Owners Megan May and Jeremy Bennett asked for $30,000 from the public on crowdfunding platform Pledge Me on February 17 to support the company in opening a new branch in downtown Britomart. Little Bird currently has premises in Ponsonby and Kingsland, and employs 55 staff.
Megan and Jeremy said their unusual move was precipated by a cashflow emergency. They explained that Little Bird’s finance company Prometheus Finance filed for receivership on the same day they signed the lease for the Britomart premises.
“This is a real bummer for all customers of Prometheus, and a massive loss for social lending in NZ. For Little Bird, it means no more access to finance.”
Jeremy said Little Bird’s campaign on Pledge Me offered rewards based on the company’s normal commercial offering in return for pledged funds from the public.
“We get the cash up front, so [it’s] good for a cash injection, but we still have the obligations to fulfill all rewards.”
Fans of the wildly popular company delivered, with more than $10,000 pledged by the end of the campaign’s first day and the target of $30,000 hit within a week. The campaign closed on March 3 at $48,851, just shy of Little Bird’s stretch goal of $55,000.
Jeremy and Megan said any pledged money topping the $30,000 minimum target would go towards bottles, printing, sinks, shelving and fridges to service the company’s “organic juicing extravaganza.”
They posted a thank-you on their Pledge Me page when it hit the $30,000 target: “Seriously though, we had no idea what Little Bird would grow into when we started, and the fact that so many have been so quick to help out… This company has changed our lives and continues to surprise us in wonderful ways!”
Pledge Me is one of only three fundraising websites in New Zealand to also offer equity crowdfunding. It has this morning launched two new offers. Parent Interviews, an online management system for schools, is seeking a minimum of $50,000 for 4.8 percent of the company over a month, while Pineapple Heads, a range of children’s hair and bath products, has a funding target of $189,000 and a time limit of just one week.