Crowdfunding platform PledgeMe has announced Dr Claire McGowan as its new CEO. McGowan will be taking over from PledgeMe’s co-founder Anna Guenther. Her background is in venture capital and finance, and she is the former CEO of the New Zealand business incubator, Soda, which runs the NZ Startup Bootcamp.
“I am delighted and honoured to be joining the PledgeMe team,” McGowan says. “The impact in the New Zealand and Australian communities from the hardworking team is reflected in the organisation’s successes to date. Working with an inspiring young female entrepreneur to grow her financial services venture to the next level is a rare opportunity, and I am looking forward to contributing.”
“I feel like this is an announcement that is five years in the making,” former PledgeMe CEO and co-founder Gunether says. “We have a new leader here in the PledgeMe office! And, let me tell you, she is a definite upgrade on my scrappy founder ways. Claire spent a lot of time in previous start-ups educating others through her writing and content, and wasn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up to get work done.”
Diverse leadership at the top of PledgeMe has also been reflective in its campaigns. Earlier this year, it revealed that over 60 percent of its crowdfunding campaigns were female-led.
“I’m personally so excited that PledgeMe will continue to have a woman at the helm, and hope it will encourage other companies to do the same,” says Guenther.
Guenther says she’s stepping back from a leadership position to allow for some big questions to be asked.
“We’re excited about Claire joining the team to not only help us plan and deliver the next few years, but also to help us keep questioning the way things are done. Why can’t you keep a founder in a key operational role and on the board while a new CEO starts? Why can’t we do good and do well at the same time like iwi have done for centuries?” she says.