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Wanaka businesswoman Anna Ross is now seeking three Wanaka-based staff after a successful $2.17million equity fundraising this month.

It took just over two weeks for Ms Ross to crowdfund for her cosmetics company, Kester Black.

The campaign by Australian platform Birchal opened on September 28 and closed on October 14. It ended with 1687 investors – 34% of them New Zealanders – who signed up to buy shares.

Ms Ross had started exploring product development ideas for next year.

“The most exciting thing for me is we get to sit down and do budgeting and forecasting and planning. We have been doing that already, but roughly, because I didn’t know how much money I would have. I’ve also been doing workshops around three years of product development, and it is so much fun,” she said.

One thing she was looking forward to doing was implementing her sustainability strategy: “It will be exciting to put that in play. It is about totally circular packaging, recycled materials.”

Ms Ross said she understood her crowdfunding campaign was Birchal’s second largest female-led round of 2021 in Australia, behind Shebah, an all-women rideshare company.

“I believe it’s the largest round on Birchal ever by number of investors at 1687, outstripping Bubble Tea Club at 1399 and Seabin project at 1685,” Ms Ross said.

The Bubble Tea Club is an Australian tapioca tea distribution business, while the Seabin project designs marine rubbish skimmers.

“Thrive is the biggest round at $3million. It’s [Kester Black’s] currently the fourth largest round this year behind Thrive, Coinstash, Unhedged – all fintechs/crypto companies, I might add,” she said.

Ms Ross was born and raised in Otago and studied fashion at Otago Polytechnic.

She founded Kester Black in Melbourne 10 years ago and came home to live in Wanaka last year.