Ethical KiwiSaver provider Pathfinder is calling on its rivals to stump up more money to support fledgling start-ups.
The fund had just contributed $200,000 to the biodegradable bandage and sticking plaster company Wool+Aid as part of its $1.5 million funding round.
“Wool+Aid is for us a really exciting company, they’ve got a unique sustainable product that replaces what is, at the moment, a plastic one-use, consumable product,” Pathfinder chief executive John Berry said.
The small investment reflects the high risk associated with early-stage investing but also opened the door to the company’s potential upside, he said.
Berry said KiwiSaver providers should play a role in supporting small, local companies that often find it difficult to access capital.
“KiwiSaver is a long-term investment and investors should have access to exciting opportunities that are small start-ups or early-stage companies that will grow over time.”
He said these sorts of companies had the potential to create jobs and wealth for the country.
Wool+Aid founder Lucas Smith said he had been overwhelmed by the interest in the company, which was evidence of the growing demand for sustainable products.
“Currently, when you enjoy New Zealand’s great outdoors and use a plaster, you risk leaving the plastic bandage and its wrapping in our natural environment.”
The company was in a growth phase and had recently hired the former head of marketing at My Food Bag, Louise Cunningham, to lead its expansion and product distribution.