know on contact@pledgeme.co.nz!

Cheers,

Anna

 

Fee structure as at 1 April 2017

PledgeMe.Project creator

6.5% success fee (GST inclusive) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline

PledgeMe.Equity creator

6.5% success fee (zero rated) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline

PledgeMe.Lend creator

5.5% success fee (zero rated) charged to campaign creator if goal met by deadline. Note: there will also be fees to the pledger of 1% of principal repayment.

CrowdfundingU

$3,000 + GST for 6 session programme. Required for all Equity and Lending campaigns. Reduced to $750 + GST for campaigns under $100,000

Pledgers

The cost of using your credit card will be passed onto you if your card is charged, currently this is 2.5% + 25c per transaction attempt.

1% of the principal repaid to pledgers on PledgeMe.Lend campaigns (note: no fee on the interest earned)

Sales is Like Friendship

We love making things simpler here at PledgeMe. We’ve created three simple ways to involve your crowd and bring your ideas to life: Project, Equity & Lend. And we love the power of simple analogies. We want to make it more simple for more people to get their heads around startups. So many aspects of startup life are abstract and tough to grasp, and the guides that are supposed to help just leave you without a ground-level understanding of what’s what. We’ve found that one of these murky areas is sales.

So what is sales?

We used to think sales was greasy. That’s the misconception that’s planted in many of our minds. We hear “sales”and we recoil a little bit. We think “manipulating”, “ruthless”, “soulless”and “squeezing problems to fit a solution.” But with Tan now guiding us as we sail the selling seas, we’ve realised something. Sales is like friendship.

Simply put, sales is about exchanging stories, understanding one another, planning to do stuff together and then doing stuff together. Sounds like friendship, huh? It’s about meshing your different perspectives and skills together so that you can help each other get stuff done, and get it done better. It’s all about that real relationship that you create together with your customer and the time that you spend connecting.

So much of sales is letting your customer hear the real story – why you’re doing what you’re doing, your journey so far and your vision – and helping them believe in it enough to want to be a part of that story. But arguably, the most important thing about sales is passing the mic and listening to them. Asking questions to understand your customer’s problem so that you can truly empathise with them.


Your customer isn’t king (controversial!)…your customer is a friend who you create an authentic relationship with, who you can sit with on the same level and enjoy spending time with. Magic happens when friends get together. You make each other’s lives better.

What we learnt in 2016

Another year older, another year of helping kiwis doing the things they care about. And, in some ways another year wiser. Or at least, another year of learning under our belt.

While not every campaign makes their goal (and we feel that, deeply), we see so much more happening through the platform than money being processed. We see friends supporting friends, new friendships made, things other than dollar bills being offered, and hard work turning into more (but better funded) hard work.

I’m writing this while on holiday (turns out, I’m not so good at completely shutting off). After two weeks of almost screen-free days, I feel like I can properly reflect on the last year’s highs (and lows) with a bit of distance and sort-of hindsight. And, instead of just talking about all the good things, I’d like to share some of our learnings, too. Because, if we want Aotearoa New Zealand to be a better funded and more equitable place, we have to share not just the highlight reel, but the lessons learnt.


 

You need to look at the numbers. And, sometimes you’re looking at the wrong numbers.

In 2016 we had over $5 million processed in successful campaigns: over 150 project, 5 equity, and 2 lending campaigns. This brought us to over 1,100 campaigns funded since we started in 2012. We had a 16% increase on dollars pledged to successful campaigns than the previous calendar year, but a decrease in the number of campaigns.

For a lot of this year it didn’t feel like that would happen. We had a super slow start, for a whole bunch of reasons. Despite that we still grew on the dollars pledged to successful campaign side. And, even more awesomely, we grew even more on the revenue side. We added a new revenue stream (in a way that we hope helps our campaigners) meaning our revenue increased 30% from the previous year.

We also broke the record for the fastest campaign to reach the $2million cap in New Zealand, and broke our own records for most funded campaign when that happened.

We had so many different crowdfunders – from an urban winery to a refugee catering company, from the Spinoff’s War for Auckland to 8 teams from Diocesan School for Girls.

So, even though our numbers were patchy (nothing new there) and our numbers declined in some areas (fewer project campaigns, but more large campaigns), we still grew in size and impact. You need to regularly step back from the day-to-day and see what the numbers are saying.

 

New shiiiiiit. You have to constantly be improving (and listening to your team).


We launched PledgeMe.Lend, and had our first two successes (Eat My Lunch and Denheath). This was mainly due to a mammoth effort by our team member Barry in convincing our board it was a good move, creating a simple offering, going through the licencing process, and managing the technical build. And, we’re stoked. PledgeMe.Lend extends so much further than just Auckland based “high growth” companies. It could help community organisations, schools, companies based outside of Auckland, anyone who has a revenue stream to help repay the loan and interest, and it could help their crowd support them too.

TePapapaLunch1 copy

We also launched a private version of PledgeMe.Equity and had our first two successes there too (with over $400k pledged). Originally, I was against this idea. I thought that it undermined the transparency that I thought underpinned crowdfunding. But, with the help of my team, I realised that private crowdfunding is still transparent, still a place for questions and feedback, but just with a smaller circle of potential pledgers. It’s great for companies that are super early stage, for companies that don’t want to go too wide (or get too much media coverage).

 

You can’t just go it alone.

It’s easy to think you know best, and you don’t need any help. But when you’re starting (and growing) a company, you should be constantly finding people to help and accelerate what you do.

Recently, we hired Tan, our first sales person! We’re excited to have one person whose sole job is to get campaigns through the door, so we can do what we do well – helping them reach their goals.

The hiring process is hard though. We don’t always get it right, especially in areas we don’t know a lot about. So we’re constantly improving, refreshing, and figuring out how to do work and team better. And, that means being open to flexible working, supporting folk with families, and checking our assumptions around what (and how) work should be done.

We also announced our partnership with the Akina Foundation, to help more social enterprises crowdfund. We’ve grown up a lot since we first met this crew, but we’re still as aligned with their values as we were on day one. So, we’re excited that we finally managed to put a ring on it.

 

You can’t just talk about diversity.

We realised we weren’t walking the talk around diversity with our board, so we wrote a blog about it. Then we went through a rigorous process to find and hire a new director (in the end, we had over 100 amazing applicants, and we hired two directors: Mel and Jessica). We wrote a blog about the process, to help other people find new board members.

 screen-shot-2016-05-04-at-4-44-18-pm

Leading on from this (and some other work that I’ve been doing) I helped co-instigate an unconference for Women Who Get Sh*t Done in New Zealand. We had 120 women and kids come along for a weekend of learning, sharing, and growing. In 2017, we’re hoping to have three events up and down the country, scaling the number of women we can get along.

group-shot-wwgsd

Sometimes you need to retreat to move forward.

13413558_10157254630785556_3308911908737007131_nMy team decided I needed a holiday so bad, they did a secret crowdfunding campaign to send me to Samoa. The time away then (and now) has provided me with the space I needed to really review, plan, and relax. And the space to not burn out. The reward of me wearing my onesie to Samoa was not ideal though….

 

Apart from forced interventions, I regularly get time out with other entrepreneurs to help with this, including my quarterly female founder retreats that I wrote about here.

 

You don’t get to keep the awesome people forever.

Some of our amazing PledgeMe team moved on to new adventures in 2016: Lana to be the GM of Raygun, Jackson to AirBnB, Will to Canada / the US, Rory to running a design shop.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-10-15-57-am

I think that’s partially another sign that the way we work is different – people move from role to role, learning, doing, and improving. We’re stoked to have the team rocking out all over, and often coming back to visit and help us out when we need it. But we do miss their smiling faces on Team Skypes.

 

You also can’t get good media coverage forever.

We got our first real slamming in traditional media this year. Previously, it had just been kept to the comments sections, but this was different, and it honestly stung. But, it gave us this opportunity to update our crowd and talk about where to from here. And, as one of our board members put it, we weren’t going to have a good run forever, so we might as well start learning how to deal with less than effusive coverage as well as the good stuff.

 


 

My final learning, and something I’m grappling with at the moment is: It’s easy to make something complicated, it’s hard to make something simple. We need to be constantly striving to make things easier, simpler, and better for our users and for New Zealand.

What will 2017 bring? Well, according to our strategy, an attempt at doubling our revenue, getting the word out about PledgeMe.Lend, and helping more kiwis fund the things they care about.

What did you learn in 2016? We’d love to hear.

Custardy countdown

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-2-12-02-pmDenheath Desserts is the quintessential kiwi start up story. A business that started as a small cafe in Pleasant Point with an amazing custard square recipe has now become an international custard square exporter.

How did it start?

Lisa started working at the cafe as a kid, making the squares as part of her work. Her mother loved the custard squares, and basically bought the cafe for the recipe. She grew the cafe, and her dying wish was for the company to grow and start exporting.

Lisa and her husband Donald took that wish and ran with it, expanding their operations first in New Zealand and then internationally. They started by going to cafes in Canterbury and giving away free samples, and were soon doing daily deliveries up to Christchurch (with Donald leaving at the crack of dawn every morning). 

Now, they are exporting to Australia, South Korea and Japan, and tailoring the square sizes to suit each market (some are perfectly chopstick-sized!)

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-2-11-45-pm

But, they want to grow bigger. They want to export to New York, they want to sell in more New Zealand stores countrywide, and they want to grow their team in Timaru (and improve the technology used by their business).

The money they are raising from their crowd isn’t for shares or rewards though, it’s loan notes. So the money will be repaid over time with an 8% annual interest rate.

They are passionate about local economic development, and are unashamedly South Islanders. They’ve often been told that to succeed they need to move to Auckland, but with the cost of living lower in Timaru, and the cost of shipping from their port on par with shipping from Auckland, they want to stay. They want to employ local people, support their local economy, and stay in the region they love.

And, we believe that in a world where things like Brexit and Trump can occur, that kind of attitude is what’s needed. Actually providing jobs in the regions is the antidote to the underbelly of urbanisation.

Where to next?

Today, they create 10,000 custard squares a day and export to Australia, South Korea and Japan.

With your funding, they are aiming to create 35,000 custard squares a day and expand their exports to New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

As a side note, we had a custard square eating competition when they were touring the country:

And, Tan, our latest hire (good hire) was victorious:

If you’d like to support this local business with big dreams, check them out here: pldg.me/custard

What's Up Wednesday

The Taco Cleanse!

nov-16

Imagine it: a world without prejudice. A world where coeliacs, vegans, vegetarians and omnivores can all eat together in harmony. A world where the food they’re eating looks after the planet and the people making it, while still tasting really, really, good. That is the world that the team behind Boquita are creating – and they’re bringing it to central Wellington!

Boquita is brought to you by the team behind La Boca Loca, some of our favourite alumni. They’ve been feeding the fine people of Miramar with top-rate tacos for years, but now they’re ready to branch out and bring the taco goodness to all Wellingtonians.

But they’re not just asking for your money. They’re offering something wonderful in return: The Taco Cleanse. Scientists in Austin, Texas, have confirmed that a taco-centric diet is beneficial to well being – and who are we to argue with science?? So by pledging to Boquita, you can partake in the taco cleanse – replacing as many meals as you like with tortilla-based goodness. We’re yet to find a better path to a bikini body. But if you’re not 100% sure if the taco cleanse is right for you, the team at Boquita have put together some helpful questions:

  1. Do you experience recurring feelings of hunger on a daily basis?
  2. Do you experience a range of emotions?
  3. Do you like food?
  4. Do you enjoy eating your food with your hands?

If you answered yes to all of these, a taco cleanse may be right for you. But if you’re still on the fence for some reason, we had a chat to the taco team themselves to find a few more reasons why you should be pledging:

1. How are you finding the campaign so far?

Lots of fun! One of the things I love the most about crowd-funding is the incredible boost we get from having our community get behind what we are doing, even we’re doing things that are a bit out there – like launching Wellington’s first Taco Cleanse and opening New Zealand’s first 100% plant-based taco joint. We have an incredibly supportive, generous community of customers and friends at La Boca Loca, and we’re thrilled to find out that they’re as excited as we are about Boquita.

This isn’t our first campaign with PledgeMe and what we’ve learned is that these campaigns are so much more than a way to raise money. They’re about building a community of support around an idea, and giving everyone who wants it the chance to be a part of making something new happen.

Having people in our community put their money behind our ideas and plans is a huge boost in morale, and in the past we’ve also found that those people went on to be great champions for our projects once they launched.

We hope that will happen with the Taco Cleanse and Boquita as well.

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

Yup! We have some new rewards which will be added in the days to come, and we have a live event planned for next week – a chance for Wellington to learn more about the science behind the taco cleanse! More on that soon.

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

Just a massive thanks for being awesome! And remember that taco cleanses are more fun in a crowd. So if you’ve already pledged to take the Taco Cleanse challenge, make sure you get your friends to pledge too!

To find out more about Boquita and start your cleanse, take a look at their campaign page right here.

North Island Roadie: complete!

Earlier this year we did our South Island roadtrip. It was a cold 10 days, but a heart warming experience of supportive crowds, beds offered (despite our rocking Jucy caravan), stories shared, and relationships formed/deepened.

And, our second road trip around the North Island was no different, except for maybe the overall temperature – spring was definitely a warmer time to travel! We stopped in 8 towns (well, 9 if you count the fact we were in Wellington twice) over 9 days and presented to over 250 people.

In our first three days we met with over 100 people in Palmerston North and Whanganui (with a small pre-event in Wellington).

palmerston-north-event

The team at BCC really pulled out all the stops. If you are ever in Palmerston North, and want to be connected into the entrepreneurial crowd, this has to be your first stop. Not only did they organise pretty much everything (including spring rolls for the road), they kept us caffeinated and Dave lent us his parents’ house for the night. I think it may have been partially a ploy to get me offline, as they were out of reception range, but it was beautiful waking up on a lifestyle block in the middle of the North Island.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-3-12-04-pmIn Whanganui the local chamber sponsored our event, and we got some good media coverage. The folk at Double Farley let us use their beautiful space, and then the locals took us out for some tacos (we love tacos if the current La Boca Loca campaign is anything to go by…).

 

From there we went on to New Plymouth, where we spent the weekend with an old friend of mine. Barry surfed, and I tried the local cafe and macaroon scene.

Our Monday morning session in New Plymouth was packed out, with the BDO crew sponsoring and the beautiful Manifold space hosting. We had quite a few potential campaigners pitch their ideas to the crowd that attended, and a breadth of ideas and range of companies.

From there we drove back to Wellington for the launch of the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator, and then flew on to Tauranga.

There we had a local journalist from the NZ Herald through, creating this short video on our event at Basestation. It was great to see so many people turn up on Melbourne Cup night, and we even had one current campaigner show up in roller-skates to talk about her project. 

Onward and northward we went, with three more fantastic crowds in Hamilton, Auckland, and Whangarei.

We met with company founders, not-for-profit champions, social enterpreneurs, artists, writers, musicians, you name it.

One of the coolest things for us was to meet some of our alumni along the way, including Ash from ONESIXSIX in Whāngārei where they crowdfunded the rates on their community space, and Adam in Auckland who crowdfunded his children’s book. It’s always so much more powerful to have people in the room that can share their personal learnings.

Ash and Barry in front of ONEONESIX

Ash and Barry in front of ONEONESIX

While we were on the road three of our South Island Roadie alumni were running their campaigns, and TWO hit their goals: Urbn Vino and Em’s Power Cookies. Both of them are food and beverage products from the regions, doing things a bit different. Here’s what Em said about our visit in July:

As you might be aware we did it!! Big thanks for helping me. This whole process has actually impacted more than I ever expected. A few months ago I was feeling disillusioned and burned out. This project has forced me out of my comfort zone and helped to give me a direction and general motivation with my business. As you know there is a lot of background work that goes with this, despite “just” doing a project vs. equity funding. Getting my business plan polished has helped with attracting a couple inner circle investors. And I probably wouldn’t have gotten there in this time frame had you not visited Westport.”

We hope more campaigns come out of our visit both to the South Island earlier this year, and the North Island last week.

We want founders and doers to realise that the money they need might be a lot closer to them than they thought, and that the process of crowdfunding might bring so much more than the funding. It can activate their existing crowd, strengthen relationships they already have as well as going wider.

Big thanks to everyone who helped make our latest North Island roadie a success, including:

  • Our sponsors: Whanganui Chamber of Commerce, BDO Taranaki, TUANZ and Hive.
  • The people that let us stay in their wonderful homes to stay (including, Nicola, who had only moved in at 8am the morning that she invited us to stay! We tried to help her unpack the next morning, we hope you can find all your utensils….)
  • The co-working spaces and venues that let us use their spaces, including: The Biz Dojo Wellington, BCC Palmerston North, Double Farley Whanganui, Manifold New Plymouth, Basestation Tauranga, Wintec, Enspiral Dev Academy Auckland and the Orchard Whāngārei.
  • Everyone who shared the event, or co-hosted it for us.
  • Barry, for putting up with a whole week of me (and doing the lion share of driving so I could try and keep on top of my inbox… Try being the imperative word).
  • And, most importantly, everyone who pledged to come along.

Hitting the road (again)

Earlier this year we went on a road trip to the South Island, meeting with companies and organisations from Invercargill to Westport (and lots of towns in between) to talk about equity crowdfunding and crowdlending.

It was an eye opening experience for us. We met so many founders and doers, who were extremely interested in how to do capital raising, and excited about the idea of going to their crowds.

Over 10 days, we met with over 200 people. We learnt a lot about the local initiatives, and shared some stories of inspiring things we’ve seen too.

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Now, we want to do it again, but across the North Island. Here’s our plan (currently):

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Do you want us to come to your town? Flick us a note and we’ll see if we can add a stop for you in.

Like last time, we need to raise $400 for each centre to cover our costs to get there.

We’re excited about the opportunity to meet you all.

xx Anna and team PledgeMe

What's Up Wednesday

The Wanaka Bag

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By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Every year, we are each (on average) responsible for 350 plastic bags, which are each used for a total of about 12 minutes before being thrown away to end up in a landfill. The group at Plastic Bag Free Wanaka were sick of seeing plastic pollution clogging up their town – so they decided to do something about it.

And so, they created The Wanaka Bag, a limited edition, eco-friendly and super-trendy handmade bag. Each one is unique, and hand-crafted by dedicated locals, who want to see Wanaka free of single-use plastic bags by 2019. With the funds raised from this first run of limited-edition bags, they can fund 1000 more Wanaka Bags to be produced commercially, and sold to stop the people of Wanaka creating more plastic pollution.

They’ve already shot past their $5,500 dollar target, but you’ve still got 19 days to get on board and support a future free of plastic pollution.

We loved not only the innovation of this team, but also their enthusiasm – and so we got in touch with Anna from the team to hear more about it:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We knew our town would be supportive but we’re totally blown away by the support so far. We’ve even had folks from far and wide who share our love of Lake Wanaka and who have pledged. It’s very cool to think of them sporting one of our bags/bottles/karma cups on the other side of the world.

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

Creating 200 really high-quality bags has been a huge project in itself and keeping the town spirits up, the incentives high and the ball rolling has been a project in itself. Admittedly however, we didn’t expect the bags to get snaffled up quite so quickly so we’re currently conspiring amongst our committee to see what else we can offer to our amazing community so those that missed out on a bag don’t feel left out. We want everyone who wants to support to have a way to wave the banner.

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

As cheeseballs as it sounds, we just want to do a shout out to our town and community. We’re in a really unique environment and position, with a town so full of community-minded, pro-active and positive people. We get that not every town is like this, and we’re incredibly grateful for the wonderful locals who have jumped right in behind us to sew, support, sneak in and clean our sewing spaces, offer fabrics and food to share. You name it! No one has missed a beat! It’s one of those happy-glow moments where you can only revel in the warmth of the moment. Thank you Wanaka! The joy of bringing this opportunity is hugely amplified by having so much encouragement and support!

To provide even more encouragement and support, head over to Plastic Bag Free Wanaka’s campaign and get pledging while you still can!