Equity Crowdfunding is relatively new in New Zealand, starting on 1 April 2014 but has been in other countries for a while. The US has still not completed the regulations required to enable Equity Crowdfunding.
Equity Crowdfunding allows companies to issue shares to people providing the money, not just rewards or pre-ordered products. Equity Crowdfunding provides a legal way for the general public to invest in private companies. Traditionally these deals are only available to high-net worth individuals or people involved in the investment world.
Private Equity Crowdfunding allows a company to raise funds from a private group of people and not make the offer available to the public. Refer to the PledgeMe.Equity/Private blog post for more details on the benefits of Private Equity Crowdfunding.