Sir Bill English-backed tax donation rebate business goes head to head with rival Auckland Grammar backed company

Former Prime Minister Sir Bill English is backing a start-up charity tax rebate business set to go head to head with a rival company supported by Auckland Grammar School parents and friends including former Charlie’s founders Marc Ellis and Stefan Lepionka.

English recently led a $1.4 million funding round for Supergenerous which included investment from Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 and other private investors and philanthropists.

English’s Glenure Investments owns 23.05 per cent of the business and Eat My Lunch founder Lisa King and professional directors Rod Snodgrass and Nigel Parry have also joined the board as part of the capital raise.

Meanwhile, rival firm TaxGift has also completed its own capital raising although founder and managing director Hannah Andrews won’t say how much it raised, only that it was a similar amount.

Its backers include former BNZ executive Shelley Ruha and Duncan Hawkesby, who now sit on its board, as well as Ellis and Lepionka.

Both businesses allow people to boost their donations to a school or charity by gifting the tax rebate on a charitable donation back to the charity – tapping into an estimated $250 million in unclaimed tax rebates a year.

Supergenerous works by getting individuals to sign up to its platform allowing the company to claim tax rebates on charitable donations from the Inland Revenue on their behalf and either pay it to the charity or back to them.

TaxGift works by allowing donors to opt-in through the charity to have their rebates given back to the charity. It is also linked to givealittle.

Supergenerous co-founder and chief executive Guillaume Dehan said there were a number of differentiating points between the two businesses.

“Our platform is direct to donors, whereas TaxGift is only B2B.”

Dehan said it offered donors the option to regift or keep their rebates as well as the ability to claim all donation receipts over four years.

“We don’t assume donors want to regift right away (particularly with the current economic impacts of Covid) and encourage them to regift in the future when they may be able to.”

The compounding effect of re-donating the tax rebate over four years means a $100 donation could turn into $147.30. Supergenerous takes 10 per cent of the rebate as its fee.

Dehan said this provided a valuable income stream to charities without donors having to give more money upfront.

It has 70 charities on board with a donor base of around 200,000. Dehan said it had already identified $500,000 worth of donations from its users which were eligible for rebates.

Its partners include Auckland City Mission, Breast Cancer Cure, Cancer Society, Child Fund, Forest & Bird, HeartKids, IHC, Oxfam, Shine and Surf Life Saving NZ. It also has St Peter’s College listed as a partner.

The capital raised by Supergenerous will be used to expand its team, grow customer numbers and bring more charities on board. The company also has plans to expand to other countries in the future.

Sir Bill said the business was well-positioned to address the inefficiency of access to and distribution of donation tax rebates worldwide.

“The impact these rebates will have for charitable organisations is considerable and a real opportunity for donors globally to give more.”

Hannah Andrews, founder and managing director of TaxGift, said both businesses had been aware of each other for a number of years.

“We are confident with our team and technology we can make sure charities and schools have a great experience.”

She said TaxGift only enabled the tax to go back to the charity and did not do individual refunds. Andrews said it was working with more than 40 charities and schools and it was processing $750,00 worth of donations for the last tax year which would see around $250,000 go back to charities and schools.

Its charities include Cure Kids, Cancer Society, Parenting Place, Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, Child Poverty Action Group, St John and Blind Low Vision NZ as well as a number of schools including Auckland Grammar.

She said the fact there were two businesses competing showed the value of the idea. “It’s a neat space to be working in.

“I think that the more people know about the charitable tax credits and the power they have the better.”

Andrews said the fact that both had well-known people standing behind them was good for the charity sector.

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