Clean-tech firm breaks crowdfunding record

CROWD PLEASER: CarbonScape executive director Tim Langley, left, is ‘‘delighted’’ with the $764,000 raised through ...
ANTHONY PHELPS

CROWD PLEASER: CarbonScape executive director Tim Langley, left, is ‘‘delighted’’ with the $764,000 raised through equity crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect. Pictured with microwave engineer Greg Connor, right, at their Riverlands factory.

Marlborough clean-tech company CarbonScape has raised more than $700,000 through equity crowdfunding, which it says is the biggest such effort in New Zealand.

The company says it successfully raised $764,302, thanks to 207 investors, after listing on The Snowball Effect.

The platform aims to help New Zealand businesses by raising growth capital through sales of large numbers of  small share lots.

CarbonScape went live on October 23 with the offer of 2 million shares, or 14.48 per cent of the company.

The company was valued at $8.8m before crowdfunding efforts began.

CarbonScape executive director Tim Langley said he was pleased they had surpassed their $400,000 target, though he had hoped to hit their $1.5 million cap.

CarbonScape is the third company in New Zealand to list on The Snowball Effect, after Marlborough's Renaissance Brewing, which reached its cap of $700,000, and Kiwi film-maker Lee Tamahori, who raised $500,000 for his new film The Patriarch.

CarbonScape's three biggest investors each bought 250,000 shares, at a cost of $50,000, Langley said. The average investment was $3845.

"It's been enough to enable us to build our first pilot plant and what we are doing at the moment is we are in the middle of recruiting three more engineers - a chemical engineer, a microwave engineer and a process engineer," he said.

Once they had a full team, they would begin building the plant and start to supply green coke to New Zealand Steel, Langley said.

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Green coke replaces traditional coke, which is a form of high-quality carbon made from mineral coal used to fuel furnaces during the steel making process.

CarbonScape uses microwave technology to turn the carbon in waste wood, such as that from the forestry industry, into carbon products in just minutes.

The alignment with New Zealand Steel was ideal because it provided potential access to a huge global market through a single customer, Langley said.

Originally, the plant was priced at $700,000 but Langley said they had decided to make a smaller plant, at a cost of $100,000.

"Rather than build a commercial pilot plant which will test samples for New Zealand Steel we will build a smaller one which will enable us to produce some high-value carbon which will generate revenue for us."

The rest of the funds would be used to pay their new engineers, he said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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