Introducing PledgeMe Month of Women, with a little help from Brianne West.

    We’re celebrating women founders this March!

    Are you a wāhine (woman), who has started a project or business and is in need of extra funding to take it to the next level?

    Ethique founder Brianne West was 25 when she began her mission to rid the world of plastic bottles by making plastic-free beauty products like shampoo bars. She founded Ethique (first called Sorbet) in her kitchen when she was a science student, with pretty much no money.

    10 years later Ethique are in 22 different countries and 8000 retailers. They are valued at over 100 million dollars. 

    So what did Brianne do between her humble beginnings and her impressive now? Well, heaps of things, and crowdfunding with us was one of them!

    Brianne did her first equity crowdfund with us in 2015, raising $200,000 in investment over 10 days. Two years later Ethique equity crowdfunded with PledgeMe again so they could expand further throughout New Zealand, Australia and the US, plus improve their e-commerce platform and research new products. Ethique raised half a million from a crowd of 272 investors, in 90 minutes! 

    PledgeMe cofounder Anna Guenther and Brianne ‘ringing the bell’ for their first crowdfunding raise. Click on the image to read Brianne’s blog: ‘Capital raising 101.’

    How did they do that?

    “We have a purpose and a story that people really resonate with. They really love the idea of ridding the world of plastic bottles and raising the bar for people and the planet” Says Brianne.

    Also, “it’s a fun product, it’s a product that everybody uses, it’s not that hard to explain.”

    And then there was her crowd, which she initially engaged with on Facebook and at markets.

    “From day one I have always been about building a community rather than just a bunch of customers.”

    Then there was the fact that Brianne and her team delivered on everything they said they would, and more, after each campaign.

    To equity crowdfund, Brianne recommends that you find a really good crowdfunding platform, for example … ours! 

    “We used Pledgeme and they were perfect.” 

    In 2020 a huge investor bought out the majority of Ethique’s shareholders, giving those initial equity crowdfunding investors a 48 times return. Brianne was stoked.

    PledgeMe itself was co-founded by Anna Guenther 11 years ago. She went on to run three successful equity crowdfunding campaigns with her team, enabling PledgeMe to grow. 

    Anna has 11 years of crowdfunding experience under her … elastic.

    We want to see more stories like Brianne and Anna’s, and so do they.

    Only 16% of capital raises in New Zealand have women founders. 50% of PledgeMe campaigns have women as leaders. Let’s build on that, this month. 

    Those female founders who sign up to do equity or project crowdfunds with us in March* will be invited to a one-off, one-hour, online support session with Brianne West and our co-founder Anna Guenther. 

    The session is scheduled for Friday March 31 from 1 to 2pm. You’ll be able to hear about their journeys and ask questions directly, in a small group. 

    Interested? Then it’s time to get your skates on! You can learn about and get started with project crowdfunding here. You can learn about and get started with equity crowdfunding here. And if you want to talk to an actual human about crowdfunding, you can book in a chat with our project and marcoms lead Charlotte here.

    This is your time wāhine! Here’s to funding the things you care about.

    * For project campaigns, this means requesting to do a campaign with us in March, for equity campaigns it means either launching or signing up for our CrowdfundingU programme (we know that it takes a bit longer to prep investment campaigns) and launching in 2023.

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