Advance Queensland Hot DesQ participant and crowdfunding pioneer PledgeMe has made history as the only female-led equity crowdfunding platform to be licensed in Australia.
The startup, which relocated here from New Zealand in October 2017, was also the first Queensland-based business and one of only nine across Australia so far to secure one of the ground-breaking licenses from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission early this year.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones said Queensland had a growing number of powerful female innovators and entrepreneurs working to build the future of our state.
“Licences to crowdfund are particularly rare in Australia – it’s great that we’ve been able to lure PledgeMe to Queensland to help local companies raise funds for new ventures,” she said.
“We know there is a disproportionate number of male CEOs and founders in the startup world so it’s also great to back Australia’s only female-led crowdfunding provider.
“PledgeMe are working hard to give women in Queensland a leg-up with their startup ideas - they have raised $26 million for startups to date, with half their successful equity and lending campaigns having female CEOs.
“Through our Advance Queensland Hot DesQ program, we’re attracting some of the world’s best innovators to our state by providing funding, free coworking space, access to new markets, connections and customers and support from a range of corporate partners.
“We’re committed to investing in innovation to create the jobs of the future in Queensland.
“That’s why we’ve committed more than half-a-billion-dollars to our Advance Queensland fund to support companies like PledgeMe to thrive in our state.
Ms Jones said the Palaszczuk Government has a strong history of promoting gender equity among startups.
“On International Women’s Day this year we announced the Advance Queensland Female Founders Program - a $3 million investment to support Queensland’s female entrepreneurs.”
Founded in New Zealand, PledgeMe offers project, equity, and lending-based crowdfunding to support a variety of objectives from social enterprises to craft beer companies.
PledgeMe was one of 28 startups that successfully competed for the chance to relocate to Queensland under the second round of the Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland Hot DesQ initiative.
The startups were from nine countries, including the US, Chile, Canada, Switzerland, and the UK – as well as from Victoria and New South Wales.
PledgeMe CEO Anna Guenther said that Queensland is an optimal location for startups.
“We chose to move to Queensland because of the Hot DesQ program, and decided to stay because of the Queenslanders we met during our six months here,” Ms Guenther said.
“The local support has been amazing. There’s a real focus on relationships, helping each other, and collaboration.”
PledgeMe plans to launch its first equity crowdfunding campaign in Australia in July.
Hot DesQ is an initiative of Advance Queensland, part of the $650 million initiative to transform Queensland’s economy, create the jobs of the future and build Queensland’s reputation as a global innovation and investment destination.
Hot DesQ recipients receive up to $100,000 to relocate to Queensland for six months at a Queensland startup host organisation.
The third round of Hot DesQ funding will open later in 2018. Potential applicants may register their interest by emailing email@example.com.
For more information about the Hot DesQ program, visit http://hotdesq.com.au/ or http://advance.qld.gov.au/entrepreneurs-startups/startup-attraction-hot-desq.aspx
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
The Honourable Kate Jones