Eat My Lunch Case Study

Amount crowdfunded:
$129,848 (Project) & then $817,601 (Lending)

Number of investors:
2,507 (Project) & then 250 (Lending)

Type of crowdfunding:
Equity Crowdfunding & Lending Crowdfunding

How long they’ve been around:
2 years

Food & Beverage

Annual Revenue:
NNZD $2,689,000 (FY2016 estimate)


For every lunch bought from Auckland-based social enterprise Eat My Lunch they gift a lunch to a child in need. They have crowdfunded two times, first through project crowdfunding, and then as New Zealand’s first crowdlending campaign.

Since they started up, they’ve been rallying and involving a widespread network of supporters who believe in their social mission: to ensure that no child at school goes hungry, starting with kids right here in our own backyard.
For both of their campaigns they activated their pool of supporters, and together raised almost $1million from their engaged crowd. This case study covers some of the things that worked for them (and didn’t).

Running their campaign

We first met Eat My Lunch in August 2015, a few short months after they had launched. The morning we met them, Lisa, Iaan and their team of lunchmakers were feverishly prepping hundreds of sandwiches in Lisa and Iaan’s “adapted” home kitchen. They were really clear on what they wanted to do next: move into their own commercial kitchen.

They’d already gotten some great media coverage, and support from the likes of Lorde. In our first meeting we talked about their wider community, how we could support, and what sorts of rewards they could offer in a project campaign.

We told them that it was all about their crowd, about setting a clear goal, and that most pledges would happen in the first few days and final few days of their campaign. Which is pretty much what happened. With 2,507 folk collectively pledging $130k, the next stage of the journey became real.

We caught up with Lisa at the turn of 2016 and they were closing in on their next big plan: launching in Wellington. We were on the verge of kicking off PledgeMe.Lend and we were all keen for them to be our first hero campaign.

We met again in February and the idea for the Lunch Bonds came to life. An investment that offered a mix of financial and social return - interest earned on your pledge plus kiwi kids filled with good lunches every month for the five years of the bonds. They took their Buy one, Give one philosophy and adapted it to the Lunch Bonds.

The blueprint for their campaign was laid from their first time around: an increasingly growing involved audience, great media presence and a really clear purpose that resonated with their crowd. Throw into the mix a great gathering at their Pitch Kitchen with ideas bouncing from good people from both their crowd and ours, and in June, their lending campaign launched. Over the ensuing month, 258 folk pledged to lend $818k. Wellington came to life.



What worked well

  • Online channels – They had a supportive & active crowd who they empowered in the lead up to their campaigns through their own newsletter and then through their socials during each of the campaigns

  • Point of sale flyers – Small but memorable campaign notes were included in their lunch boxes to catch their customers’ eye. An effective and subtle way to build awareness of what they were doing and how everyone could support.

  • #IRL time – In Auckland they hosted a dinner and a couple of breakfasts, in Wellington they put on a meet & greet, and at their one year old birthday party they gave their crowd a glimpse at what was to come.

  • Having a clear vision – For each round they had a really clear vision and their crowd knew what every $ was going to create.

  • Crowdsourcing their rewards – Seek support from your friends that goes beyond their voice. Eat my Lunch’s friends at Moustache, Mini, Mexico, The Collective Yogurts, Meredith’s, Anna van Riel, Nici Wickes & Jerome Kaino (to name a handful) all contributed rewards that their pledgers lapped up.

  • Getting famous folk in creating lunches – They had everyone from Anika Moa to the co-leaders of the Green Party in making lunches.

  • Getting media coverage – Their co-founder and head chef, Michael Meredith, got the front cover of Canvas magazine during their project campaign, and Lisa got an Op Ed in XX during their lending campaign.They also had Duncan Garner in helping them make their lunches, and got some great coverage on their show.

  • Support skills from outside the team – Look at things that you’re team do well and find support for the things that fall out of your collective armoury. Beat Communications helped with PR, Chapman-Tripp with legals and PWC with the numbers.
  • Pitch Kitchen – A chance to bring together a variety of insights from your crowd - for them it was lawyers, accountants, techies, social entrepreneurs & comms folk. You can clear your head and refine the focus of your campaign by getting good honest (friendly) feedback.

  • Sense checks from their crowd – To get down to the bottom of what your crowd would like in return for their support, ask them. For Eat My Lunch they asked what interest rate would interest you?

  • Co-creating your FIrst 50 – Getting each of the team contributing names of heavy hitters and influencers within their crowd that they believed would be keen to support the campaign.

What they would do
differently next time

  • Just expecting a crowd to come – You need to give a lot of lead in info (especially around the crowdlending round). People need to have a sense that something exciting is coming, and want to get involved from the get-go. Even the best shindig in the world needs invites.

  • Providing updates during the campaign – This could have been better planned and scheduled in for once a week (with the help of our team and theirs).

  • Follow on coverage – Once the first push was done, it was hard to get further pick up. A fresh slant on the story could have been held in the back pocket for a mid-campaign push. And often, media will leave out the fact that campaigns are crowdfunding (or where) so it doesn’t sound too sales-y. Some of the coverage they got didn’t even mention that they were crowdfunding.

  • Timing your launch – General busyness is the hardest thing when you’re a start up.

  • Final week rush – As your campaign draws closer, the tasks can start to pile up. Gradually chipping away at all of the small tasks over six weeks, to get your campaign ready and you crowd excited, is a good way to stay chill in that homestretch.