Tech entrepreneur Derek Handley says the main barriers to small businesses listing on the stock exchange are a lack of awareness of how to do it and having the right governance and support to make it happen.

Handley's Snakk Media listed on the New Zealand stock exchange's alternative market this morning - the first company to do so this year.

Handley described the listing as a "milestone" for the business which would enable it to raise capital regularly to grow in its target markets of Australia and Asia.

He said Snakk Media, which helps companies get their advertising in front of smartphone and tablet computer users, was riding on the wave of people switching to new technology.


"Snakk is a business built on this wave to ride it out for the next five to 10 years."

The company already has 2000 investors but is hoping to attract more through a share purchase plan it will undertake from April.

The plan will only be open to shareholders and Handley hoped that would mean more people would buy into the company ahead of the plan.

Handley, who made his money through selling his Hyperfactory business, has the backing of British entrepreneur Richard Branson who recorded a message for the launch congratulating him and describing Snakk as an "exciting business."

"Every big company was a small company once," Branson said.

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett said it was absolutely critical to have small businesses coming onto the stock exchange.

"We simply don't have enough products on the shelf."

Bennett said while a lot of focus was on going on the large state-owned power company listings this year it was important to focus on a pipeline for the future.

"We need to think about next year."

Snakk shares began trading on 6.5c and had more than doubled to 16c by 1pm on eight trades putting its market capitalisation at $33 million.