Anna Guenther

Co-founder and Chief Bubble Blower – PledgeMe

Anna Guenther is the co-founder and Chief Bubble Blower of PledgeMe. Since launching 7 years ago, over 1,400 creative, community and entrepreneurial campaigns have raised over $40million through PledgeMe, in New Zealand and now Australia. PledgeMe was the first equity crowdfunding platform in New Zealand, and one of the first in Australia. Anna loves the power of crowds, be it the Unconferences she runs or the platform she supports. She’s an accidental cheese entrepreneur, a feminist, and a fan of social enterprise to create a more inclusive world. She believes communities should own the companies they create. Anna has also worked for the New Zealand Government, MIT and Harvard, and completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship with a focus on crowdfunding

The future is owned by the community

All enterprises need to be social. Our organizations need to create positive impacts in the world, and truly value our people and the planet. We must stop creating ivory towers of power and move beyond a platform approach to supporting truly inclusive communities that engage with the causes and the companies that they care about. We need platforms that enhance community, rather than replace them. We need to value more than just funding, we need to value the crowds.

My talk will cover how we design our companies in ways that include our communities, including stories about local and international examples in the social enterprise space. This includes OCHO, who raised $2million in two days to create a community-owned chocolate company when Cadburies decided to move their chocolate factory out of Dunedin. It also includes a local example, Food Connect Shed from up in Brisbane, who raised $2.1million from their community of careholders to purchase their warehouse. They ensured their social mission was locked by issuing a “golden share” to their Foundation.

Simplify our approach to nance so we can include our communities, which includes my experience navigating being the first licensed equity crowdfunding platform in New Zealand, and one of the first in Australia.