Buy-one give-one lunch company Eat My Lunch is seeking to raise $2 million through an equity crowdfunding campaign kicking off next week.
Just over a 19 per cent stake in the Auckland company will be up for grabs from Wednesday through a campaign on Pledge Me for $1 per share and a minimum investment of $500. There are currently 10 Eat My Lunch shareholders.
The company has had more than 700 people pre-register for the campaign with an indicated interest to invest more than $1.5m, company co-founder Lisa King said, speaking to the Herald exclusively.
Equity raised through the campaign will be used to fund the social enterprise's physical bricks and mortar retail launch and international expansion.
Eat My Lunch will next month open its first "grab and go" retail store in Auckland's Britomart on Customs St - one of 10 to be opened throughout country within the next three years.
"People want to buy Eat My Lunch but not everyone is so pre-planned to go online and order it in advance. What we find is about 30 per cent of that lunchtime occasion, people come out of the office saying 'What am I going to have for lunch today' and so we'll now be able to give them the ability to buy Eat My Lunch on the day," King said.
"We're going to trial that in Auckland and if it goes well that's a really great way for us to expand quickly into other locations."
Eat My Lunch has donated more than 1.2 million lunches to children in need since its inception in June 2015 and, on average, gives about 2500 each day to 79 schools in Auckland and Wellington; "That's still only one-tenth of what we think the problem is and so for us to be able to get to even more kids we need to scale."
The company is also looking into taking the brand and concept overseas through a franchising model which will allow it to scale and expand quicker.
Eat My Lunch hopes to roll out the concept to Australia, Canada and the United States to start with - the countries it had received the most interest from, King said.
"I met up with the CEO of Walmart US last year and he was saying this concept doesn't exist over there, and he thought it would work really well there," she said.
"This model can work anywhere in the world because you will always have people who can't afford food and a bunch of people who can."
The fastest crowdfunding record on Pledge Me was $2m in 32 hours for Dunedin chocolate company Ocho but King has hopes to smash this record.
This is Eat My Lunch's third crowdfunding campaign on the platform, and its first equity campaign.
The company did its first raise around three months after its launch, raising $130,000 to take the business from King's house and into its own commercial kitchen. It then it did a debt-lending campaign, the first of its kind in this country, where it raised $830,000 to set up in Wellington and further scale the business.
"What I'm really excited by with this one is that we're actually giving New Zealand the opportunity to own a share in the company," King said. "Given where we started and our goal to start a social movement and have everybody involved, it's a really nice way to do that."
New Zealand chef Michael Meredith holds a 8.4 per cent stake in the company and entrepreneur Derek Handley holds a 2.4 per cent stake.
Boxer Joseph Parker, para-Olympian Liam Malone and entrepreneur Tim Norton have shown an interest in investing in the company.