“We cover a lot of business stories here at Idealog, so as a wrap of the year, we decided to trawl back through our 2014 print and web archives and dig out our picks for the coolest, most innovative New Zealand companies of the year.”

Wilding & Co.

“How do you create an environmentally friendly business by killing and using unwanted pine trees? You create a process that chops them down and turns them into some of the world’s best oil to be used for high quality perfumes, oils and anti-bacterial cleaning products. Michael Sly, Mathurin Molgat and Dave Turnbull are making use of the 800,000 or so hectares of rogue wilding pine trees in Central Otago, and thereby keeping the invasive pine pests from taking over tussock land.” Read the Idealog blog article about Wilding & Co.

(Top 10 of 2014 continues…)

By ELLY STRANG, Idealog, 

Read the full article on Idealog

Taking an environmental problem and turning it into a commercial success has seen Queenstown social enterprise team Wilding & Co awarded with the ‘most innovative idea’, the first of three $1000 milestone awards from Contact Energy, co-principal partner of Akina Foundation’s six-month accelerator programme, Launchpad.

Sponsored by Contact Energy, Launchpad runs until March 2015.

Over the six-month programme, Contact is sponsoring three $1000 milestone awards – the most innovative idea; best community engagement; and most improved enterprise – as well as a $20,000 People’s Choice award, voted for by Element readers.


7:05 AM Monday Nov 24, 2014, Element Magazine, NZ Herald

Read the full article on the NZ Herald

Turning an environmental problem into a commercial success, Wilding & Co clears and controls the spread of wilding pines in Central Otago, and distils them into essential oils.

Wilding pines, a native of North America, are strangling New Zealand’s natural environment and grow at the rate of twenty times faster than in their native homeland.

Moreover, the spray used to control the spread of these invasive unwanted trees is toxic in itself making for a double whammy cause for concern. The Wilding team have developed a socially minded business model that harvests young wildings, and transforms them into high-value essential oils used in fragrances and other consumer products for the perfume, essential oil and anti-bacterial cleaning products industries.


3:33 PM Friday Oct 17, 2014, Element Magazine, NZ Herald

Read the full article on the NZ Herald

For years, Michael Sly brewed a variety of fragrances from New Zealand’s diverse, native flora. Today, he distills aromatic oil from just one: wilding pine trees, an invasive tree species that plagues the country’s natural environment. In the last century, they’ve taken over much of New Zealand’s South Island — so much so that the country’s citizens are being taxed millions of dollars to eradicate them.

To combat this, Michael Sly created Wilding & Co with Mathurin Molgat. Together, they believe their company can eliminate the destructive trees and boost the economy in the process.


By Scott Pierce –11:15 AM October 25th, 2014

Read the full article on the collectively.org

A pair of Queenstown neighbours aiming to transform the perception of invasive wilding pine trees, from pest to commodity, say they have been overwhelmed by the demand for their product.

Mathurin Molgat and Michael Sly have spent the last three years refining a range of essential oils extracted from Queenstown’s wilding pine – the name given to pine trees that spring up uninvited.

The pair formed Wilding and Co in April 2013 with another friend Dave Turnbull in what Molgat says is, “a professional formulation of our vision and ideas”.

The ex-professional skier and environmental film-maker says spraying wilding pines with herbicides doesn’t sit well with his environmental ethics.


By Amelia Reynolds – 11:00 AM Tuesday Oct 7, 2014

Read the full article on the NZ Herald site

“Last month some men in gumboots took a helicopter out to Sawpit Gully near Queenstown to process invasive trees into a highly sought-after product that could solve an environmental threat.

The product? Pine oil.

Wilding & Co, run by Michael Sly, Mathurin Molgat and Dave Turnbull, was founded with the aim of producing pine oil and byproducts by harvesting wild pines.

The firm is on the cusp of a global business breakthrough, leapfrogging traditional business models as the industry embraces the idea of using an abundant resource – invasive pine trees – that needs eradicating.”

– By John Edens, 10 Sept 2014

Read the full article on the Southland Times website

“Driven by millions of unwanted pine trees, some of the best quality pine oil in the world, and a pressing need to raise $1.5 million to buy commercial scale distilling equipment to handle a massive boost in demand, three Queenstown entrepreneurs have taken their social enterprise idea to the international South by South West (SXSW) Eco pitch competition – and have reached the final eight in the world.”

– By Nikki Mandow, September 15, 2014

Read the full article on Idealog’s blog

Wilding & Co has been selected as a finalist in the Social Impact: For-Profit category for SXSW Eco’s entrepreneurial pitch competition.


SXSW Eco Finalist Badge
The Startup Showcase, takes place on October 6-7, 2014 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX. The Startup Showcase, now in its third year, is a rapid-fire pitch competition spotlighting innovative early stage companies in the areas of greentech, cleanweb and social impact.

Finalists in these categories were selected out of a pool of hundreds of applicants from around the world and will compete at SXSW Eco in front of a live audience and panel of Judges from companies the likes of Target, Shell Technology Ventures, the Whole Planet Foundation, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Sprint.

In the past two years, participating companies have gone on to raise over $27M in funding and acquire global brands as clients.

Download the press release

“Sly and Molgat—who’ve formed Wilding & Co with Queenstown-raised Dave Turnbull—say they have so far spent more than $200,000 developing their oil. Their equipment includes a semi-mobile still and a steam distillery unit.”

“If every tourist who came to town washed their hands with Wilding & Co soap, every tourist is effectively paying to help clear the pines and going home with an amazing message.”

Read the articles now

Queenstowners make dollars from scents, by Philip Chandler, 24 Apr 2014

Queenstown trio turn pine pest into perfume, by Philip Chandler, 24 Apr 2014