Kiwi Crowdfunding Platform PledgeMe Moves Into Debt

By Guglielmo de Stefano on Thursday 7 January 2016

Alternative Lending

New Zealand platform PledgeMe launches a new product by the name of PledgeMe.Debt.

Wellington-based crowdfunding platform PledgeMe applied today for a license from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to offer peer-to-peer lending services. The new product is called PledgeMe.Debt and is said to be similar in format to PledgeMe’s existing products, which include the likes of PledgeMe.Projects and PledgeMe.Equity.

Founded in 2011 by Anna Guenther as a rewards-based platform, PledgeMe became one of the first New Zealand equity crowdfunding platforms to receive its license from the Financial Markets Authority in 2014. Since inception, it has accounted for 936 successful projects and has raised approximately $8.3 million. PledgeMe is claiming that the approval of the FMA will make it the first platform in the Southern Hemisphere to run equity and debt crowdfunding campaigns from the same website.

Similarly to other P2P products, PledgeMe.Debt will allow organisations to reach out to the crowd to access capital. However, the debt-based product will inevitably differ from its equity equivalents. PledgeMe.Debt will provide investors and borrowers with a more transparent service, and will target social enterprises, not-for-profits, schools and co-operatives in addition to SMEs. Campaigners will be able to reach out directly to their own networks of friends, family, supporters, and customers to access fresh capital.

Anna Guenther PledgeMe CEO, commented:

“P2P, or debt crowdfunding as it’s also known, is another way for Kiwis to fund the things they care about. PledgeMe’s debt crowdfunding platform will allow organisations — from companies to co-ops — to reach out to their crowds so they can fund bigger and better campaigns. […] It is a really simple way PledgeMe can further democratise what gets funded in New Zealand and offer an alternative to banks and selling shares.”

Unlike local rival Harmoney, PledgeMe is not backed by a bank. But the platform believes that this will provide borrowers with more flexibility in the lending process and a more powerful and effective relationship with lenders. Guenther explained:

“Unlike many peer-to-peer platforms, PledgeMe isn’t backed by a bank. This means borrowers will have a greater say over what, when and how they borrow and their crowds will be the decisive factor. This means the relationship campaigners will have with their lenders will be a lot different and, we believe, a lot more beneficial.”

PledgeMe expects its new product to be live by the middle of this year. We’ll keep an eye out. 

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