Equity crowdfunding takes us over the $5 million edge….

On Thursday 9 April 2015 PledgeMe hit the $5 million total pledged mark after closing two successful equity crowdfunding campaigns.

5million

Children’s shampoo and body care maker Pineapple Heads and social marketplace app SellShed’s campaigns both wrapped up their offers successfully raising a combined $917,000. This brings the total number of successful campaigns on PledgeMe Equity to four – raising more than $1,500,000 in the process.

The way crowdfunding works is that a minimum target is set and must be achieved in order for the campaign to be a success. PledgeMe Equity success comes through many ingredients, including:

  • Reading through our Education Guide to Equity Crowdfunding (online & PDF available),
  • Doing the hard yards on your business plan, its growth, and valuing your business (hint: we talk about this in our Education Guide)
  • Developing rockstar communications to prime and educate your crowd about what equity crowdfunding is and that you’re doing it (including newsletters, press releases and other channels of communication key to your business)
  • Putting together a your launch plan to kick off your campaign
  • Managing a campaign communications plan for current pledgers, followers other potential investors (equity crowdfunding is not a ‘set it and forget it’ process)
  • Focusing on what’s working (maybe investor events or focusing on key groups has worked best – be conscious of this and stick to what’s working)

With less than a week to go both of these campaigns were sitting at approximately 50% of their funding target. Megan @ Pineapple Heads and the team at SellShed deserve a massive shout out in activating their crowds right through to the finish. Their success came from having a plan, knowing who/what/where was working and backing themselves right through to campaign close off.

It was a very exciting week last week for us at Team PledgeMe, for these two companies who we’ve been working with, and for equity crowdfunding as well which is barely more than one year old in NZ.

We currently have three other equity crowdfunding campaigns running for Chariot, Parent Interviews, and Be Intent Youth as well as have a tonne of awesome Projects on the go.

“Let’s Do Something Naughty”

Vajazzle

This is a campaign that brings the bling. The shocking, shameless, sparkly short film “Vajazzle” is premiering online for Valentine’s Day, and after the spectacular success of its Pledge Me campaign, we just had to sit down with creator Nathalie Boltt to get the inside scoop.

Before launching Vajazzle’s campaign, Nathalie and her crew had never considered crowdfunding. They initially tried to fund the film through conventional channels, with encouraging results – the film was shortlisted for premiere funding from the Film Commission. But Nathalie suspects it was “just a bit too racy” for the Commission to support. She describes the decision to turn to Pledge Me as “terrifying”, saying “you’re really putting your neck on the block, and the danger is that nobody wants to see this.” But as she points out, filmmakers have to be willing to make that sacrifice anyway – “because why should the Commission give you money for stuff nobody wants to see?”

Much of Vajazzle’s campaign success is undoubtedly tied to its pitch video, which is 1 minute and 46 seconds of glorious glitz and glitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, watch it below!

 

 

It was shot in an hour (after they decked the house out in silk and hunted down the cat) and not only showed viewers what they were in for, but also helped in terms of “clarifying [the] whole concept” for Nathalie and her crew. The reaction to the video surprised Nathalie, with eager responses from everyone from her own mum and dad to the parents at her six-year-old son’s school. But these unexpected supporters are what make up a crowd – as she puts it, “that sort of person comes out of the woodwork, and says ‘yes, let’s do something naughty.’”

Vajazzle 2And Nathalie has no intention of letting them back into the woodwork any time soon. Although the film has now been shot and is ready for release, she’s keen to maintain her crowd: “[the project] has got to lead back to the mothership…so when it’s time for your next feature, they’ve been with you the whole time.” And Nathalie is also committed to showing gratitude to her audience – whether that’s with an autographed blu-ray of the movie or a customised vajazzling of her own “mons pubis”. Our chief media wrangler, Jackson, was even thanked with his very own free vajazzle voucher! It’s all part of showing her appreciation: Nathalie urges future campaigners to “say thank you, thank you, thank you to your pledgers – never come across as ungrateful.”

All in all, Nathalie sees people pledging to films as a win-win for everyone: “Not only have they funded you, seen the result, been happy with it hopefully…but they’ve been part of something fun – and isn’t that just basic human nature, just wanting to be part of something exciting?”

So if you want to be part of something exciting, and you’re keen to see an exploration of “the freaky side of the female mind”, watch one of our latest crowdfunded short films, Vajazzle, below – trust us, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.

 

Half a mill in half an hour

Yeastie Boys made it big yesterday. They equity crowdfunded half a million in half an hour. This is the fastest equity crowdfunding raise so far in New Zealand and one of the quickest in the world!

Down at Goldings Free Dive the atmosphere was electric. The venue was packed with people thirsty to become investors.

electric crowd

Just before 6 Stu got up and thanked their crowd for coming down and all those who were about to pledge. At the stroke of 6 Anna hit the publish button on the campaign, Stu rang the bell, and confetti exploded into the air.

Yeastie Stu

People dived onto their phones and laptops to get in. Within four minutes the campaign had hit $100k!

Pledges were flying in thick and fast. Not just from in the bar, but across New Zealand. There was a steady progression of pledges over the half hour. Could they have hit a million? We reckon so. Maybe something to consider next time Stu 😉

ybgraph

Between refreshing the laptop and updating the crowd Stu was quietly chuffed when, a mere 17 minutes in, they hit their minimum goal. pledgemepugThe crowd went wild at that point and Anna and I feared that the dreaded PledgeMe pug of unavailability might make an appearance. Luckily the team at Rabid had prepped the servers so they were ready for the onslaught of Yeastie Boys and Girls.

It was great to see Yeastie Boys bringing their campaign into the real world. Stu had travelled up and down New Zealand over the past week handing out business cards and talking about the equity raise. He also issued the financials and company documents over the weekend so people could read up and decide whether to invest over their Sunday brunch. Help was on hand with Stu answering questions and team PledgeMe helping people to pledge.

The buzz was great and it meant that on top of putting together a slick business plan and brewing great beer they activated their crowd and got a magnificent result.

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All good things must come to an end. Just before 6:30 the party was over with the maximum goal of $500,000 was hit. More huzzahs and hoorahs! The revellers went  home with a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts and shares in their back pockets.

Yeastie Boys now has 212 new shareholders. We’ll they’re not just shareholders they’re champions. Stu has bought his crowd into the company and now they have an interest in seeing Yeastie Boys succeed. Big congrats to them for going out to their crowd and making it work.

KEY FACTS

  • $505,019 raised
  • Time: 30 minutes exactly
  • 212 new Yeastie Boy shareholders
  • Average pledge: $2382
  • Largest pledge: $50,000
  • Happy Yeastie Boys: 2

tomorrowtheworld

A Purr-fect Publication

Frances Eliza could see a gap in the magazine market: despite all the publications circulating round the city, Wellington’s felines just weren’t being catered to. So she came up with the idea for Blackcat Quarterly, Wellington’s premier lifestyle magazine for cats. It’s made by people for their feline companions (the cats were ruled out of assisting production due to their issues with typing), and features everything from fashion editorials to celebrity cat news. Thanks to its support from 33 pledgers, this publication is set to take Wellington by storm, and to finally provide our deserving cats with some real reading material.

Here’s what Frances had to say about her PledgeMe experience:

What did you like about PledgeMe?
I liked being able to fundraise for my quirky project in an easy way. I’m kind of a shy person when it comes to asking people for favours, and this process allowed me to feel like I wasn’t asking for a handout so much as giving people something they really wanted via the rewards system. I also found the staff really helpful and friendly.

How did you find the experience?
Great! There were some things I didn’t understand about it that I wished I had known before I started- such as the fact that I wouldn’t recieve donor information until 3 days after the pledging closed. If I had known this before I would have chosen different prizes, since I thought I would have more time to work on them, but it wasnt until after I had already set them up and pledging had begun that I realised I would have to do them all in a rush at the end.

Any tips for newbies?
Make an awesome video and offer rewards that are actually worth the amount of money people are pledging.

I say crowdfunding, you say:
Crowdfunding.

To re-fur to this claw-some publication and to preorder the first issue, head on over to http://blackcatquarterly.com, or check out their project here.

 

PledgeMe Alumni: James Shaw

PledgeMe has been helpin’ Kiwis fund the things they care about for almost three years now. In that time we’ve had something like 700 successful campaign go up on the site. We’ll be sharing the stories behind some of those successes and sit down with PledgeMe alumni to hear where they are now and how crowdfunding helped them out.

First up is James Shaw!

James Shaw is the Green Party’s newest Member of Parliament. But before he graced our fair country’s halls of power he used PledgeMe to crowdfund! Jackson went and had a chat to James about his project.

Read More

Met our match

We’ve met our match in the crowdfunding space… Matched funding.

It’s amazing the motivational power that comes from promising to match funds raised – if a projects goal is met. We’ve been toying with the idea of matched funding for a while, after seeing it work on a few individual projects last year (Back the Bull being the biggest example). This year we partnered with two organisations to run group matched funding campaigns, and now we’re hooked. We really think it’s one of the areas where crowdfunding is going to make a big mark in 2014.

Think group decision making meets pre-existing funding. So, what happens is if a project can meet it’s goal through the power of their crowd, they’ll double the funding they receive.

We’ve seen this work successfully for two groups of campaigns this year so far – one in the documentary film making space, and once for smart energy solutions in the capital. The thing we found so exciting in this space was the increase in success rates. ALL of the projects that made it into the matched funding campaigns met their goals, and exceeded them. Here’s a bit of debrief on the two campaigns run so far:

Loading Docs – Documentary Filmmaking

Last year, the Loading Docs team asked film makers what home meant to them, and the resulting 67 short doco proposals they received were so varied they almost couldn’t be compared – everyone had a different way of showing Aotearoa to the world.

From that bunch, 10 were picked to receive NZ on Air and NZ  Film Commission funding, and set to the task of match funding the rest through us over the month of February. The response was amazing – 3 projects were funded in a matter of days and all of the projects overfunded. Considering our normal success rate is 49%, the fact that all of the projects met their goals blew us away, and really showed us the power of both matched funding and a support team.

The docos funded covered stories from an intellectually disabled man, Wayne, owning a home of his own after 44 years of shared housing, through to what home means to a wide crowd in the queer community.

Watch all of the documentaries that were created here: http://loadingdocs.net/films

Smart Energy Challenge – Wellington City Council

Earlier this year, Wellington City Council teamed up with us and some of Wellington’s brightest social entrepreneurs from Enspiral and Generation Zero, to bring local Smart Energy projects to life. They wanted to find and support community-led projects designed to reduce energy use and increase clean energy in Wellington, and called it the Smart Energy Challenge.

Three projects came through in the first round – from putting solar panels on Aro Valley’s community centre, through to solar powered heating units, and a car share scheme in the city. Each project met and exceeded their goal again, showing that Wellingtonians are interested in different ways to power our capital. Wellington City Council matched dollar for dollar the target amount of each successful project.  “It was kind of like being at the horse races watching the projects”.

What do you think about matched funding?

Crowdfunding a Choir Tour

In July of last year (2013), Christchurch Youth Choir sang their way south, performing their way from Timaru to Dunedin. In 40 days they raised nearly $2000 towards transport and accommodation costs via PledgeMe, to help them on their way.

The choir’s accompanist, Matt Everingham, set up the project on PledgeMe for the choir, and was interviewed by our Christchurch Brand Ambo, Amy Bowie.

So, Matt, how was the tour?

The CYC ‘Awakenings’ Southern Tour, as the title might suggest, was a first for the choir and a resounding success for all involved – singers, audiences, the committee and the music team. In only our second year of existence we decided to make a bold and exciting decision and plan for a tour South.

The first half of the year was filled with rehearsals and smaller concerts while we prepared the wonderful ‘Mass in G’ by Schubert and a varied programme of classical, jazz, contemporary and spiritual repertoire to take on tour. We took this ‘Awakenings’ Concert programme on the road to Timaru and performed in the beautiful Sacred Heart Basilica and then the Knox Church in Dunedin. It was a real pleasure performing in such historic venues (they seem to be missing in Christchurch!) and the audiences were appreciative and impressed by our performances.

We returned to a full house crowd at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Christchurch which was a real highlight to end on. Again, the music was sung superbly and despite the winter months the reaction was warmer than ever.

The tour proved to be an important milestone for the choir with so many benefits. It allowed us to really place ourselves on the map in the wider South Island and New Zealand music scene, performing to new audiences and alongside a fantastic young string ensemble. It has given us the assurance from both a musical and organisational perspective that we can go far as a young and independent choir. In the last two years CYC has grown from strength to strength, and our ‘Awakenings’ Tour was an exciting part of this.

More photos can be found in our Southern Tour Photo Album

What did you like about PledgeMe?

PledgeMe was a unique, user-friendly and effective way of gathering financial support to turn our Southern Tour into a reality. It was a great form of publicity, and teaming up with Cookie Productions we created a video from our first concert to spread the word and introduce the choir to possible crowdfunders. PledgeMe was pivotal terms of getting our message and cause out online and into the wide world (and world wide web).

How did you find the experience?

The experience was new for the choir, but it was a very flexible way of gathering support from the wider community in a friendly and positive way.

You raised nearly $2k – but were there any other benefits from the project besides money?

It allowed us to go beyond the Christchurch network of supporters and get our message out to a wider audience in New Zealand which was invaluable. It encouraged us to make a demo video of our group, which we had done professionally, which in turn boosted our publicity on Facebook and other online areas.

Any tips for choirs and/or musical groups wishing to raise funds via PledgeMe?

Publicity and getting your voice and cause out there is essential – utilise all the connections in your group! The more you can get members on board to advertise and push the cause the more support you will receive. Share, share, share – sharing really is caring when it comes to facebook and twitter! Give your group enough time on the pledgeme campaign to reach your goal – don’t be unrealistically rushed and vice versa don’t let it drag out!

We heard you recently played for The Christchurch International Musical Theatre Summer School. This is but one of many music/drama themed intensives in New Zealand and beyond. What is your advice to students who are struggling to afford such opportunities for furthering their musical education?

Where there is a will, there is always a way! Never give up on what you’re passionate about. Where opportunites seem too unrealistic, it is often even more rewarding to create your own. Where you see a need, fill that need with your own creative spark – The Christchurch Youth Choir for example emerged from a small group of committed young singers at University who saw the need for a creative musical outlet for singers post high school. Thanks to that initial vision we now have a high calibre group of some of Christchurchs’ best young singers led by our awesome Musical Director Grant Bartley. If you’re a keen young singer – watch our facebook page for audition dates!

What is in store for CYC in 2014?

With the first audition round complete, we have an exciting year ahead of us, building on the journey we had last year. It’s full speed ahead for us at the moment with plans to perform Mozart’s theatrical and action-packed ‘Coronation Mass’ with featured soloists and orchestra, as well as a Hollywood Tribute Concert to come later in the year featuring the very best choral arrangements from all the movies.

The next exciting project in the works is a CD Concert recording and on the not-so distant horizon we have plans for an Australian Tour – next stop world domination! Who knows, we might well see you back on PledgeMe soon.

Find out about our other adventures at our facebook page!

Top 7 Educators Who Crowdfunded Their Way To Success

With school starting up again, we thought now was the perfect time to showcase how some educators are getting involved in crowdfunding. Here’s just a few (there are many more) examples of the projects that made a difference in education.

1. Thinking Digital

Primary school teachers Tara TJ and Jo Fothergill took a research sabbatical to investigate innovative classroom practices. Not only did they attend the Thinking Digital conference in the UK, but they became the first kiwis to speak at the conference, alongside representatives from Google, BBC and TED. To attend and speak, they needed to fund their trip all by themselves and raised over $1500 in travel costs. Tara and Jo took the ideas they gained from attending the conference back with them to their classrooms in Pukerua Bay.

2. The Kaikorai Journey

Kaikorai Primary School students (with the help of their principal, Simon Clarke) wrote, directed and produced a movie The Quest all by themselves. The movie is based on their school’s values system and incorporated many iconic Dunedin locations such as Larnach Castle. They booked The Regent Theatre for their premiere and used PledgeMe to raise over $6,000 so the entire school and their families could attend the premiere for free.

3. 2 Girls, 1 Conference

Leilani Kake and Ema Tavola are two Pacific art practitioners based in South Auckland. To get their unique pacific art practices heard at the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) in Vancouver, Canada, they needed to raise over $2500 in travel costs. Leilani and Ema ended up raising nearly double that with $4050 in total. Leilani and Ema went to the conference where Leilani spoke about her video installation practices and intercultural identity and Ema contributed to a panel on “curating pacific spaces” and contemporary pacific art in New Zealand.

4. Help South Auckland Grow

Manurewa Intermediate students wanted to leave a “graduation legacy” that promotes their school’s value on sustainable living. They turned to PledgeMe to purchase food trees to be planted on the school’s marae and fale complex. They planted plum, fig, avocado, tamarillo and nikau trees. Also, because so many of the students come from Pacific Island families, they also planted frangipani, hibiscus and taro shrubs. With this effort, the students gave back.

5. Books of the Rainbow

Not only did Leilana Quinger volunteer to teach at the Rainbow Academy in rural India, but she raised the money for vital resources including textbooks, whiteboards (to replace the existing blackboards), sports equipment and small speakers for Nepali dance classes. During her stay in India, she asked her Mother to send over a large box of donated books, which she had acquired after working in a University Bookshop for seven years. So. Much. Awesome.

6. Look through our Eyes

The Ahuroa primary school photography club, with the help of the Club Leader Theressa, crowd funded over $700 to put on an exhibition of their photos of the theme “Through our Eyes”.  Which is pretty impressive considering the kids are aged between 7 and 11 years old and worked hard for nine months on their show. Here are the kids with their cameras:

7. Collab with Colab

Last year, AUT University’s Colab project asked us talk to their Creative Technology students about crowdfunding. Colab set a crowdfunding assignment, using PledgeMe. The students had to create a pitch, but the marking criteria was crowdsourced from the class. We heard pitches about social enterprise and teepees. They even shared with us tips and tricks about what makes an effective pitch video. Here are a few examples of what they come up with:

Corey Paiva and the Stray team

Christian Tiandrawinata and The Planter Box team

What does home mean to you?

That was the question that the Loading Docs team asked film makers late last year, and the resulting 67 short doco proposals they received were so varied they almost couldn’t be compared – everyone had a different way of showing Aotearoa to the world. From that bunch, 10 were picked to receive NZ on Air and NZ Film Commission funding, and set to the task of match funding the rest through us over the month of February.

The Loading Docs team did a fabulous job of supporting the film makers in January to get their pitches together, and I spent some time with them at their workshop giving them tips and tricks on how to do crowdfunding well – with one of our successes, Karl from Dregs.

The projects launched Monday, and in just under three days one has been funded, and overall they’ve raised almost 40% of their goal.

Want to meet the film makers? Check out their pitches below, and click here to see how they’re going on campaigns.

Loading Docs - Class of 2014

“The Road to Whakarae” By Aaron Smart and Tim Worrall

The Road to Whakarae winds deep into the Urewera Ranges where kaumatua, Beam Titoko is putting on his best cowboy hat and boots, digging out his classic Gibson guitar and preparing to sing a waiata to call his whānau back home.  An affectionate portrait of a Tūhoe community by Tūhoe filmmakers, The Road to Whakarae celebrates the simple lifestyles and closeness of whānau who have stayed on their traditional lands to keep their home fires burning.

Living Like a King by Zoe MacIntosh

The disaster of the Christchurch Earthquake left the majority of its population devastated but for a small group of homeless people, the earthquake meant new and luxurious living opportunities. Living like a King is an intimate portrait of one of Christchurch’s oldest Streeties (Aka Cowboy) and his unexpected taste of what its like to live like a King.

Today by Loom Films

From the last resident going to bed to the first person rising, Today follows the passing of time for residents and workers of a South Auckland rest home and offers an evocative insight into a place many New Zealanders call ‘home’.

‘Wayne’ By Kirsty Griffin and Vivienne Kernick

For Wayne, a profoundly intellectually disabled man, living with others has always been fraught with conflict, but at 44 he has finally been given a home of is own. With this space Wayne is now ready to begin the rest of his life.

Queer Selfies By Robyn & Paula

Coming out is one thing, coming home another. Home is a complex concept to anyone of an ‘alternative’ sexuality, with its connotations of place, identity and security. In this film, a diverse range of the queer community talk to a self-operated camera about their personal experiences; sharing stories which are moving, humorous and compelling.

The Jump By Alex Sutherland

With a healthy mix of imagination, balls and rough Newtonian physics, a kiwi bloke jumped off a bridge in 1980, starting what has become a worldwide phenomenon. The Jump is an origin story of Bungy jumping and its unsung creator Chris Sigglekow. Unearthed video footage from the 80s uncovers this amazing period of Bungy’s beginnings.

‘Dans’ – animated short film by Joel Kefali

Dans (Turkish for ‘dance’) is an animated documentary based around the storytelling of Sol, an elderly Turkish migrant now living in New Zealand. In this colourful short Sol recounts a treasured memory from his early days as a refugee spent at “The Orange” – a popular dance hall in Auckland.

 

STOP/GO – a short documentary By Greg Jennings

Be it in scorching sunlight or sideways snowfall, the workers behind the stop/go signs on our roads gain a unique insight into our home, Aotearoa. Using the natural beauty of New Zealand as the backdrop, Stop/Go shares an untold kiwi story of identity and earning an honest day’s pay.

HOMING By Andrew Scott

In one elegant shot this short documentary takes the viewer on an unusual journey through a New Zealand home on a summers day.  A peaceful work that initiates contemplation on what humans choose to have in their homes, and the natural and man-made symphony that surrounds us all.

 

What does home mean to you?

2013: A BIG year for PledgeMe

We’ve had an amazing year – 2013 was a BIG year for Pledge Me – BIG projects, BIG impact, BIG change, BIG events and BIG thanks.

  • In 2013, we hit two significant milestones. In April, we hit the $1 million mark. But in October, we broke our own record and hit the $2 million mark.

  • In total, Pledge Me has raised a combined $2.2 million for 491 project successes.

  • In 2014, our big hairy audacious goal is to raise $5 million, and we’re well on our way to hit the $3 million mark.

THE BIGGEST PROJECTS OF 2013

We could never have hit these million dollar milestones without our project creators who work tirelessly crowdfunding to make a difference and impact in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Over 300 projects met their funding goal. That’s more projects than the New Zealand Film Commission funds in one year. The NZFC funded 107 projects in 2013.

  • The BIGgest projects of the year came from the South Island.

  • The BIGgest projects of the year made a significant impact in Christchurch.

1. GONE CURLING – $21,595 Pledged

Gone Curling, a short film about the last ice curlers in the world struggling to keep the game alive, raised $21,595 earning them the mantle of “BIGgest Project Ever!” back in the middle of 2012.

2. THE GAPFILLER CREW “Pallet Pavillion” – $82,000 Pledged

The Curling crew reigned for a year, until the Gapfiller Crew came along and took that mantle of “BIGgest Project Ever” when they raised over $82,000 to keep their Pallet Pavilion open. The 3,000 blue wooden pallets that formed a temporary artists’ venue and cafe on a vacant site stayed standing for another summer.

3. THE CHRISTCHURCH ART GALLERY “Back The Bull” – $206,210 Pledged

But within months the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust took us by storm when they raised over double that with $206,210 to buy Chapman’s Homer, a standing bull which became a symbol of the city’s strength as it dealt with the aftermath of the quakes.

BIG IMPACT, BIG CHANGE

It’s not just the BIG projects that have made an impact, but the “small” projects have made a BIG impact too. The “small” projects championed BIG change – in a variety of spaces, from theatre, environment to perceptions of disabilities. Here’s a few of our favourites:

1. WAKA’S CAREER

Upcoming actor Waka Rowlands was discovered by filmmaker Sam Kelly, who cast him in his short film Lambs. After his performance helped the film win a number of awards at international film festivals including Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2013 New Zealand International Festival, Sam raised the money needed to send Waka to Miranda Harcourt’s acting school, and the cost of travel from Waka’s home in Wainuiomata to the acting school in Wellington.

2. THE SUPER POWER BABIES PROJECT

Rachel Callander, a New Zealand based photographer and Mum, sought to create a new language to describe disabilities. Rachel and her husband Sam wanted to make a book of stunning photography showing children from all over New Zealand with a range of chromosomal and genetic conditions. Their work shows the beauty in all children and seeks to change the language from “disabilities” to different abilities or super powers. And it’s the first PledgeMe project that made me cry.

3. COMMUNITY GARDENS

Our community gardens have made a BIG impact too. The Hawea Food Forest is being developed on 700 square metres on public land in the Hawea Domain where the food produced in the forest will be freely available. And now a similar food forest is being developed on Waiheke Island with the help of Andy Cambeis, who established the Hawea Food Forest and wrote created an open-source How-To manual to help others do the same.

We cannot fail to mention the Motueka Community Garden, who gave out one of our favourite rewards of 2013, these beautiful bouquets!

BIG EVENTS

1. FLASH FUNDING MOB – #makesome1syear

We marshalled a “flash funding mob” to shower a busker, any busker with $1,000 in coins. We never expected to discover a family of buskers who had traveled all the way to Auckland from Hamilton to busk the money to make rent. The old saying “nothing draws a crowd like a crowd” was certainly proven right as the people who stopped out of curiosity (and to watch the family’s beautiful singing) donated a further $500 in coins. The $1500 in coins truly did help us make someone’s year.

2. WEBSTOCK

We were stoked to have been selected from over 28 applicants to pitch at Webstock’s Start Up Alley. Webstock is the Woodstock of the tech scene. So, for us, it was like playing alongside Hendrix.  Webstock brings together inspiring techstars from around the world to Wellington to share their insight and wisdom. And we made it to the finals of the start-up competition! We didn’t win, but we did get some invaluable advice from one of the speakers. Kitt Hodsden (@kitt) told us that our point of difference was that we genuinely cared about people – and that we let people fund life projects, instead of focussing on the commercial side. And, we thought she was right.

3. $1 MILLION DOLLAR PARTY

When we hit the million dollar mark we decided we needed to celebrate in style. And what better way than with the people that made it all possible, our project creators and pledgers? We organised a moving feast in Wellington across three different venues, and asked our successes to show us what they’d made (Minuit, Puppet Fiction and Bek Coogan to name a few). We met so many wonderful folk, and asked them what PledgeMe had helped them achieve.

4. CROWDFUNDING SYMPOSIUM

We helped organise the first crowdfunding symposium in the Pacific region. The symposium brought together six crowdfunding platforms from across the Pacific to discuss the upcoming changes to securities laws in New Zealand. From April 1st, companies in New Zealand will be able to crowdfund equity in their companies online – something that previously was illegal. Why’s this such a big thing? It means that you can sell equity in their company to anyone – it’s not restricted to your acquaintances or qualified investors. And, you don’t have to invest tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to list on the stock exchange – you can do it on a licensed crowdfunding platform and let your crowd decide.

5. FESTIVAL FOR THE FUTURE // SOCIAL ENTERPRISE WEEK

Festival for the Future never fails to inspire us. This is our second year in attendance, and it always welcomes a wonderful group of social entrepreneurs and change makers in New Zealand to meet and share their stories. We hosted a session with Philanthropy NZ and KPMG on the future of funding, and the different ways entrepreneurs can access it. We also hosted a stall at Social Enterprise Week and met so many of our success stories – 13 in fact! So not only are the social entrepreneurs do good-ers, but they’re crowdfunding good doers…

BIG Thanks

We can’t say thank you enough – sort of like the kids in our flash funding mob. There are so many people and organisations that have supported PledgeMe by supporting our awesome creators and their awesome projects. We want to thank you for your willingness to help and to pledge. (Even though sometimes you don’t know the creators behind the projects.) We want to thank you for recognizing the creators who want to make a difference.

A BIG thank you from all of us here at Pledge Me.