On Saturday the youngest ever equity crowdfunder launched a campaign on PledgeMe to sell shares in his business called Parent Interviews, an already successful online event management platform which takes the fuss out of the organisation of parent-teacher interviews.
Nineteen-year-old Parent Interviews CEO Indy Griffiths says the idea for Parent Interviews sparked in 2012 and started off as a school project for his digital media assessment.
“At the time my school was using our competitor School Interviews and the main thing they found is it was lacking in features they wanted. It was a simple website and they felt that something better could have been done.”
He says since it was a school project he had access to a number of teachers and also received feedback from parents, providing feedback forms to further increase the performance of his project.
The result was Parent Interviews, which allows parents to book their interviews online 24/7 while staff can check their interviews or set breaks at any time, according to its website, “With automatic email and SMS reminders for parents and staff, Parent Interviews can help ensure a good turnout for your events and reduced no-shows.”
Three years on, Griffiths says along with co-founders Mathew Baird and Evan Amezcua, the company has now booked over 400,000 interviews across New Zealand and is currently managing over 50 schools and interviews for over 23,000 students.
Despite this, some people still dismiss the trio due to their youth, but Griffiths says, “It’s actually kind of interesting….It proves you shouldn’t judge people according to their age.”
Griffiths and his team have given themselves one month to raise between $50,000 and $150,000, by selling 4.8% to 13% of their company and have raised $16, 515 so far in just three days with 17 pledgers. He says there are three main strategies they hope to implement if they are successful raising the money.
“The first is marketing and advertising there is over 11, 000 schools in New Zealand and Australia that could potentially look at Parent Interviews. The second goal is building our team and hiring staff members. We’re looking to hire someone onboard as a support rep. Our third goal is improving our website, making our teacher website mobile friendly, making the booking process easier and adding a few key features that we are keeping under wraps for now, but we think will make management a whole lot easier for schools.”
He says himself and his team are fans of the idea that people who use and interact with Parent Interviews can be part of the company as it starts its global expansion.
“Crowdfunding seemed like the right option, as it allows anyone to invest instead of a select group of investors.”
When asked why he thinks people should invest, Griffiths says they should because the company itself is a simple idea but with large ramifications.
“We’re not just about event management we are about helping connect parents with their children's teachers. Through our system we have had schools’ comments that they have seen higher attendance with parents. We encourage teachers to contact parents through the website which they can do directly, so after the event if they need to get back to them at some stage, they can. That’s an important feature that a lot of schools can benefit from. It can also easily be put into other markets like Australia, the UK and the US.”
Griffiths says the company is experiencing a peak season at the moment with school pupils coming back from the holidays, having signed up 10 schools in just the past two weeks.
“The problem is we haven’t really been advertising. So this is partly what the campaign is for. This is why advertising is one of our key goals.”
Griffiths says he is confident the business will do well, and says his personal goal by the end of the financial year in March next year is to have 300 schools signed up to Parent Interviews.