“Angel Food has products that solve a real problem for people, and we worked with our crowd to get the word out there,” says Shopland. “We constantly have people telling us they absolutely love our products — running this campaign felt like a great way to enable them to act on that love! (and, phew, they did).”
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Alice Shopland describes her budding business, Angel Food, as a young child: full of potential, but in need of input, investment and attention.
For that reason, the company has launched a Pledge Me campaign to raise $75,000-$150,000 to fund growth.
Since the campaign began 10 days ago, Shopland has received $50,000 worth of pledges, and there’s 19 days to go.
The share offer has up to 2,308 shares up for grabs at $65 a share. The equity offer would see an investor or investors who spent $75,000 receiving just over 10% of the company.
Angel Food launched in 2006 as a primarily import-based business, but now supplies its customers with vegan and dairy-free products made here in New Zealand.
Shopland says the demand for the vegan product is on the up, and the company they is keen to make sure it stays ahead of the mob.
“Because the dairy-free market is starting to grow very quickly, we need to grow quickly too, to take advantage of that,” says Shopland.
Which means that rather than waiting for it to grow in a more traditional manner, she’s asking supporters to put their money where their mouths are and help take the business up a notch through the Pledge Me equity campaign.
If successful, Shopland says the money raised will help Angel Food with both further product development (the most recent being a salami made with kumara powder) and the marketing and PR support needed to spread the word.
Shopland is hopeful the campaign will be a success. She says that the desire for vegan products means her customers are already loyal ones.
“One of the biggest stumbling blocks for people [wanting to go vegan] is cheese,” says Shopland.
Pledge Me CEO and co-founder Anna Guenther says knowing who you’re talking to often makes or breaks a crowdfunding campaign.
But for ideas and products that have a strong existing crowd behind them, the funding option can be a good solution.
“You have to be really clear on who your crowd is,” says Guenther. “But it’s a great opportunity to turn customers into brand ambassadors.”
Guenther says it works well to involve supporters from the get-go – asking them for opinions about the perks they might receive for their investment, inviting them to launches and involving them on social media.
When it works well, it means businesses can raise capital, expand quickly and engage supporters, all in one hit.
But it also requires businesses to be a bit “naked”, says Guenther, as they put themselves out there and ask for support.
Angel Food products currently find their home on South Island New World shelves, organic food shops, and Farro Fresh in Auckland. The mozzarella also sits atop Hell Pizza’s dairy-free option.