Crowd funding licence

PledgeMe is licensed for equity crowd funding.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued its first equity crowd funding licences, following Cabinet's approval of new regulations for crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending, as part of the Government's financial market overhaul.

Wellington-based PledgeMe, co-founded by Anna Guenther, a graduate of the University of Otago's masters of entrepreneurship programme, and Auckland-based Snowball Effect were New Zealand's first licensed providers.

Ms Guenther, who was delighted to receive the licence, said it meant Kiwi entrepreneurs could now raise capital by selling shares in their companies to investors on the PledgeMe platform.

There would be no investor caps for equity crowd-funding, although there was a $2 million cap on what a company could raise through crowd-funding each year.

Companies no longer needed to prepare a prospectus or investment statement before raising funds from the public.

Since its launch in February 2012, PledgeMe has raised more than $2.5 million for 640 projects, ranging from a bionic hand to a pallet pavilion.

PledgeMe had been working with companies ready to start equity crowd-funding and it would be launching their campaigns on August 15 with a launch party, she said.

Snowball Effect co-founder Simeon Burnett said the company, which would launch in the week beginning August 11, would initially present investors with the opportunity to take shareholding stakes in craft brewery Renaissance Brewing.

Renaissance Brewing was seeking $600,000-$700,000 in new funding to expand its Marlborough operations and increase its marketing presence as it pursued its global growth ambitions.

More than 200 companies had contacted the online platform about raising capital and the team was working with 14 businesses to bring them to market, Mr Burnett said.

The FMA would monitor the newly regulated equity crowd-funding environment.

''It's also our role to remind investors that these are higher-risk investments and that the public should do their homework before investing their money,'' director of compliance Elaine Campbell said.

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