Sydney fintech startup Equitise, which opens up equity crowdfunding investment opportunities to both the Australian and New Zealand startup ecosystems, is raising NZ$2 million for Australian compression sportswear company SKINS as part of a larger $8 million round to be raised in conjunction with UK platform Seedrs.
An Australian company, SKINS re-located to Europe and developed its compression technology alongside NASA scientists. Equitise was first introduced to SKINS when the company was looking at a crowdfunding raise in Europe with Seedrs and then decided to do the same in the Asia-Pacific region. With reach across both Australia and New Zealand, SKINS decided to take on Equitise.
Equitise cofounder Jonny Wilkinson said, “Their main reason for using equity crowdfunding is they recognise the ability to tap into a strong group of brand advocates and customers who really are passionate about their brand and want to help the company succeed and especially this ethos they have about fairness and equality in sport. So they realised that was a really good opportunity for them and their brand to access a group of investors like that.”
However, Wilkinson lamented the fact that Australian retail investors will not be able to take part in the raise due to the Government’s proposed changes to equity crowdfunding regulations, which have been criticised by many in the startup ecosystem and the Labor Party.
“The raise is open to all New Zealand investors and then just Australian sophisticated and wholesale investors. That’s part of the limitation with the equity crowdfunding legislation at the moment that we can’t have retail investors invest in startups,” Wilkinson said.
The New Zealand Government’s crowdfunding legislation embraces businesses like Equitise and New Zealand-founded platform Pledge.Me, who have licenses to provide wholesale and retail, or ‘mum and dad’ investors with a CSEF platform.
CSEF is now becoming more popular among startups, where alternative ways of raising capital are crucial for early stage ventures to improve their profile and value. For the retail investors or parts of mainstream society who are still unaware of CSEF, it is important for crowdfunding platforms like Equitise to align with brands like SKINS that are well-known and respected.
Investors not only buy into the SKINS brand because of its durability and the technology behind its activewear, but also because of its actions against inequality. The sportswear company last year announced its ‘non-sponsorship’ of FIFA, speaking out against the organisation’s corruption.
Wilkinson said that Equitise is excited to link itself with such a well-known and respected brand.
“It’s been good to have that alongside our name and a lot of people have said, oh you’re helping them raise money, that’s amazing, that’s great,” Wilkinson said.
The crowdfunding raise will come to a close later next month. With the hopeful raise of NZ$2 million, SKINS will be expanding its offices and reach to other global markets. The company is also currently working on advocate initiatives, which will be named in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Equitise is lobbying the Australian Government to change CSEF legislation, with Wilkinson explaining that Equitise is putting together its indicated model to encourage investment from overseas and bring in more investors working together for startups.
Image: Jonny Wilkinson. Source: Supplied