We have some pretty special news for you – the good ship PledgeMe has a new captain! In this article, our founder Anna and our chair Mel will introduce you to our new CEO, who we announced we’d be looking for back in September last year. We’ve also written an article to walk you through the process we took to bring in a new leader here – so we can hopefully help some other founders out there think about how to make the next step in their leadership journey.

    Without further ado, we’re very pleased to now be able to announce our new CEO, Dr. Claire McGowan.

    Who is Claire?

    Claire won’t be a new name for many of you. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, who has seen all the highs and lows of what the growth journey entails. Claire has a background in venture capital and finance, a PhD in microbiology, MBA, and she helped grow a number of New Zealand organisations, including as the CEO of business incubator, Soda. Over her career, she has been involved in initiatives that value the treaty partnership of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the consideration of community, sustainability, and future generations, in organisational planning. 

    Why our founder, Anna, is so excited

    “I feel like this is an announcement that is five years in the making. We have a new leader here in the PledgeMe office! And, let me tell you, she is a definite upgrade on my scrappy founder ways. Claire spent a lot of time in previous start-ups educating others through her writing and content, and wasn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up to get work done.

    We’re excited about Claire joining the team to not only help us plan and deliver the next few years, but also to help us keep questioning the way things are done. Why can’t you keep a founder in a key operational role and on the board while a new CEO starts? Why can’t we do good and do well at the same time like iwi have done for centuries? 

    We’re excited that this means PledgeMe will continue to have a woman at the helm, and hope it will encourage other companies to do the same (PledgeMe is currently the only equity crowdfunding platform in New Zealand, Australia, and possibly the world to do so). With her Te Arawa iwi roots, Claire will also be the only current Māori CEO of a crowdfunding platform in New Zealand.” 

    Why our Chair, Mel, is so excited

    “The thing that really stood out for the PledgeMe board was the fact that Claire has not only walked the walk of entrepreneurship, she also understands what support founders and doers need to grow their enterprises or turn plans into action. 

    Claire’s experience working with founders and boards will be invaluable going forward as we navigate having Anna managing a team within the business and giving her views as a Director, while also providing space for Claire to be CEO. We love that we are doing things in new and exciting ways and are glad to have Claire on board for this new chapter of growth and maturity.”

    Here’s Claire sharing a bit more about why she’s excited to join the team:

    “I am delighted and honoured to be joining the PledgeMe team. The impact in the New Zealand and Australian communities from the hardworking team is reflected in the organisation’s successes to date. Working with an inspiring young female entrepreneur to grow her financial services venture to the next level is a rare opportunity, and I am looking forward to contributing.”

    Would you like to join us in welcoming Claire to the team? Say hello during our Facebook Live at 6pm on Wednesday, 19th February at 6:30 pm NZ time, or email her on claire@pledgeme.co.nz. We can’t wait to work together to help more people fund the things they care about. 

    Do you think crowdfunding could work for your business? Get in touch on contact@pledgeme.co.nz 


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