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Armillary, Crowdcube granted crowd funding licence by FMA

The Financial Markets Authority has licensed Armillary Capital's equity crowd funding platform, Crowdcube, adding competition to the new capital raising scene.

The Wellington-based investment bank is the third equity crowd funding platform to be licensed by the markets watchdog under the new Financial Markets Conduct Act. Its online platform is in partnership with UK-based crowd funder, Crowdcube.

Under the licence companies can tap investors, or the "crowd", for up to $2 million in capital, in exchange for some form of equity in the business. If the offer fails to reach a minimum funding target no funds are collected.

"The popularity of capital raisings across the New Zealand market showed there was demand for investments in growth companies," said director David Wallace in a statement. "We've been speaking with clients and prospects about adding a crowdfunding platform to our capital raising toolkit for some time. They're very interested in using this service to raise equity as it

doesn't come with the significant costs of a public offer but allows access to a wider investment community."

The third license comes as fellow Wellington-based crowd funder, PledgeMe, launched its own offer on its platform overnight, as it looks to raise up to $100,000 in capital to fund further expansion. It has raised $30,060 from 21 pledgers, more than half of its minimum $50,000 target.

So far, PledgeMe's first two equity offers have failed to lock in their minimum targets, with H2Explore, a hovercraft ferry business in the South Island, raising only $12,000 of its $250,000 minimum target before the offer closed on Friday. Meanwhile, Techvana Operating, which is looking to raise a minimum of $250,000 and up to $750,000 to secure a location and build New Zealand's first computer museum in Auckland, has so far raised $22,450 from 47 pledgers and has only nine days to raise the outstanding $227,550 needed to lock in funds.

Auckland-based Snowball Effect has seen all three of its offers reaching their minimum target, with its current live offer CarbonScape, the "green coke" developer, is sitting on $446,800, above its $400,000 minimum, while last month, 'The Patriarch', a new film to be directed by Lee Tamahori, secured $453,800 from 181 investors, just shy of its $500,000 maximum target. In August, Blenheim boutique beer brewer, Renaissance, the first of Snowball's offers, wooed small investors to fill its order for $700,000 of new capital in just a week and a half, a quarter of the time the novel offer was open for punters to commit funds

Crowdcube, which operates in the UK, Sweden, Spain and Poland is also being launched in Brazil, Dubai and Italy, has been in operation for nearly four years, and has been used to raise more than 42 million pounds from more than 105,000 investors in the UK market. The company expects to launch its first New Zealand offers in the new year.