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.
From now on, companies may also raise capital by addressing their campaigns to select groups of people through a private portal, rather than to the general public. The New Zealand-based website shared:
“PledgeMe.Equity/Private means companies can go out to their crowd, and their crowd only, to secure investment. Companies can raise money through their personal and professional networks and customers, having a bit more control over who sees their information while still going through the PledgeMe process.”
Regardless of whether it’s a public or private campaign, companies will need to follow the same process in putting forward an offer on the platform. The only difference is that rather than the offer being visible to all pledgeme.co.nz users, campaigns may only be viewed by a small roster of prospective investors, which is curated by the fundraiser.
PledgeMe advised that launching a private campaign should reduce or even eliminate some of the costs commonly shouldered by companies during public campaigns, such as the cost of creating a pitch video. On the other hand, a private round erodes most of the promise of customer exposure.
The launch of this new feature follows on from the platform’s recent application for a license from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to offer peer-to-peer lending services. The new product – called PledgeMe.Debt – is expected to be live by the middle of the year.
PledgeMe.Equity/Private is similar in style to the product offered by US peer-to-peer lending platform MoneyCircle.com. MoneyCircle enables users to directly choose which people will assist in fulfilling their borrowing needs. However, PledgeMe seems to be the only equity crowdfunding platform to offer such a product. We’ll soon see whether the model has legs.