Pathfinder KiwiSaver Invests In Merino Sticking Plaster For The Planet
Pathfinder KiwiSaver announced today it is investing as part of the $1.5 million capital raise by innovative early-stage Kiwi company Wool+Aid. The capital raise is perfectly timed, given this month is “Plastic Free July” in New Zealand.
Wool+Aid is the brainchild of young Kiwi entrepreneur Lucas Smith after 5 years of development. The biodegradable merino wool bandages and sticking plasters are unique and have potential to disrupt what is currently a plastic-derived consumer product. The capital provides funding to expand product distribution.
John Berry, CEO of Pathfinder, explains “we want to back talented people, innovative ideas and Kiwi businesses with purpose. Wool+Aid ticks all these boxes.”
Wool+Aid founder Lucas Smith says “we’ve been overwhelmed by the interest in the Wool+Aid business, which in my mind reflects the drive for environmentally 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. It makes total sense for this product to be biodegradable.”
Paul Brownsey, Head of Investment at Pathfinder, says “our $200,000 investment is only a small part of Pathfinder’s funds, which reflects both the higher risk – and huge potential upside – of early-stage investing. The Wool+Aid product is unique and a potential game changer in its category. It is a sustainable product in a multi-billion dollar global market, which is definitely worth investing in.”
Wool+Aid is a superior plaster/bandage to plastic-derived products. As well as being a sustainable single-use product, merino wool can provide hypoallergenic and antibacterial benefits. To lead Wool+Aid in its expansion phase, the business has recently hired Louise Cunningham as CEO (from her role as Chief Marketing and Customer Officer at My Food Bag).
Berry noted that KiwiSaver providers were increasingly moving into private equity investment, and even earlier stage venture capital, because of potentially higher long-term returns. But this is about more than just making good money says Berry, “we believe a large number of Kiwis want KiwiSaver investments at the intersection of what’s good for the planet as well as what makes good financial returns.”
Pathfinder, NZ’s first dedicated ethical fund manager, is a leader when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. The Wool+Aid investment adds to its existing unique and impactful KiwiSaver investments including Sir John Kirwan’s technology driven mental health app (Mentemia), large scale solar in New Zealand (Lodestone), community housing projects (Community Finance), microfinance for women in South-East Asia (Women’s Livelihood Bond) and the tech-based democratisation of investing (Sharesies).
Last month the B-Corp certified fund manager was awarded “Best Ethical KiwiSaver Provider” and also “Best Ethical New Fund 2021” for its Ethical Growth Fund. Both Pathfinder’s KiwiSaver and Ethical Growth Fund have each invested in Wool+Aid.