How to: Find a board member (through your crowd)

It’s been a three month long quest, but we’re almost there replacing the vacant seat on our board. While we’re sad to lose dear Anake, this has been a great process for us to find new talent, mix up our board, and get really clear on where we’re going and who we need in the mix to get there.

Having appointed (and tried to appoint) a few board members over the years, we’ve realised that finding good governance beyond your founding team is hard. Like capital raising — something we know a bit about — it’s often seen as a ‘nice to have’ not a necessary. So I thought it might be useful to document the process PledgeMe took finding our new board member, so other startups (and stay-ups) could see it’s not so hard and it is so necessary to set your companies strategy and manage your risk.

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How to PledgeMe.

The curious tale of what happens after you request a campaign

By the simple act of hitting the request button, suddenly your project idea is real, has form, and has gone off into the internet tubes to be assessed by a team of specially trained mice. Twisted, turned, hummed and haaaa-ed over, tapped, shaken, and rolled out on the floor for a better look.

If you feed PledgeMe cheese, they'll be happy mice.

Pushing that button is starting your project on the path to life, and we have the great joy of receiving it. Sadly we haven’t trained the mice well enough to oversee the process, so it falls mostly to yours truly (Tash) to check it out.

So what happens when you hit the button? You’ve filled out all the fields, told us your life story, and now it disappears into the darkness. You wait with great anticipation, refreshing your inbox every five minutes to see if we’ve replied.

Well, here’s how it goes

  • You request your campaign idea, complete with story, people, reward ideas and funding goal.
  • It pings an alert in my inbox, waiting patiently for my attention. Once (or sometimes twice) per work day, I open the folder which holds all the project notifications.
  • I click through to see what you’ve sent me. At this point all I know is your title, so my anticipation is based solely on your title, so capturing my interest at this point is a sign of a great project. Think of me as the average pledger who doesn’t know you — and write your title with the aim of getting me interested straight away.
  • I read over what you’ve sent. The key things I look for are: specific mention of what your project is about and how you’re going to achieve it, how much money you’re after and what you’re going to spend it on.
  • I hit ‘approve’ if you have all of those things covered, if not, I’ll probably email you to check any details that aren’t clear.
  • If the project primarily reads as if the funding is for charitable purposes, or the project is such there are no possible rewards to be offered, I’ll let you know and point in the right direction to get some assistance.
  • Once I’ve hit ‘approve’, I’ll follow up with an email. It’s full of super useful information about filling in the rest of your project details. It may look long and daunting, but it’s definitely worth reading.
  • Hooray! You can now log in, go to your project and edit ALL THE THINGS.
  • You push the final magical ‘submit’ button.
  • Again, a sparkly email arrives in the mailbox, and I’ll check in on what you’ve done. I’ll make sure you have: a video or main image, a funding goal, a deadline, a solid description and rewards.
  • If any of those key items are missing, or lacking detail, or otherwise a bit wonky, I’ll get in touch with suggestions to straighten them out. You make the edits and submit again.
  • If everything is there and I think you’re on the right track, I hit the final button: PUBLISH! Hooray! And now your project will be live on the site, ready for people to get pledging.

Pro tips

If you want to make the mice super happy, then pay heed to these pro tips.

The PledgeMe mice are happy you're going to follow Tash's pro tips.

  • Allow at least 5 working days for publishing from when you send the initial pitch through. Definitely tell people you are going to run a campaign, build the anticipation so when you can share a direct link everyone is ready to go.
  • Have all the information required before you create the project. It’ll make the process much faster and get your project live sooner, rather than it percolating in the background as a half-filled-in idea.
  • Ask us questions! Not sure about your pitch, your reward ideas or need to check in about the timeframes? We’re always ready and willing with advice – remember this is what we love and do every day!
How to PledgeMe.

What is this crowd you speak of?

While this modern life can occasionally feel a bit lonely, the reality is we all have a crowd. Like an enormous venn-diagram, we’re all connected to each other in some way: be it by blood, a common interest, a shared workspace or simply by walking down the same street at the same time.

Here at PledgeMe we don’t ever shut up about crowds. The crowd you need to tap into to get your project running, to reach your goal and bring life to a dream. For us it’s a word that starts to look funny when we read it because we use it so often, but it certainly doesn’t lose its meaning.

There’s a few different components making up your crowd. Let’s take a jam donut. Donuts are not only tasty and delicious, they work really well as a metaphor. Also it gave us an excuse to eat donuts for research purposes.

Mmmmmm donuts.

Donuts are delicious (and are a good metaphor for crowdfunding).

Imagine yourself as the jam. You’re right in the middle, with an idea. Jam on its own is ok, sure, but is made so much better with some support.

1. Cream: The bit immediately surrounding the jam (you). Making the donut that much more delicious, you can’t really have jam without cream to complement it.

These are the people you first mention the project to. The ones you run the idea past to gauge just how crazy it might be, test subjects you speak with before you’ve even filled out the pitch submission. They might be your friends, family, or respected people who terrify you but give you confidence to go through with it.

Your immediate crowd are critical: talk them through the whole process of submitting and publishing the project, and make sure they know when it goes live. They’ll have their trigger fingers ready to pledge immediately and give you momentum right at the start.

Writing a list of these people and contacting them directly is the best plan of attack (and as a bonus you can pat yourself on the back for being super organised). Maybe even get them together, give them donuts and have a pledging party.

2. Pastry: A donut wouldn’t be a donut without the sweet bready bit holding it all together. People come for the jam and cream, but don’t get very far without pastry.

This is where social media comes in. All your friends on Facebook, your followers on Twitter and Instagram: these people have at least some vague idea of who you are and what you’re about. They are by no means less important than your immediate crowd, they keep the ball rolling with pledges. When you’re making donuts, if you don’t get this bit right then it might all fall apart. The same goes for a crowdfunding campaign.

Oh gosh. Just let me eat it already.

As you can see, the simple jam and cream donut is much more powerful than we first thought.

3. Sugar: The literal sugar on top, pushing you over the edge with delight.

The magic of the internet is that messages can be shared super easily. These are the people you met once at a party, worked with briefly, or possibly don’t even know at all. But your immediate (cream) and secondary (pastry) people are friends with them, work with them, or buy coffee from them. When your project is shared on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram (or LinkedIn or Pinterest or Slack), these metaphorical sugar people see it. Their interest is piqued.

But how do you get them to pledge? By having a video (bonus points) and really great content. This is the crowd who might not know you, but help get your project over the line. Convince them to jump on board by being the most excellent you you can be. We know you are, and this part of your crowd have the potential to move through the layers and end up as part of your immediate crowd. Who knows, they may even be just the right person to make some extra magic happen.

Without one of the four components, a donut wouldn’t quite work, nor be quite so delicious. The greatest thing about a donut is eating it, and for the purposes of this metaphor, appreciating how your crowd comes together to make a successful whole.

 

FINALLY!

The perfect don… crowdfunding campaign. Mmmmmmm donuts.

How to PledgeMe.

How to make friends

AKA how to network and influence your crowd

I sometimes joke that my superpower is making friends. And, as much as I laugh it off as not actually being a superpower, it is one of most powerful skills I have.

Whenever I give talks I emphasise the importance of networking. One lecturer recently sent me feedback from her class on what resonated in my speech, and the response to my networking tips was amazing. So here they are to help your crowdfunding campaign, business development, or life in general.

How you view networking

A lot of people get a bit put off by the idea of “networking”. They see it as this slimy thing you have to do to progress your career or grow your business. The typical vision is of suits, canapés, and boring conversations. That’s not how it has to be at all! Networking is really just making friends.

Go out, meet people, have conversations, and if they’re boring back away! Each event you go to try to meet one new interesting person who you’d like to talk to again. Don’t feel the pressure to be liked by everyone or to like everyone. Every event is a possibility to meet cool, new folk that might be in your life for a few years (or just a few minutes). And possibly about eating as many canapés as possible.

An Artist's impression of Anna doin' her networking thang.

An Artist’s impression of Anna doin’ her networking thang.

How to connect

BE INTERESTED! Ask questions. Listen. Tell your own stories. Be your uniquely interesting and badass self. That means they’ll remember you (and you’ll remember them). File away one or two mental notes like what their daughter is studying or their tip on the best book they’ve read this year will endear you to them the next time you meet (which let’s face it you will because it’s New Zealand).

How you follow up

Tip: you don’t have to. Really. Your networking could just be that event. You could follow them on Twitter, or grab their card for future reference. But don’t feel the need to follow up if there’s no need (though if you say you will, you probably should).

You never know when remembering that  american tax specialist might come in handy in the future.Even if and all you only have a vague recollection of their name and where they work, Google will help you find them.

How to activate your network

So you’ve built your network, your crowd. Some of them are strong links (people you think are the bees knees and have coffees with on the regular) through to weak links (people you’ve met once at an event and haven’t seen them since).

When you want to activate the strong or weak links it is as easy as sending them a note. Make it brief. Offer them a hot or cold beverage, and ask to meet for a half hour to discuss one specific topic. If it’s their bread and butter, they may want to charge you for the meeting. But, if you make it interesting enough, quick enough, and offer them a coffee on you, they might just take up the meeting.

If someone helps you make sure you try and help them in the future.

Your crowd can literally carry you places.

Your crowd can literally carry you places.

To recap…

My top networking tips are

  • Treat people like people.
  • It’s amazing what you can do over a drink.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but be willing to return the favour.
  • If you’re asking for a lot of help, you should be willing to pay for it.
  • Don’t take it personally if people don’t respond, they’re probably busy.
  • Use Twitter to connect (how powerful those 140 characters are!)
  • Have fun! (seriously… if it’s not fun, why are you doing it?)

All the best with your foray into making friends and influencing people.

Postscript

Feedback that spurred this post:

The most frequent comments were around your discussions of networking and how you build and use your network: they loved your advice and had not realised before that simply showing genuine interest in other people and their stories, as well as just having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with someone and chatting could become an important networking activity.
Related to the above, some of them really liked your explanation of getting to know your crowd and building on the relationships and expertise there

Your [Five] Ps were also very memorable and stood out for some of them; one person said the P that really hit home was ‘preparing’ a really good business plan and that she hadn’t realised how critical that was until now

All of the descriptors/adjectives used for you were very positive: cool, amazing, warm, fun-loving, very interesting, genuine, nice, enthusiastic, awesome

One person commented that your networking ideas were very helpful and it sounds like you enjoy a few wines : )

How to PledgeMe.

Taking good pictures when you don’t know how to take good pictures

(And have a rubbish phone)

 

It really is hard to overstate how important imagery is when you’re running a PledgeMe campaign. Though there’s no rule as such, successful campaigns generally tend to come with a bunch of pretty, well-lit pictures, and the ones that don’t quite make it often lack a little in the looks department.

My official role at PledgeMe is Chief Design Awesomiser – whether I quite live up to that lofty title is for others to decide. But in my time behind a camera – video or otherwise – there are a number of techniques I’ve picked up that will improve any picture or video in ways far easier than they have any right to be.

Though I very much like the two cameras I have, neither is especially new, and I’m often looking to ways in which to improve the photos from them without spending any money.*

This edu-torial would be nothing without pictures themselves, so for this, I am going to (reluctantly) limit myself to my relatively awful cellphone camera (Motorola Moto G II), and not do any processing to the images that I can’t do in the phone itself.

Here are some tips.

An fairly well-lit, deliberately-composed tako. This is our humble goal.

An fairly well-lit, deliberately-composed tako taken on a rubbish phone camera. This is our humble goal.

1. Zoom with your feet.

If you’re in the habit of doing that little thing with your fingers where you push them apart on your screen like you’re trying to get a wrinkle out of it, please stop. Just move closer. If you can’t get any closer, try again, and ask yourself if you’re just really comfy and don’t want to leave your chair.

When you do that little pinchy thing, all you’re really doing is telling your camera to stretch the pixels, which isn’t generally a good idea. Move closer, and make every pixel count.

Left: Image taken by moving as close as possible. Right: Yucky digital zoom to get the same framing.

 

2. Take fewer, better pictures

This isn’t necessarily a rule I always follow myself, but I do try. Except in circumstances when a moment is fleeting, take your time to compose your shot; one pretty good photo is infinitely more useful than 20 kind-of-rubbish, blurry, poorly-lit ones.

A hurriedly taken photo that is wonky, poorly focused, and in which the camera is moving. All problems that can be solved in seconds.

A hurriedly taken photo that is wonky, poorly focused, and in which the camera is moving. All problems that can be solved in seconds.

Consider your photo’s content

Make sure everything you do want in your picture is actually in the picture, and anything you don’t necessarily want photographed, isn’t.

It sounds simple, is simple, and avoids situations where you realise that a picture you just shared with 700 Facebook friends actually contains a subtle reflection of your belly-button hair.

Tako is overwhelmed by her surroundings.

Tako is overwhelmed by her surroundings.

Consider your framing

A fairly good rule of thumb is to take shots at 90°. By this, I mean, get perpendicular to your subject, and try to keep some of the lines in your shot (walls, floors, horizons) at a multiple of 90°. Wes Anderson’s style is pretty much defined by this, and he’s done pretty well for himself.

This will generally make your shots feel more deliberate, and make people think you know more about what you’re doing than you do. It’ll also generally stop your shots implying that your subjects are giants or teeny-tiny if you keep the camera perpendicular to the floor, rather than gazing up into their nostrils.

3. Find better lighting

By this, I don’t mean spending any money on fancy lights – rather, there are multiple things you can do to make the lighting of your photos nicer – most of which should only cost you seconds of your life.

Find natural light

For this, you don’t even have to venture outdoors. Take whatever it is – person, animal, or object – and drag it near a window. Take a picture. Your picture is now 19 times better than it was when it was lit by a solitary fluorescent light in a small dirty bathroom. That’s just science. Turning off any artificial lights will remove that yellow sheen from your pictures.

In which the subject is poorly-lit, and the photographer is missing out on cuteness-potential.

In which the subject is poorly-lit, and the photographer is missing out on huge amounts of potential for cuteness.

Don’t take pictures at night (unless you really have to)

Some things only happen at night and there’s not a lot you can do about that. If you’re trying to get a shot of the milky way, your chances aren’t great during the daytime. If you’re trying to get a picture of the toaster-bike you’re really trying to sell as a cool neat invention that every New Zealander needs, wait until dawn, and take your picture then.

The Golden Hour

This is the term often used by photographers to describe that hour just before dusk (or after dawn if you happen to be out of bed) when photos automatically look really really sweet without any effort on your part. This doesn’t work if you take your pictures in the toilet, unless your toilet is in a wheat field, or next to a really choice stream.

Direct sunlight isn’t as great as it sounds

If you’re taking pictures outside in the middle of a sunny day, you might actually be better off being in the shade. It’s somewhat counterintuitive, but there is such a thing as too much light. The teeny-tiny sensor in your cellphone can’t cope with the huge amount of contrast that direct sunlight provides, and significant amounts of your image will end up being purely black or white. And on top of everything else, it makes people all squinty and sweaty-looking.

4. Turn off your flash

Better than that, remove the flash altogether from your phone. Pry it out, crush it under your heel, and recycle it responsibly†. According to statistics that I totally just made up but know to be true, no picture has ever been improved by a flash from a cellphone. The flash will not only refract offensively through every droplet of sweat on your subject’s upper lip, it’ll make everyone appear yellow and jaundiced, and probably unfortunate-looking enough that they won’t want you using the picture for anything anyway.

Even more offensively, using the flash to take pictures of food will in 100% of cases make the food look inedible and sickly. Wait for the sun to come up, and get near a window.

Tako is not seen in the most flattering light. Turn off your flash.

Tako is not seen in the most flattering light. Turn off your flash, egg.

5. Any picture is better than no picture

Sometimes, you’re going to be taking a picture of something that is far away, moving quickly, inside, at night time. In those case, feel free to absolutely ignore everything I’ve just said. You almost certainly won’t end up with a masterpiece, but you will end up with something – which is kind of nice.

*An Olympus E-PL3 (2011) and a Canon 60D (2010)

†Don’t actually do this please.

How to PledgeMe.

Four Steps for a Fab Team Photo

Thankyou Payroll 7

People pledge to people. The best way to get your crowd invested in your project is to show them who’s behind it, and what better way to do that than a team photo-shoot? So, by studying the great work of our friends at Thankyou Payroll, we’ve come up with the four steps you need for a fab team photo.

Thankyou Payroll 3

1. Collect your team

Your team might not initially be on board with becoming models. If you’re having trouble with a few camera-shy colleagues, remind them how it’ll help them connect with your crowd, and ask them what kind of shot they’d be comfortable with. If worst comes to worst, let them hold the dog.

Thankyou Payroll 5

2. Choose your pose

A great photo is all about great composition. Find a stance that suits each team member, but remember that the photo’s all about cohesion – make sure you’re showing off how good you look as a team, not just as lovely individuals.

Thankyou Payroll 1

3. Stay consistent

If you’re taking lots of different photos, it’s good to keep a consistent theme running through them, so people remember what you’re about. We love how Thankyou Payroll’s dog, Hale-Bopp, is present in all their photos (although to be clear, points of consistency are not limited to canine companions!)

Thankyou Payroll 2

4. Have some fun!

At the end of the day, a team photo is all about expressing your team’s unique personality. Don’t be afraid to get weird or wacky with it – just show your crowd you who are. They’ll love you all the more for it, we promise!

And, as a bonus tip: If you don’t know what to do, ask your crowd! We loved seeing the crowdsourcing efforts of Thankyou Payroll this week:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 6.48.15 PM

And, if you don’t know who Thankyou Payroll are – check them out asap here: https://thankyoupayroll.co.nz. They provide a free payroll service to charities and kiwi businesses (and they are awesome).

How to PledgeMe.

Top Ten Tools for Crowdfunding

hammerWHITE

Connecting with your crowd can be tricky. Luckily, there are lots of great sites and apps that can help you at all stages of your campaign: creation, organisation, promotion and connection. Check out our top ten tools below, and see what they can do for you and your crowd.

creationWHITE

1. Google Docs

This extension of Google allows you to create documents online, and is a really good place to write your pitch – it’s free, easily accessible and simple to use. Plus, multiple people can edit a document simultaneously, which gives you an easy way of collaborating with other people in your team. It’s also sort of freaky.

2. Google Drive/Dropbox

It’s important for your team’s sake that you have a way to store the files you’re creating, so everyone can access them easily. Drive and Dropbox are both great tools for this – they let you and your chosen group upload or download files which you can access from anywhere, any time.

orgWHITE

3. Trello

When you’re organising a campaign, the sheer list of things you need to get done can be overwhelming. Trello helps you keep track of you and your team’s to-do list. You can upload and assign tasks, and keep an eye on how your different projects are progressing. We especially love the check list function, tick tick tick!

4. Google Calendar

You need to be able to visualise the timeline of your project, and ensure that everyone in your team is in the loop. Google Calendar syncs easily with Gmail, and lets you invite members of your team to specific events, as well as reminding you about upcoming appointments and deadlines.

promoWHITE

5. Social Media

In order to keep in touch with your crowd, you need to think about how you will use social media. By using sites like Twitter and Facebook you can give your followers updates on your campaign on their own turf, and they have the opportunity to connect with you too. Photo-sharing sites like Instagram are great for this too; they’re an easy way to check in with your crowd and remind them what you’re up to. But not in a spammy way, make sure to have conversations not just promotion fests.

6. Canva

Canva is a super-easy design tool that makes creating images simple, even for people who’ve never designed before. It has specific templates for different kinds of social media, making the process of creating and sharing images online straightforward and enjoyable. We even used it for the images in this blog (just to prove a point, we still love our designer Rory).

7. Squarespace

Having a website is a great way to inform people about your projects. Squarespace is a very easy-to-use website builder, with customisable content and a professional look.

connectionWHITE

8. MailChimp

MailChimp is a great way to email your crowd en masse. They have beautiful newsletter templates, and make it really easy to design sign up forms. Plus, if you have fewer than 2,000 contacts your account is free!

9. Google Forms

Feedback from your crowd is always useful. Google Forms lets you build free surveys to send to your followers quickly, and turns their responses into a spreadsheet so you can analyse what they had to say.

10. Attending.io

This app helps you make event pages that look great, but that are simple and easy to create. Your followers can choose to RSVP with any of their social media accounts or email, which allows you more freedom in bringing different parts of your crowd together. Use this to create your launch party, or your celebration picnic when you meet your goal. Organise investor Meet and Greet’s, or tea parties. Go wild, with your crowd.

That’s our top 10 (or 13 if you count some of the cramming we did under Social Media), but we’d love to hear what you’re using at the moment. So comment below, and happy funding!

How to PledgeMe.

Don’t forget the crowd in crowdfunding

We keep on reading articles that don’t seem to get the importance of your crowd in crowdfunding – so we thought we’d give you the top 5 reasons we think your crowd is the most important part of your campaign. Maybe even more important than you….

1. Your first follower is what turns a lone nut into a leader

That first person that pledges might be your mother, but they’ll also be the person that everyone emulates. They’re the first person to show that they believed in you. We think Derek Siver’s put it best, when he said that the first follower is an underestimated form of leadership in itself.

2. They’ll give more than money

If your crowd believes in what you’re doing enough to pledge – they might have even more to give. They’ll give advice, share your project, maybe even help you out with the skills that they have, or provide you with rewards to offer with your campaign. Some people seem to think that this money isn’t as smart as traditional investors – we’d like to counter that and say it might not just be smarter and more diverse, but also immensley more practical.

3. They’ll ask the right questions

Some research has recently been completed in Germany to show that consumer investors ask good questions because they actually use your product. So while they might not all be financial experts, they’ll know if your product sounds like something they’d use. And some accountants might be in that mix asking questions about your financials as well. You never know who will come out of the woodwork in your crowd.

“As is true with markets, transparency produces fairness.” Michael Bloomberg wrote in his 1997 book “Bloomberg by Bloomberg.”

4. They’ll love you – and if you’re sticky enough – that’ll spread (not like an STD)

This is a chance for you to rally your crowd around you. It’s your chance for Great Uncle Jim, Aunty Margaret and your best friend from high school to all give you some help, and get something in return. It’s also the chance for your engaged customers who tell all their friends about what you make to get involved. They’ll be along for the ride, and maybe even bring some of their crowd along too. The social cohesion around crowdfunding is often under-estimated, but it’s the secret sauce that makes this different from pure financial plays or simply buying a CD.

5. They’ll keep you real

There’s nothing like your bestie or your mum to keep you real. They’ll push you to greater things, but also question your plans and expectations with real honesty. And that transparency and honesty will keep people engaged even when things aren’t going well. But what you need to remember is that communication is key – just keep people updated folks.

The importance of your crowd resonates across all types of crowdfunding. Without a crowd, you won’t get your funding. And that crowd always starts really close to home.

How to PledgeMe.

Top 7 Quirky Ways to Market Your Crowdfunding Project

We love it when our creators get creative, and quirky. Here’s just a few (there are many more) examples of quirky rewards on some of our projects.

1. Panda Onesies

To celebrate raising $7000 for their film Hold Your Breath, Candlelit Pictures posted this pic of the team in their panda onesies along with a big THANK YOU to all their pledgers. We love this because it’s not a generic thank you. The expression on Alix’s face (right) says it all.

2. Create a Religion Dedicated To Your Pledgers

Mangle and Gruff took rewards to the next level when they promised to create a religion dedicated to anyone who pledged $1000 to help the band record a new EP. And someone did that. We’re still not sure if the band has worshipped in front of the pledgers house yet though…

3. Promise To Shave Off Your Beard

When Milarky needed to raise $5,000 to refill his graffiti stocks after painting a shark mural in Wellington central, he promised to shave off his fully vegetarian-fueled beard if he met his goal. Now Milarky is a big beardless PledgeMe success story.

4. Homekill

To raise the money needed to build a measurement tower for their wind turbine planning, Blueskin Energy went out to their crowd of Blueskin Bay residents to source rewards for their campaign. They had everything from artwork to blues lessons offered back to them, and even one resident who offered to “homekill” chickens for each $15 pledge.

5. Everyone Loves A Good Pun

Who doesn’t love a good pun? The Christchurch Art Gallery used lots of bull puns in the copy on their project, Back the Bull, which aimed to buy back Michael Parekowhai’s bull sculptures. “Bull-iever” “Unbullievable” “Unbelieveabull” “Unstoppabull” certainly livened up their copy.

6. Costume Changes

Not only did Liz Kirkman ask her crowd to send her to Perugia, Italy to work with vocal experts, but she asked her crowd to help her decide what to wear. Liz posted her costume ideas to Facebook, and her crowd could vote for the costume they thought was best.

7. More Panda Onesies

When James Shaw needed to raise the money to get himself to Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Programme, he promised to travel from New Zealand to Chicago in a panda onesie, if he got a big $500 pledge. Any reward involving panda onesies is alright with us.

“It’s not Dumb Money, it’s Love Money”

It’s amazing how fast the last month has flown by! We thought it might be time for a quick update on all things equity crowdfunding, so here goes:

Licensing update

The Financial Market Conduct Act came into effect 1 April, wahooo! We celebrated in the office, and hope you did too?

Sadly – this doesn’t mean we’re licensed yet though. We’re working through the process with the FMA (who is regulating everyone going into the space) and it’s definitely going to take a few weeks to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Since we’re all building this space as we go, we want to make sure we do it right.

How it could work

A lot of people have been asking what will be required to run an equity campaign. It will be a bit more than the current rewards side for sure, so it’s good everyone is asking. Here’s the minimum info that we expect we’ll need to get companies up and running with equity crowdfunding:

  • Company Name (as in the Companies office) and location / sector

  • Team details (Directors and Senior Managers)

  • Basic info around Idea, Market, Exit Plan / Treatment of Dividends

  • Financial Accounts created by an accountant or pulled from Xero (up to past three years, dependent on how long the company has been trading) – bonus points if audited.

  • Financial Forecast for the next three years – including money raised

  • Images from business / team in description / browse box

  • Business plan

  • Valuation of the company

  • Equity on offer (min target, and max overfund)

  • Rewards and a pitch video will be optional, but recommended.

The pricing will be similar to our model now (5% success fee), though there will be a few legal costs at the end (getting the final share registers and everything set up), and a cost to run background checks.

We’ll also have a Q&A forum for potential investors to ask companies questions (or offer support), and a shareholders communication portal after the campaign is successful.

Crowd update

We’ve been talking to literally 100’s if not 1000’s of people about equity crowdfunding – from all walks of business and life. The semi-overwhelming response has been excitement – using technology to make raising equity funding more transparent and efficient has really resounded with the crowd.

Our favourite comment so far though, came from a craft brewery that is looking at launching with us. When we mentioned some areas of the eco system were sceptical that equity crowdfunding wouldn’t be smart money – he responded with what is now our favourite blog title ever “it’s not dumb money, it’s love money”. Through our talks, the excitement of really skilled everyone (business people, lawyers, accountants, designers) has been infectious. They’d love to invest small amounts AND help if needed. So instead of a handful of smart investors – you could have hundreds of savvy people backing you and ready to jump in and help.

Shout out if you’d like to chat to us about this a bit more!