An acquaintance once told me a good director (on a board of directors, not like Steven Spielberg director) is like having someone on the roof of your car, shining a light onto the road ahead. They aren’t driving (that’s the CEO) or actually in the car (that’s the team) but they make sure you are heading in the right direction, and might occasionally reach into the car to pull the handbrake if they need to.
With Anake leaving our board of directors, we’re on the lookout for someone to jump on the roof of the car that is PledgeMe. That someone needs to be able to shine their fullbeams on our mission to help Kiwis fund the things they care about, our strategy, and oversee our management team.
We’re going to crowdsource applications because… you know… we’re a crowdfunding site. Typically, the hunt for a new board member goes on behind closed doors, but, we’ll be searching for the right person with our crowd’s help. Who is our crowd? Well that’s you! So if you are interested, or you know someone who might be a good fit, have a read of the job description below and apply using the Weirdly form below. If you have further questions then get in touch with either Nick (Chair of the board) or Anna (you know, me).
Details at a glance
Position: PledgeMe Board Member
Length of term: 1 year with the option to renew annually
Applications open: 15 January
Applications close: 10 February
Interviews: 15 February
Directors’ Fees: $1,100 per month (paid in shares / cash annually).
How PledgeMe does governance has evolved significantly since we started up almost four years ago. We started out with the two co-founders setting the direction, doing all the things, and trying to prove crowdfunding was actually a thing New Zealand needed.
Then, we realised we needed outside support. We got a group of smart people together for monthly advisory panel meetings to test our ideas, get feedback, and discuss the best ways to grow PledgeMe.
When we decided to start equity crowdfunding, it became apparent we needed to get serious about governance. It became more formal, with our initial investors in equity crowdfunding becoming our original board members.
After almost two years on the board one of our original board members, Anake, is leaving to focus on his family and other commitments. We’ve decided to go out and find a new director with a fresh perspective. We’re aiming to bring more diversity to our board, and need someone who is ok with the fast pace of a startup and who has the rigour required for being a director on the board of a financial service provider (FSP for you acronym lovers out there).
The sorts of skills you will need
Here’s a list of skills, experiences, and general things we reckon will indicate value-alignment.
Someone who’ll ask good questions
You don’t need to know the answers, but you do need to help us ask the right questions and work toward constructive solutions together. It’s not only about the questions, it’s about sharing your experience and reviewing our work, and chipping in with your informed opinion about the best path forward.
Someone who is ok with a bit of risk (but can manage it too)
PledgeMe likes to do things differently. We want to push boundaries, move quickly, and make a difference. You need to be comfortable with a constantly evolving playing field. To change the world you’ve got to be a bit uncomfortable, right?
We want to make sure we have a diversity of opinions in our decision making — that’s why we have a board. We don’t have to always agree, but we do need to come to solutions which work. You’ll need to be able to identify and tell us about risks. This needs to be done in a constructive and consensus-focussed way.
Someone who is good with kids
You don’t have to have any. We don’t need a babysitter. In our experience, the best board members are the ones who are great parents / aunties or uncles / mentors. Startups are pretty similar to a teenagers, sometimes you need to protect them from themselves but often you just need to let them make their own mistakes in a safe space.
Someone comfortable with tech
You won’t have to dive deep into the Ruby or be our new scrum master, but we need someone who likes using Google Docs, responds to emails promptly, and who knows how to use platforms like Slack, Trello, and Loomio.
Someone who is comfortable with the financial and legal side of things
You don’t need to be an accountant or a lawyer. But, you should be able to read a balance sheet, and be comfortable with the requirements of being a director. We’re also looking for the new board member to bring experience / skills in branding, scaling operations, and/or a legal brain (though, we’ll still call on our lawyers, Buddle Findlay, as needed).
Who is on the board?
Nick Lewis — Nick is an experienced entrepreneur with a history of work in the investment banking space (from JP Morgan through to co-founding Woodward Investments in New Zealand). He is the Chair of our board and independent board member, and started off (back in the day) on our advisory panel.
Anna Guenther — Anna is our Managing Director, co-founder and CEO of PledgeMe. She sounds American but she’s definitely a Kiwi. If pushed, she’ll say she’s technically from Dunedin, but will later admit she grew up in Boston. Having roamed around the world, she now calls Wellington home. Anna completed her Masters on crowdfunding and has worked for everyone from NZTE to MIT (and all of the acronyms in between).
Breccan McLeod-Lundy — Breccan manages all things tech for us with the help of the awesome Rabid team. He is passionate about what the next level of crowdfunding could be, and has a beautifully analytical brain. He’s the only board member left in his 20’s…
Anake Goodall — Anake, our departing board member, has a strong background in both the public and private sector. This busy man is currently on the boards of Meridian and the Ākina Foundation as well as ours. During his time as CEO of Ngāi Tahu, he developed an intergenerational asset allocation programme around their then $700million portfolio. He’s South Island based. Read our farewell to him here.
You? We’d like to add some diversity to the board. That could come in a few forms: gender, age, location, physical ability, orientation, the list goes on… More on this soon.
How our board rolls
The Board has the primary responsibility to oversee the conduct of PledgeMe and to supervise management (who are responsible for the day-to-day activities). In performing its functions, the Board primarily considers the interests of PledgeMe to which its fiduciary duty ultimately resides, and then to its shareholders. It also considers the legitimate interests of other constituents such as employees, suppliers, and customers.
Number of board members
We currently have four board members, and aim for between 3–5 board members at any time, with a mix of skills, backgrounds, and expertise. A quorum is currently 3 board members. Nick was deemed our independent director under the NZX rules, but we aim to get one more independent director. Aiming for 40% female representation, with wider general diversity (age, location, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation).
The Chairperson shall be appointed by the Board on an annual basis (May meeting). The current Chairperson is Nick Lewis.
New directors are appointed at PledgeMe’s AGM or through a resolution passed with the shareholders during the year. Nick will manage the staggering of the board terms, based on interest, their performance and the filling of skill gaps.
Board membership is set to a 1 year term with the ability to renew annually.
Set at $1,100 per month paid annually in arrears and paid in a mix of shares but with enough cash to cover tax implications.
Monthly board meetings and occasional discussions on Loomio, though this can be moved to purely online (via Loomio) as needed. 10–15 hrs per month. Board members are required to respond to discussions and emails within two working days.
The Board retains the responsibility for managing its own affairs including the responsibility to:
i) Appoint the Chairman of the Board;
ii) Appoint, review and/or replace the Chief Executive Officer
iii) determine the timing and agenda for Board meetings.
iv) annually review the skills and experience represented on the Board in light of rapidly changing business requirements.
v) recommend the criteria and potential candidates who meet the criteria to the Board.
vi) on the recommendation of the Chair, appoint, determine the composition of and set the terms of reference for Board committees;
vii) approve the terms of reference for the CEO and Chairman.
viii) implement an appropriate process for assessing the effectiveness of the Board, the Board Chair, committees and directors in fulfilling their responsibilities.
ix) assess the adequacy and form of director compensation and make recommendations to the shareholders to approve the director compensation at the Annual General Meeting.
x) assume responsibility for Company’s governance practices and ensure they meet the needs of the shareholders, employees and customers; and
xi) monitor our compliance with our licensing obligations under the Financial Markets authority.
So that’s the role and the kind of person we’re looking for. Think it’s you? Then please fill out this application form powered by Weirdly.
UPDATE: Some people have been having trouble filling out the embedded form. If it isn’t working, not saving, or crashing then please click through here and complete it.