Why I invest

We’re a curious bunch here at PledgeMe. Although less flickering-bulb-in-your-face-as-we-interrogate curious, and more so-what’s-your-story curious. We get to hear the reasons behind the ideas when we chat with campaigners and it’s so good seeing someone light up with passion when they lay their story out for us.

But it’s only recently that I’ve begun stopping and asking the other people that matter – the crowd – about their stories, about their motivation to support kiwi ingenuity. And the responses are so wide-ranging.

There’s a whole spectrum of reasons – profit-seeking, prestige, emotional fulfilment, social belonging – some quite visible and logical, some less so but just as powerful.

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Many ways to shear a sheep

Fair to say, there’s many ways to shear a sheep. And there’s many reasons for doing so. For wool. For competition. For the moment. For the story. For kicks. For the sheep’s productivity and wellbeing. For the farm. For the shear enjoyment! Every shearer has their own why. Likewise for every investor.

Crowdsourcing the Why

I want to get your insight. I want to hear from our crowd. What thoughts and feelings swim through you before you invest? Regardless of whether you’ve just tried it once or you’re a serial campaign backer, I’d love to hear your one-line reason: Why I invest.

Why I invest?

Sure why don’t I set the wheels in motion. For me, money is only as valuable as the things it enables me and others to do.

I invest to empower companies who are making a real & positive impact on people’s lives and are doing it their own way.

Take a minute and tell us your “why” here.

I used to think sales was slimy

I used to think sales was a yucky thing that men in suits with slicked back hair did. Really, every time sales came up I’d fight the urge to gag, but would then go on to do exactly that. Sales. Getting people using our platform, educating our users and the public, and gently bringing our view of the world and their view of the world together.

Sales can be genuine, sales can help people, and sales doesn’t need to make anyone feel used (or abused). And, you don’t need to call salespeople ninjas.

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(We promise you don't have to look like this. Photo cred: Ryan McGuire)

 

The thing that really got me thinking differently about sales, was this article about Adam Grant’s study on salespeople. In the study, Adam Grant shows that extroverts don’t come out ahead in sales, ambiverts do. You have to be equal parts talker and listener, to really solve the problems of your customers. Adam also wrote two of my favourite books of all times (Give and Take, and the Originals) so I listen when he blogs. Which made me realise what I thought I knew about sales was probably wrong. 

 

In the last few months, we’ve realised that while we were doing sales pretty well on our own, we needed someone to come into the team to own (and drive) the whole sales process. So we’ve been tweaking our thinking on how this could work, and what you’ll find below is our plan. The role will be part salary / part commission based. How much you make is really up to you, but here’s the main points:

  • $40,000 base salary
  • $100 for every CrowdfundingU paid for
  • $900 for every launched equity or lending campaign
  • 0.5% of the total amount raised by a campaign
  • 20% sales bonus (of your base salary) if you make your sales target in the first year.

 

Are you interested in working with us? Read the job description below, and then send me an email by 5pm Friday 30 September with:

  • your take on how crowdfunding will change the world,
  • why you’d like to work with us and
  • a bit more about your approach (and success) in sales.

 

We’ll be setting up interviews for the first week of October, and hope to have someone on board from early November (if not sooner!).

 

PledgeMe Sales Manager

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POSITION DESCRIPTION

Role: Sales Manager (though: you can set your own title)

Location: Auckland

Rate: $40,000 base salary + commission

PledgeMe is a New Zealand focussed crowdfunding platform, that launched in 2012 and offers project, equity and lending based crowdfunding.

What we do

Crowdfunding is as simple as it sounds, you go out for funding. You set a specific goal, a deadline, and offer your crowd something in return for their pledges. We have three types of crowdfunding: project, equity and lending. Project campaigns offer rewards, equity campaigns offer shares in a company, and lending campaigns offer loan notes from companies or organisations. Campaigns need to meet their goal by their deadline to be processed, this pushes the campaigner to share and their crowd to pledge (or it doesn’t happen).

Mission

To help Kiwis fund the things they care about.

What it means to be our Sales Manager

PledgeMe has a great market reputation and attracts a regular stream of Equity (and increasingly, Lend) leads, but dedicated resource is needed to convert those leads into committed campaigns. Our Sales Manager is responsible for nurturing Equity and Lend leads so we have more campaigns launch and succeed, ultimately growing PledgeMe and helping more kiwis fund the things they care about. 

Part of the nurture process is signing leads up to participate in CrowdfundingU. CrowdfundingU is an important revenue stream and organisations that participate in CrowdfundingU are more likely to run successful campaigns.

From CrowdfundingU we need leads to make a contractual commitment to campaign with PledgeMe. But we also want to maintain our 50% campaign success rate. We’re looking for quantity and quality.

To achieve PledgeMe’s objectives, our Sales Manager will:

  • Generate leads alongside our Chief Bubble Blower, Rad Debtor, Board and PledgeMe Friends.
  • Work with our Chief Bubble Blower to prioritise leads based on likelihood to commit and run a successful campaign
  • Create design collateral with our in house designer
  • Nurture leads through the sales process, including selling in CrowdfundingU as a critical step to becoming campaign ready
  • Engage the Chief Bubble Blower and Rad Debtor when needed to provide expert guidance to businesses through the sales process
  • Identify barriers to organisations committing to campaign and work with the lead and Chief Bubble Blower to find innovative solutions to help close the deal
  • Secure commitment from leads to campaign with PledgeMe
  • Ensure businesses that commit to campaigning with PledgeMe complete all of the necessary contractual documentation
  • Identify improvements in the sales process to enable more businesses to commit to campaigning with PledgeMe.

 

What you’ll need in your hipster tote bag

To be successful as PledgeMe Sales Manager you will need:

  • Enthusiasm for crowdfunding and be able to communicate what crowdfunding has to offer effectively to leads
  • Superb people skills – ability to nurture leads through the sales process (rather than hard sell them!) but still drive outcomes
  • Broad understanding of and interest in businesses of all shapes and sizes, including business financing
  • Ability to close a deal.
  • To back yourself! Your remuneration is tiered based on a successful sale and campaign so you’ve got to be confident you can do the job!

How we’ll pay you

Our Sales Manager will receive a base salary of $40,000 plus sales commission structured as follows:

CrowdfundingU Launch campaign Successful campaigns
PledgeMe Equity $100 $900 0.5% of total raise
PledgeMe Lend $100 $900 0.5% of total raise

 

And if your sales targets of $6 million for the year are met, you’ll get a 20% (of base salary) bonus too.


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One more thing…

We hold our values pretty close to heart in the office, and they are:

  1. Support transparency and trust
  2. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
  3. Be seriously fun(ding) humans
  4. Do good and do well
  5. Be constantly evolving


We want someone to come into the team who resonates with those values, but brings their own perspectives and skill sets. We don’t all need to think or act the same way, but we all need to be care and pushing towards the common mission of helping Kiwis fund the things they care about.

How to PledgeMe.

$2 mil in 2 days

ParrotDog made history two weeks ago, as the quickest equity campaign in New Zealand to hit the $2 million mark.

How did they get there? It wasn’t luck. It was 5 years of growing their business and brand, five months spent creating their campaign, 5 weeks communicating it, and a clear vision of where they wanted to go (and what they needed to get there).

Here’s five things that we saw that they did really well, that could inspire some of you aspiring crowdfunders out there:

1) Have a plan

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We talk about having a campaign plan, and even have a Google Doc that we share out, but the Parrot Dog crew went next level with their planning. They had a wall chart with daily tasks.

Matt Stevens was the mastermind behind their plan, which had a page for every day in the lead up. It included everything from when they needed to have their directors indemnity insurance in place through to when they’d post on social media (Mondays and Thursdays).

Everyone was part of delivering the plan, and everyone could see it as it took up a whole wall in their office.

Remember: it always takes longer than you think to pull together a visually pleasing business plan, and a kick ass pitch video.

 

2) Get in touch with your crowd

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You can’t raise your money, if your crowd doesn’t know what’s happening.

The ParrotDog crew created a newsletter in the lead up to their campaign, with their first major announcement being that they were crowdfunding. After that, they had specific key messages they wanted to talk about each week, from announcing what the funding was for to the location of their brewery through to a copy of their IM.

Here are the newsletters they posted out to the world

They talked to everyone from their suppliers to their mums, and started asking folk to sign up to their newsletter weeks in advance of their launch.

 

3) Be yourselves

This was a big one for the ParrotDog crew. They didn’t want to become flashy or corporate. They wanted to bring their own strengths, but not try to become something they weren’t. So, they refused to do a traditional press release to announce their campaign – they made a quirky video instead.

ParrotDog Beer. nice. | Press Conference from ParrotDog on Vimeo.

Everything they did was on brand, and really showcased who they are as people and as a company.

4) Have a clear goal

PD event 8

The ParrotDog crew were super clear on what they needed money to do – build a bigger brewery. With a brew bar included, it really inspired their fans (especially those based in Lyall Bay) to get in and support. Having a really tangible plan, and vision that your crowd can embrace (or drink) is a big part of having a successful campaign.

5) Meet people #IRL

PD event 11

We sort of pushed the Matts into this, hosting the ParrotDog crew in our space for a meet and greet with potential investors a few days before they launched. It was a great opportunity for their crowd not only to ask questions in a group setting, but meet each of the team and ask them questions individually as well. With just a few days notice, the ParrotDog crew had over 90 people attend either in person or online. Many of the people there that night were the first pledgers to get in to the campaign.

 


Well done again to the ParrotDog crew, for funding their vision and inspiring a new wave of Kiwi crowdfunders.

 

 

Being a Crowdfunding Investor

Simon Papa, down-to-earth lawyer with a penchant for crowdfunding, shares his thoughts on what you should expect and do as a crowdfunding investor in a NZ company.

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Crowdfunding is an exciting development but what does it mean to be an investor? When it comes to equity crowdfunding it means that you own a part of the company – you own shares.  You ultimately benefit if the company is successful, but you also risk losing your whole investment if it isn’t.  I’ve briefly considered below some of the things you can expect and can do once you’re an investor.

Communication

You can hopefully expect good communication from the company.  While at law the company has limited obligations to proactively communicate with you (and very few if you hold non-voting shares), there’s an expectation that crowdfunded companies will regularly update you on their progress.  If you have voting shares then you can expect an annual report before the annual general meeting (AGM).  Also, as a shareholder and regardless of the rights attached to your shares, you have the right to request information from the company, but they aren’t obliged to provide that information (and might impose an administration fee), particularly where it is commercially sensitive.  You do have a separate right to inspect and ask for copies of certain company records, including shareholder resolutions and financial statements.

The AGM

The company must hold an AGM (and invite you!).  It’s an opportunity to find out more about the company’s progress and future plans and to ask questions of the directors (the company might make it possible to attend using technology). Tea and biscuits (or something better) might be laid out for you.  Or they might not, so check beforehand if refreshments are your main reason for turning up! An AGM must be held within six months of the company’s financial year balance date so, if that’s 31 March (which it usually is), then you can expect an AGM to be held no later than the end of September.

Rewards

The company might have offered shareholder discounts as an incentive to invest.  So use them if they’re of value to you.  But if you’re getting more than minor discounts check to make sure that the company has made arrangements to deal with tax arising – some companies pay your share of tax for you.

Selling your shares

You can sell your shares, though the law places restrictions on sales in some situations.  There is currently no stock exchange for trading crowdfunded shares so finding a buyer might be difficult.  If you do want to sell you could contact the company to see if they know of potential buyers (though because of restrictions at law the company may have limited ability to assist).  However you may not be looking to sell.  Many investors invest with other goals in mind.  You might have invested because you believe in what the company is doing (and are less concerned about an economic return).  You may have invested to enjoy shareholder discounts, to earn dividends, or to benefit from a future sale of the company or its business (though this is by no means guaranteed).  Or you may have a  mixture of those goals.  Dividends are probably unlikely for long periods where the company is growing fast, since the focus is on reinvesting profits to support sustained growth and hopefully significant value add.

Enjoy the ride!

Enjoy the ride and remember that this post is a very broad (and incomplete) summary only and is not legal or financial advice.  The Financial Markets Authority provides useful information for investors.  The law is complex and investing is risky so make sure you seek appropriate professional advice before acting.

 

(A beautiful lawyer’s flourish at the end there, Simon!)

Simon is the director of Cygnus Law Limited. He’s passionate about providing sound, understandable and relevant legal advice that helps to add value.

 

What's Up Wednesday

Thought-Wired

Aug 24

For more than six million people around the world, daily communication is a struggle. Due to severe physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or motor-neuron disease, these people (who often have sound, healthy minds) cannot move or speak, and must rely on complex and convoluted methods in order to express themselves to their carers and families.

The team behind Thought-Wired decided that given the technology available today, that simply wasn’t good enough. And so they dedicated themselves to creating nous™: a brain-sensing technology that detects the user’s thought patterns and turns them into actions. By selecting words and images on a computer screen, people can communicate with those around them – and as the technology develops, the possibilities for how much more control they could have are endless.

Thought-Wired have successfully created and trialled a prototype of the software – now they want to take it to the market. That’s why they’re equity crowdfunding: they’re reaching out to their crowd to gain the funds they need to take their business to the next level, and improve the quality of life for their customers. Their campaign has only been open for a week and they’ve already raised well over half their minimum goal – so to find out more about why you should be getting on board, we had a chat to Founder and CEO Dmitry Selitskiy.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We’re positively overwhelmed by the response and the support. We knew we had fans and interested investors alike, but running out of the gate like we did in the first 36 hours was a fantastic surprise. Now we’re about to cross the 2/3 of minimum target mark, and are already past 1/3 to maximum within the first week!
On top of that, there’s so much more activity happening surrounding the campaign besides direct participation of investors: new connections, new opportunities, and a continious stream of energy and support. It’s very humbling and encouraging!

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

Our campaign launch event was a wild success but unfortunately not everyone could make it. We’re busy thinking up ways of how to get more people to experience the nous™ tech, meet us, ask questions and provide feedback. Stay tuned for announcements!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Just the biggest Thank You! We could not get here without your ongoing support and encouragement. Together we can really change the world!

P.S. just in case you have not seen it still, check us out on last week’s Seven Sharp!

To find out more about Thought-Wired and help change the lives of disabled people worldwide, check out their campaign right here.

Ethical Lending

Our friend, Raf Manji, Christchurch City Councillor and progressive banker, shares his thoughts on how the financial system is broken and how crowdlending can help to create a more supportive and sustainable marketplace between borrowers and lenders.

Raf Manji, progressive banker

 

One of the great opportunities for crowdlending or peer to peer (P2P) lending is that it can create a form of agency that does not currently exist in the lending marketplace. P2P is generally an unsecured form of lending, between individuals, where the amounts lent are usually small scale and distributed over a number of borrowers, in order to spread risk. As it becomes more sophisticated, lenders are starting to focus more on credit ratings and scores and use data to discern whom best to lend to. This is starting to drive a shift in interest rates and how those are calculated, with lower rates for better risks.

But what if lower rates actually lessened the risk of non-payment and default? I have just finished reading a very familiar story, where a borrower took on a short-term loan for an unexpected family need, and ends up being bankrupted. What kind of financial system promotes that? Well, sadly ours does. The need for short-term loans, outside a traditional borrowing format, such as a mortgage, can often be the straw that breaks the back of highly indebted borrowers. However, this straw is not the loan itself but the outrageously high interest rate that is attached. I would argue it is the unreasonably high interest rates (by that I mean anything over 20%) that cause default, not the actual loan itself. In other words, the default outcome is baked into the deal from the beginning.

We hear stories all the time of how a small loan balloons into an unpayable debt, and bankruptcy arrives soon after. Why would any rational lender promote this approach? Well, the interest rates are so high that they actually do get the principal back and a reasonable rate of interest, prior to the loan going bad. One might ask, why don’t they just charge a manageable and reasonable rate of interest in the first place, and not cause such personal misery to those least able to afford the loan?For me this comes down to the ethics of finance. Those who have easy access to capital, benefit both from lower rates and higher returns. The current financial system is heavily weighted against those who are not engaged in the tax-free housing Ponzi scheme and who rely purely on basic wages to survive. The low-grade “instant finance” lending system that services this end of the market is parasitic and unconcerned as to the outcomes they create. They argue they are providing capital to those who are unable to access traditional bank lending. That’s true and raises issues about our mainstream banking system. They would also argue that they price interest rates according to the poor credit of the borrowers. Of course their credit is poor! They live on wages and are often already in debt. The strain of that debt simply compounds away, with stagnant wages no match for the power of compound interest.

So far so bad, but what does P2P have to offer in this space? I would venture that it can offer a new form of ethical lending. This ethical lending is about the broader concept of helping people out, as you might do for a friend, not simply profiting from someone’s short-term cash squeeze. I would argue a lower interest rate would not only probably increase the likelihood of the loan being repaid but would be a fairer cost for the money provided. How interest rates of 20% plus (standard even for credit cards) can be charged, in an environment where, to all extents and purposes, the cost of money is negligible, is simply wrong. I propose that we look at creating an interest rate system where the rate falls each time a repayment is made. So where the initial rate may start off at a high level (I think 20% should be an absolute maximum), it reduces by a certain amount, for example, a half to one percent, after each payment, until it comes towards a reasonable level. How these numbers are crunched remains open.

The beauty of open, peer-focused and distributed systems like PledgeMe, is that they can experiment and iterate new ideas and findings, in order to reach an optimal outcome. For me, that outcome is where lenders make reasonable returns and borrowers pay reasonable and manageable costs for borrowing money. The current lending system is completely inequitable and broken and one of the jobs of PledgeMe has is to fix that and redraw the relationship between lender and borrower. No pressure!

Like a little piece of coal, we shine under pressure! 

 

What’s the Difference between Equity & Lend

We’re getting ready to offer two ways for you to invest in Kiwi companies and organisations — PledgeMe.Equity and PledgeMe.Lend.

So how are they different and what can you expect as an investor?

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How are they similar?

Whether you’re buying shares or contributing to a loan, the crowdfunding core remains unchanged. The campaign page is still the go-to place holding all info needed to make your call. This includes a to-the-point business plan, past financials, forecasts, and a public forum to ask questions. There might even be some interesting rewards offered if you decide to invest.

You get to hear the story, see the vision and meet the people behind the organisation and can choose whether or not you pledge.

How are they different?

Like a curious Tom Jones, I hear you asking “What’s new pussycat, whoa, whoa, whoa?”. The difference lies in the return, the risk and the relationship.

Unlike holding ordinary shares in a company, lending means that straight from the get-go, there’s an agreed and predetermined return. You’ll be offered a set interest rate on what you lend, and you’ll gradually have the loan paid back to you over time. The benefit is that your financial reward could start flowing sooner whereas the downside (compared to equity) is your return is limited. This means if the company grows incredibly, you’ll receive your initial loan with the agreed amount of interest compared to equity crowdfunding where you own a percentage of that growing company.

Whether you’re considering an equity or lending campaign, we strongly advise you to take a good look at the information provided, ask questions, and get yourself feeling confident before you invest. You want to balance the risk of a company or organisation not fully delivering on the opportunities that they had anticipated against the return you get — be it financial, tangible product, social or emotional.

For lending campaigns, we carry out an initial assessment to see if campaigners are suitable and ready to borrow. We call this our Campaign Readiness Evaluation for Debt (CRED). It’s important to understand that a loan that you contribute to isn’t a sure thing. There is the possibility that you may lose some or all of your investment so think carefully about the cause that you’re supporting and your ability to absorb any loss. If things don’t go to plan, we have a debt collector waiting in the wings to help recover as much of what you are owed as possible.

When you make a loan to a PledgeMe.Lend campaign, you don’t own a piece of the borrowing company or organisation and no guarantees are given. Borrowers will be able to offer secured and unsecured loans. “Securing” a loan means that if things go awry, lenders will have a right to specific assets of the company or organisation (“security”). On the other hand, an unsecured loan has no assets directly connected to it. Security can provide an extra layer of comfort for lenders and as a result of that lower risk, a secured loan will typically offer a lower return on your investment. What being a lender does mean, regardless of the security a borrower provides, is that if a company is sold or is forced to close, you will have priority over the ordinary shareholders of the company when it comes to the distribution of money made from a sale or liquidation. Your repayments come before payouts to ordinary shareholders.

There is a bit more distance in the relationship between a borrower and their lenders than that of a company and their shareholders but PledgeMe sits in the middle and we encourage borrowers to keep you informed as they go out and do good things with the money you invest. As you get repaid, you’ll get periodic updates from the company or organisation to keep you in the loop.

 

Getting Started

We’ve got a new process for you to Register to Lend which will be live prior to our first campaign. There’s a couple of new bits of info that we need to capture (like your income tax bracket to look after the nitty gritty of Resident Withholding Tax), new terms and a lending disclosure statement to take a read of and agree to.

 

Our role

We’re still very much the platform in the middle. The big addition to the crowdfunding process with PledgeMe.Lend stems from the ongoing relationship and the steady return that’ll flow your way. We facilitate the flow of money from you to the borrower initially and then back from the borrower to you as repayments are made. We ensure that communication remains open after a successful campaign.

 

PledgeMe.Lend is a new way for you to support companies and organisations. The instrument is a little different but the essence of it is still the same.

 

How it works: Capability Vouchers for CrowdfundingU

We’ve got some great news!

Our CrowdfundingU service is now registered under the Regional Business Partner network, meaning companies can apply to have up to half of the course cost paid for with a capability voucher issued by their local economic development agency.

Here is the service: https://app.regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz/MarketPlace/MarketplaceService/8306

Here’s a bit more info about CrowdfundingU: http://education.pledgeme.co.nz/crowdfunding-u/

Read More

Smoothing Out the Peaks and Troughs

“Booms and busts are amplified when a select few control the allocation of money.”

William Stewart, just a second ago.

Here’s my question — does crowdfunding have the ability to help smooth out the peaks and troughs of an economy over time?

In any market, or more generally any economy, enthusiastic demand for things causes expansions (peaks) and underwhelming demand for things causes recessions (troughs).

Being a cub of the Celtic Tiger, I’ve lived through one of the most emphatic boom-bust cycles in history. I think I’ve picked up some learnings along the way. So here is my biased opinion.

The issue, as I see it, is that when a recession looms, the supply of things being created drops because the creators (businesses) start being starved of the capital investment they need to create things. And without things to buy, people buy less things — effectively supply influencing demand. A lot of this is down to banks and institutions holding the big buckets of cash money.

So in a financial system where the money, and therefore the investing power, lies in the hands of a few, we see a scenario spin out kinda like what happened in Ireland not so long ago. An unplugged but overflowing bath followed by a swift righty tighty of the tap.

But let’s say this scenario plays out within a purely (hypothetical) democratic financial system where everyone has the ability to make their own investment decisions. The kind of system that crowdfunding is helping create.

So in this crowdfunding friendly economy a recession looms; there’s some fear, anxiety and hesitation amongst The People.

Some of us will rein in our investing activity. We’ll look at the menu and our appetite to save is greater than our desire to invest in companies — fair enough. But, it’s not a widespread slam on the brakes that happens when there is centralised control, when the ‘big boys’ make decisions on everyone’s behalf.

In our scenario, there will still be those who want to put their spare money to use in a meaningful way. This may be by investing in companies which have the vision and ability to spur the economy, create value, jobs and all that good stuff. The key point is that, knowing that there are people like that out there (heaps more people than there are financial institutions), many companies won’t feel the need to shrink into themselves until the tide has turned and the institutional tap is turned back on. Instead they go out to their crowd and with their help, make the brave decision to continue to push, advance and overcome.

So could crowdfunding help ease the lows of this warped capitalist system we live in?

I reckon it could.

Instead of grinding to a halt and waiting for monetary policy and government incentivisation to restart the economy, crowdfunding helps cultivate a landscape of continual opportunity. It may be an idealised vision but, even in this emergent era of crowdfunding, the potential of open, accessible, inclusive and decentralised investment is mighty.

We’re already seeing the effect of shifting the power away from the few and to the many on PledgeMe.

If you had told me a few years ago that people would invest in a startup like Ooooby with no discernible profit, I might have laughed at you. But it happened, and they’re thriving, and having an impact which in itself will help protect us from global financial bad weather. Wow.

While the fat cat sits there, no ironing can be done.

While the fat cat sits there, no ironing can be done.

So what’s missing in order to establish a more democratic economic system?

Well here in New Zealand we’re already seeing crowdfunding taking off in a big way. But the kicker that would tip the economy in favour of this kinda direction is education.

There are heeeeaaaps of people out there at the moment who give their money to banks and other financial institutions to look after. And that’s cool and everything, but there are other options for those with some disposable income and a desire to have positive impacts. Getting the word out about equity crowdfunding and lending, and creating a demand for it is probably the best next step we can take in this direction. So get sharing our How To PledgeMe guides, and let’s help iron out some of those peaks and troughs!

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).