International Inspiration & Home Truths: Coffee

Our series “International Inspiration and Home Truths” shares some of the crowdlending stories we’ve heard from far and wide, brings that inspiration back to Aotearoa, and hears from the enthusiasts who’ve helped us to imagine what crowdlending could look like for a range of Kiwi organisations. This week we’re waking up and smelling the coffee (roasteries and cafes)!

(Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee because I’m allergic to caffeine. Or so my mam told me when I was eight. It’s only recently that I realised that it could well be a masterminded social experiment that she created to test my obedience. So as I always listen to Mammy I must admit that, as I write this blog, I am not powered by any beautiful blended beans.)

Coffee is more than a commodity. It has become a craft. An art-form to appreciate, to indulge in and to share with others. Coffee brings people together. Heck, workers in sectors like tech would fall over if it wasn’t for their daily dose of black gold.

Can communities of conscious-coffee-consumers play an important role, by supporting their favourite roasteries and local cafes beyond just drinking the good stuff that they’re creating? They can indeed… by funding the growth of the brands and the communities of which they’re a part.

For coffee creators and cafes countrywide, crowdlending can be an opportunity to not just fund new ideas and expansion plans, but to rally the community and give them that sense of ownership over their space and encourage loyalty through that deeper sense of belonging. And the financial reward that comes from their loan stays within their community.

What’s happened around the globe?

Three very different campaigns, from three different companies, raising money for three different things through crowdlending.

First up, The Art of Coffee in Dublin borrowed €7,200 to buy a top-of-the-range sandwich machine for their newly opened third cafe. Along the way they discovered a crowd of new customers who filled the cafe in the months that followed.

Then there was Seattle’s organic cafe and bakery Chaco Canyon, who last year raised $45,000USD to soothe the growing pains of operating three locations with 80 staff and speed up their environmental sustainability drive. Co-owner Chris Maykut showed his gratitude to their crowd, “Chaco has always existed to support the community, and in turn you have supported us with incredible enthusiasm and generosity through the years.”

Grind & Co Espresso Bars are a funky bunch (they’ve got a cafe-cum-recording studio in the heart of London!). In 2015 they offered an 8%, 4-year loan to their crowd and raised £1.3million. With the money they raised they opened a fifth store and brought their bean roasting in-house.

What could happen closer to home?

Imagine, a local cafe bringing in their own mini-roaster so that the coffee they create is made from the freshest of beans. Imagine the collective voice of their crowd of lenders helping to expand their local favourite cafe and pull in more of the community to share the quality experience.

Imagine, a truly sustainable Kiwi roastery growing their impact on the whole of their fair chain by borrowing from their crowd. Imagine the interest earned on their loan not just rewarding their community of lenders, but part of the reward benefiting their bean growers too.

Have you got the sweet aroma of coffee crowdlending in your nostrils? Let’s chat!

International Inspiration & Home Truths: Sports clubs

Our series “International Inspiration and Home Truths” shares some of the crowdlending stories we’ve heard from far and wide, brings that inspiration back to Aotearoa and hears from the enthusiasts who’ve helped us to imagine what crowdlending could look like for a range of kiwi organisations. The next type of organisation spilling over the top of our box of inspiration is sports clubs.

Sport is an essential part of many of our lives. A good chunk of us build our identities around the sports we play, watch and follow. Whether it’s rugby or racing, surfing or squash, there’s a little bit of us that belongs to that sport. Our team are no different: for Tan it’s tennis, for Kelsey it’s football, for Barry it’s futsal and for Anna…well, is cheese a sport?

At the core of our sporting-lives is a community of people that get the same buzz that we do ourselves – club members that get such joy out of being involved with and having a sense of ownership over our clubs. Sports clubs are constantly building crowds of members, players, fans and followers.

So have sports teams borrowed from their crowds before? Indeed they have. German football club Hertha Berlin F.C. broke crowdlending records a year ago when they raised €1million in ten minutes from their fans and members. As part of their “Hetha 4.0” strategy, they wanted to refresh their online identity and become the most innovative and inclusive club in Germany.

It’s not just big professional outfits that crowdlending can work for. Fin McCool Surf School on the shores of Donegal in Ireland borrowed €20,000 from their crowd to refurbish their clubhouse last March.

What could happen closer to home?

Imagine, a kiwi surf lifesaving club borrowing interest-free from their members to refurbish their wind battered clubhouse. Rallying their crowd to improve their common home whilst rewarding them by paying them back over time.

The enthusiast who’s inspired us

Geoff Lewis got us thinking about crowdlending for sports clubs when he and Anna crossed paths last year. He’s a proud member and President of Thorndon Tennis and Squash Club in Wellington.

Who are you, and what do you do?

We are the Thorndon Tennis and Squash Club.  As a tennis club, we were established in 1879 making us, we believe, the oldest tennis club in New Zealand.  Even Wimbledon started only a few years before the Thorndon Club! Our vision is to be a thriving, dynamic tennis and squash club in the heart of Wellington. To help achieve our vision, we are striving to upgrade our facilities, some of which are showing their age!  One important project is to upgrade our two existing lawn tennis courts into modern, high-quality playing surfaces for all-year-round use.

What do you think about crowdlending?

Upgrading our lawn tennis courts requires a substantial capital spend. We are hoping to fund this partly with grants from gaming trusts and partly with additional income from a larger member base and from using one existing court as a mid-week parking facility. To bridge the timing gap between the capital spend not covered by grants and future income, we think crowdfunding via loans from our members and supporters is the way to go.  Our lenders will earn interest on their funds, feel good about helping the club, and feel secure about getting their money back over time.

What are your concerns about crowdlending in New Zealand?

Crowdlending in New Zealand is still relatively unknown. At the same time, more stringent financial regulations in New Zealand require a professional approach to raising funds.  We think for a modest-sized sports club such as ourselves, it makes sense to use a crowdlending platform like PledgeMe to ensure that all the legal and technical boxes are ticked.

What excites you about it?

If crowdlending helps Thorndon Club to build two brilliant new tennis courts, and upgrade other facilities such as our four squash courts, it will be a very exciting achievement for us and for the inner-city community of Wellington who I’m sure make great use of them.

A little bit curious about how crowdlending can work for your local club? Chat to us!

How does crowdlending compare to borrowing from a bank?

When it comes to borrowing money for your business or organisation, you’ve got a good handful of options. There’s a bank loan, there’s other peer-to-peer lending platforms and there’s crowdlending with PledgeMe.Lend. Steer clear of high-interest payday lenders or other disguised loan sharks – their high interest rates and hidden terms can end up putting you under severe pressure. And if you’re raising significant amounts of money, don’t use your overdraft facility or credit cards, because the high interest rates attached to them are meant to only be used to fill short term funding gaps.

One big question we get is: how does crowdlending compare with a bank loan and the other peer-to-peer lenders in New Zealand? How do they measure up when it comes to cost, time and benefits beyond the money. Figuring out what’s most important to your organisation will help you make the right call for you. Here’s our take on four important factors: cost, time, your chances of getting a loan and the benefits beyond money that you might want to see.


The costs of borrowing money come in a few different shapes. There’s the interest rate that you pay to your lenders. There’s the arrangement fees for putting the loan in place. And for crowdlending and peer-to-peer platforms, there’s campaign success fees and preparation fees to consider.

Let’s take a look at a 5 year unsecured loan of $200,000 (that you’re gradually paying back over time, as well as paying the interest) through PledgeMe.Lend, from a bank and through another peer-to-peer lending platform


Total cost of $57,100

  • Interest rate of 8%
  • Interest cost over 5 years: $44,600
  • CrowdfundingU fee: $1,500 (½ of the $3,000 fee if you get it covered by capability vouchers)
  • Success fee (of 5.5%): $11,000

Bank loan

Total cost of $69,400

  • Interest rate of 12%
  • Interest cost over 5 years: $68,900
  • Arrangement fee: $500

Other P2P Lending (LendingCrowd)

Total cost of $76,550

  • Interest rate of 13%
  • Interest cost over 5 years: $75,100
  • Platform fee: $1,450

One other thing to consider is the timing of the different costs. The cost of CrowdfundingU will be upfront, as will the bank arrangement fee. The crowdlending success fee and the platform fee happen once your campaign is successfully funded, and they can be budgeted into the amount that you raise. The interest cost will be spread over the life of the loan.


One other thing to consider is the timing of the different costs. The cost of CrowdfundingU will be upfront, as will the bank arrangement fee. The crowdlending success fee and the platform fee happen once your campaign is successfully funded, and they can be budgeted into the amount that you raise. The interest cost will be spread over the life of the loan.

What’s a reasonable expectation of having the money in your hands to go do the thing you want to do. From application to money in your account (if they give you the thumbs up) a bank will typically take two to six weeks to process your loan – they’ll carry out a business assessment and a household income assessment to help make their decision.

Other peer-to-peer platforms have quick self-assessment applications and (if you get through) you can have you loan campaign up live in a day or so.

For PledgeMe.Lend, our approach is more human-focused and takes longer. You can see if you’re ready to borrow in the space of five minutes by taking our self-assessment CRED. We’ll then chat to hear your story, see what you have planned and give you some hints to get your crowdfunding ball rolling. We’ll work with you one-on-one for six weeks to prepare your offer documents, map out your crowd and draw up your plan of how you are going to get your crowd aware, informed and excited. A typical lending campaign will roll for four weeks and we take up to two weeks to get the money processed and into your account. So all in, to run an effective crowdlending campaign, you’re looking at three months from start to finish.

Your chances of raising the loan

Banks can be quite selective – if you don’t own your own house and are willing to put it up as security, then your chances of getting a loan are pretty slim. Putting up your personal assets to secure your business’ loan is a big obstacle. And realistically, if you really want to borrow from your bank, you’ll have no choice over the matter.

Your chances with crowdlending depend more on the crowd that you’ve cultivated around you, how involved they feel and how well you can communicate with them. We help you to nut all of this out through CrowdfundingU. Showing that you can repay your loan by passing our CRED is the other hurdle for you to fly over.

Benefits beyond money

Ask yourself, what are the things that you want to get out of raising money beyond the money itself? Through PledgeMe.Lend the cost of borrowing may be lower, but the real power of crowdlending through us are the benefits that money can’t measure.

Do you want to have the final say over the terms of your loan? Is that element of control and choice important to you and your crowd? Do you want the return from your loan to line the pockets of an institution or people you don’t really know, or do you want the benefit to go to those you do? Do you feel uneasy using your own home to get the loan you need, closely tying your personal life to the risk of your organisation not being successful?

Does empowering your community to be the key part of your journey appeal to you? Is that sense of togetherness and belonging something that you want to create? Do you want to build your brand awareness and improve your organisation’s public profile? Do you want to show how innovative and inclusive a collective you are? Or do you want to find a sustainable way of raising money that you can come back to, to fund your exciting future plans?


Each company and organisation will have different priorities when it comes to these four factors. Take the time to reflect on what’s important for you, and with a clear mind, you’ll make the right choice.

International Inspiration & Home Truths: Craft Beer

Our series “International Inspiration & Home Truths” shares some of the crowdlending stories we’ve heard from across the globe, and brings that inspiration back to Aotearoa. You’ll find out what’s happening overseas, but also hear from some of the enthusiasts who’ve helped us to imagine what crowdlending could look like for a range of kiwi organisations. The second area we’re diving into is craft beer (one of our favourite things).

The UK is dominating the craft beer crowdfunding market

BrewDog are arguably leading the way internationally on the crowdfunding front. They’ve done four rounds of Equity for Punks, and have raised over £26million ($49million NZD) from 50,000 investors for their Scotland-started craft beer company.

It all started with two men and a dog. Their first pitch video in 2009 shows much younger, less hip versions of the founders James Watt and Martin Dickie. They stand earnestly in front of their brewery kit sharing their big plans for their beer.

Equity for Punks from BrewDog on Vimeo.

They took a huge leap, from starting in 2007 to becoming a publicly listed company in 2009. Their first round closed in February 2010 and saw the punk founders raise over £642,000 from 1,350 investors. Their early supporters not only got shares in the company, but also beer discounts and an invite to the annual general meeting, which you could literally call a piss up in a brewery. Though, now it’s a piss up over 10 different bars. Here’s a video recap of their latest AGM:

#PUNKAGM17 Recap from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Not ones to shy away from bold statements, in 2015 during their Equity for Punks IV round the founders took to a helicopter and dropped taxidermied “fat cats” onto the city of London. Over the following 12 months they raised over £19m from their crowd, making it one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in history.

Equity for Punks IV – Death to the Fat Cats from BrewDog on Vimeo.

But, their latest move into the crowdlending space is arguably their most exciting move yet.

“This is funding for the 21st century”

Their BrewDog Bonds II were launched late 2016, and they raised their maximum goal of $10million from 2,699 investors in less than 30 days.

The BrewDog Bond from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Their mini bond offered their investors a 7.5% interest rate over four years, as well as beer discounts. The bonds were focussed on accelerating growth, both in the UK and in America where they are currently building a new factory in Ohio.

Today, Brew Dogs have held the title of the fast growing food and beverage company in the UK the last four years, and have been profitable since 2008. They have revenue exceeding $70million, over 800 “passionate people” working for them and 50 brew bars all over the globe.

Recently, BrewDog’s sold 23% of their company to TSG Consumer Partners for £213m, which gives their investors from their first round in 2010 a 2,800% return (though, they are capped at selling 40 shares in this round of shareholder buy backs).

And the UK influence has sailed across the sea to Ireland

You don’t have to be a monumental punk-backed beer behemoth to borrow from your crowd. Local independent brewery from County Wicklow (where Barry’s clan are from!), O Brother Brewing, borrowed a modest €20,000 from their crowd to expand their brewery and create an experiential tour for the passers-by.

One of the three-brother strong team, Padhraig O’Neill reflected on their experience “The idea of peer-to-peer lending really appealed to us. Promoting our business and the hassle-free process was great, it is the future of business finance.

Closer to home

While these have been intriguing developments in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve been really excited about what it could mean for craft beer companies closer to home. Because craft beer and crowdfunding seem to be a match made in a beer-fuelled heaven.

We’ve seen two swift and well supported campaigns through PledgeMe for Wellington-based craft brewers. First up with Yeastie Boys, who raised their half a million goal in half an hour in 2015, followed by the Matts at ParrotDog raising their goal of $2million in two days the following year.

So we’ve asked some of our smart friends (and alumni) to tell us what they think. What could crowdlending mean for the beer makers in (or from) Aotearoa?

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Stu McKinlay, accidental entrepreneur, Benevolent Dictator and co-founder of Yeastie Boys. I make people happy with delicious beer in pretty designs.

What do you think about crowdlending?

My initial thoughts around crowdlending is that it’s fantastic to see the modern market adapt to the opportunities that present themselves from us being so connected. To me funding and lending through the crowd is simply an extension of the way many people used to fund businesses and projects, via their friends, but the process can be sped up now thanks to technology.

Could something like the BrewDog bonds happen in New Zealand?

It will happen in New Zealand! I have no doubts.

What are your concerns about crowdlending in New Zealand?

The concerns I have about crowdlending are pretty much the same as crowdfunding… simply that people are educated around what the risks and rewards are.

What excites you about it?

I’m always excited by things that create more opportunities for competition… crowdlending, like crowdfunding before it, gives so many more people the opportunity to build their business in a way that would not have been available to them a few years ago. With people who would have never known that the business even existed, let alone been looking for capital. It builds a community around business growth rather than having a bunch of banks doing everything.


Inspired? Curious? Want more than a sip? Chat to us!

Back to basics: How do you get started with a crowdlending campaign?

Lending can seem pretty scary, so we’ve decided to go back to the basics in this series and explain everything you need to know. We started with a brief history of lending and how lending works. Second up: how do you get started with a campaign?

What do you need to get started?

The first thing you need to check is your structure: are you set up as an organisation? Crowdlending the way we do it is only for those folk that have set up some form of organisation – be it a company, a school, a charitable trust, a co-op, a club.

The second thing you need to check is: will you be able to repay your loan? We’ll ask for some basic financial information in our CRED to check this, but you should be honest with yourself first. If you borrow money, will you be able to repay it? We don’t want to let you get into a situation where you definitely can’t repay your crowd.

Finally, you need to know what the money would be used for? How is it helping your organisation? The pitch to your crowd will need to be clear. Which means you need to be clear with yourself.


How does the CRED work?

Your journey begins with our Campaign Readiness Evaluation for Debt (aka the CRED). To get an insight into your organisation and your ability to repay the loan, we’re gonna ask you some questions. If you have your organisation’s financial statements at the ready, it will only take a few moments…five minute long moments to be precise!

The CRED works by pulling out a handful of financial measurements from your statements – the most important ones being how solvent your organisation is (have you funded yourself through equity and profits or through debt?) and the liquidity of the company (how effectively you manage your short-term cash flow). And your combined score from all of the measurements is compared to our ready / not ready threshold.


Steps to take

If you can tick the three boxes above, and understand how the CRED works, you should head along to PledgeMe.Lend and create a request. Here’s how you do that:

  1. First up you’ll be asked to complete your CRED as outlined above:
  2. Next you’ll be asked to fill out your basic lending request. Don’t worry, none of this information is set in stone!
  3. After that, we’ll be in touch to set up CrowdfundingU. If you’re a smaller campaign (under $100,000) we’ll just run you through a two to three session programme. If you’re looking to raise more, we’ll help you through the complete CrowdfundingU programme to make sure you’re ready to go out to your crowd in a big way.
  4. CrowdfundingU covers everything you need to do from creating your documentation, understanding how not to be false or misleading, learning how to create a comms plan, through to what you should include in your pitch video.
  5. Once all your content is created, we’ll do one final check on your page, your leadership team, and your plans. Then we’ll hit go!
  6. Before your campaign is live, you’ll need to have a plan around communication. Some comms will come naturally out of celebrating milestones, and some will be pre-planned (weekly updates, pitches to media, etc).
  7. Hopefully, you meet your goal by your deadline!
  8. PledgeMe checks all of your lenders (to make sure they are who they say they are) and sets up the loan contract between you and your new lenders.
  9. We’ll be in touch regularly, especially to remind you when your loan repayments are happening, and can help with any questions as you go.

How do you figure out your repayment terms?

Really, this is up to you. You can set the interest rate at something you think (or better yet, know) will be of interest to your crowd and is also affordable for you. We can help you figure out what the right balance for you and your crowd might be.

You can choose to repay your loan over one year, two years…anything up to five years. And you can choose to make repayments every month, four times a year, twice a year or once a year. You can also choose whether or not you want to secure your loan with specific assets that your organisation owns

What does it mean if you can’t run a campaign?

It doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to run a campaign! It just means right now it’s not right for you. You could look at running a project or an equity campaign, or just wait until your revenue and equity has increased (or your costs and liabilities have decreased) to a point where repayment looks possible.

Don’t take it to heart, we still think you’re pretty rad. Promise.

Got questions?

Hit us up in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you like, what confuses you, what else you need in this crowdlending journey. If you’d prefer to chat to one of us direct, send us a line on

Being a director. It’s personal.

Our board member, Mel Templeton, reveals her story and the motivation behind her desire to help guide businesses with purpose and support founders who’ve got it all on the line.

How did you end up doing what you are doing now? Did you plan it, study for it, go after it, or did it just turn out that way?

I never planned my career.  I did well in my first industry (hospitality), ending up with my own business at 25, and two by 28. A few years later I needed a change, so I sold up and followed a keen interest I had in computers and marketing.

That was back in 2000. Again unplanned, I ended up in product marketing and then brand marketing in online banking. I happened to be good at most things I tried, and was whisked overseas by the global bank which was exciting and full of new adventure and challenges. Six year later, I found myself in the upper echelons of executive corporate management.

That was when it hit me. This wasn’t what I wanted to do. I couldn’t find enough value in what I was doing, never mind whether I was enjoying it.  

So for the first time ever, I started to think about what I wanted to actually do with my working days.

I got some good advice, a mentor, did some courses and finally settled on my personal purpose – to help people, businesses and communities thrive.  Being a company director seemed a natural fit between my skillsets and my purpose.  So I planned how to get there. And here I am!

I am currently on three commercial boards and one advisory committee, all in very different industries, and each with their own challenges and growing pains. For me, the pleasure is in being able to help in some way and I’ve tended to gravitate towards companies with a strong values base and real purpose to their existence, especially those that resonate with my own values.  

For me, being a company director is a personal choice. I choose to do this because I enjoy being able to offer an idea, support an initiative, help build something with other like-minded people, and work selflessly to help build success for a business. That includes success for the founder, who has often got everything riding on the success of their business. It makes me feel like I am contributing something worthwhile to the world, rather than just doing something because I can.

This drive in me to “help” is a personal thing and I’ve been fortunate to find a way to combine that inner drive, with rewarding work as a director.  Where will your inner drive take you?


Mel Templeton has been on the board of PledgeMe since April 2016, helping to guide and beef up the financial skill of the PledgeMe team.

A new way to CrowdfundingU

You’ve probably seen over the last month that we’ve refreshed our fees for campaigners and pledgers (for the better, we believe!). One of the changes we’ve made is to the cost of our preparation programme for PledgeMe.Equity and PledgeMe.Lend campaigners, CrowdfundingU.


We’ve reached out to a wide group of past and present campaigners to hear from those that matter. They’ve made us realise the value that they’ve gotten from working alongside us through CrowdfundingU is larger than we thought. There’s a lot that goes into helping companies and organisations to prepare for their campaigns – from them putting together their offer, to them communicating with their crowd, to them throwing a bad-ass launch party. We’ve been refining the content of the programme and how we deliver it since we introduced it last year, and increased the amount of support time we put in with each campaign. So we decided to change the fee we’re charging to cover the full cost of providing six individual sessions (plus all the in between support, feedback, and crowd wrangling).


The CrowdfundingU fee for any equity or lending campaigner aiming to raise over $100,000, is now $3,000 + GST. Capability vouchers, issued by NZTE through your local Economic Development Agency, are still available to cover up to half the cost of the programme. We’ve seen 90% of the companies we’ve worked with so far have vouchers granted to subsidise the cost.


We’ve also introduced a condensed version of CrowdfundingU, for those that are raising less that $100,000 or wouldn’t have the profile to receive capability vouchers (not-for-profits, community organisations, clubs and schools) or the ability to pay the full fee (young startups). We’ve shortened the programme to two sessions, focusing on: preparing your campaign documentation; and planning your communication. This costs $750 + GST, and doesn’t provide the same rigour and support, but for smaller campaigns that might be overkill.


Whether you’re big or small, local or global, if you’re looking to raise money and you’ve got a crowd around you that believe in what you’re about, we’d be more than happy to chat about crowdfunding and, if it feels right, take you through the CrowdfundingU that’s right for you.

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!




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.


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


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)