Small Business editor of the NZ Herald

Small Business: Anna Guenther, PledgeMe

Anna Guenther, CEO of PledgeMe. Photo / Supplied
Anna Guenther, CEO of PledgeMe. Photo / Supplied

How do you feel the equity crowdfunding sector has developed in New Zealand since you first became involved?

PledgeMe was one of the first platforms licensed to provide equity crowdfunding. Since we started offering it in late 2014 we've seen the sector develop with a growing understanding of the benefits of going out to your crowd for funding.

We've also seen the platforms carve out their own niches. For example, we've focused on campaigns around the $250,000 mark that have engaged crowds and solid offers. Also, while I think there's a growing understanding of equity crowdfunding, there's still a lot of work to do to make equity crowdfunding campaigns as normal as going to the bank.

What lessons have you learned from running your own equity crowdfunding campaigns?

PledgeMe has equity-crowdfunded itself twice. The first time was in late 2014 and our second round was in mid-2015.

The first big lesson we learned was that no matter how much you know about crowdfunding it's still scary. Even though we'd been crowdfunding for more than three years, we knew we had a decent crowd and we thought our offer was reasonable, but it's still pretty darn scary going out and asking people to invest.

The second is you never know who will come on board. In our first round, a person invested $40,000 and it was someone no one in the team knew. She just loved what we do. Which brings me to the third point - the process is about more than the money.

Equity crowdfunding really is about giving your crowd a chance to own a bit of something they love, and our 100-plus shareholders add an amazing array of skills and talents.

- Herald on Sunday

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