Crowdfunding site nears milestone

By Ben Chapman-Smith

More than 24,000 people have made pledges on the platform since it was launched in early 2012. Photo / Thinkstock
More than 24,000 people have made pledges on the platform since it was launched in early 2012. Photo / Thinkstock

As the founders of Kiwi crowdfunding site PledgeMe prepare for a major American competitor to enter the local market, the platform is closing in on a major milestone.

Wellington-based PledgeMe is raising about $50,000 a week for creative projects around New Zealand.

More than 24,000 people have made pledges on the platform since it was launched in early 2012.

Co-founder Anna Guenther said PledgeMe was about to reach $1.7 million in total funding through the site and would hit the $2 million mark next month.

She said her team had worked hard to foster a strong network, building links between the different creators and their backers in New Zealand.

"We've focused on it being an online community. It works because of each person's crowd. That's the main reason we've been able to do as well as we have," she said.

More than 400 projects have so far used the platform to raise capital, with 49 per cent of those managing to reach their funding target.

That was more than double the success rate of applying for a creative grant in New Zealand, Guenther said.

PledgeMe - which has described itself as "New Zealand's crowdfunding platform" - is about to face competition from the world's biggest crowdfunding site.

US-based KickStarter recently announced it would soon be opening up to projects based in New Zealand.

More than 4.7 million people have pledged US$767 million to about 47,000 creative projects via KickStarter since the site was founded in 2009.

Guenther, who is 27 years old and has a master's in entrepreneurship, welcomes KickStarter's move into the local market.

"I think it's exciting because it will get the word out even more about crowdfunding."

Crowdfunding is a modern alternative to traditional funding avenues such as bank loans. It enables people to raise money through donations from a large number of people, usually through a web-based campaign.

According to a study conducted by research firm Massolution, crowdfunding websites raised US$2.7 billion worldwide last year, an 81 per cent increase on 2011.

If a project is successful in reaching its target, PledgeMe collects a 5 per cent fee from the money raised.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 Oct 2014 17:48:28 Processing Time: 411ms