Start-up the future

You’ve seen a problem — a social issue, an environmental concern, a market gap, or perhaps a research opportunity. What could you do to solve it?

If you’ve got an idea, Velocity wants to hear from you. The $100k Challenge is Velocity’s flagship competition, turning first-class ideas into world-class businesses.

Applications have closed

How it works

Create an entry in the form of a business proposal to show how your idea could become a venture. Judges will then decide the ideas displaying the potential to fly. The 15 qualifying teams who make it through to the shortlist will win a place in the Velocity LaunchPad Programme. Here you will receive mentoring and workshops to discover how to translate your idea into reality.

The 15 finalists compete in the $100k Velocity Grand Final for seed-capital and support in growing their venture!

A full set of the Velocity Challenge rules can be downloaded below. It is very important that these are read and clearly understood.

What type of idea should I enter?

We welcome all types of ideas from students and staff of any faculty especially
economic, environmental and social


Ideas that contribute to economic growth and development, industry, innovation and infrastructure.


Ideas that protect the environment by reducing risks and/or measuring the environmental impacts to land, water, air, natural resources, and wildlife.


Ideas that contribute to equality (social justice, peace, promoting diversity), quality of living (access to healthcare, education, community development, reducing poverty), and cultural sustainability and heritage.

Why enter?


  • All entrants can receive tailored feedback from leading industry experts at Judges’ Feedback Evening
  • Qualifying teams get paired up with experienced mentors in their chosen industry as part of LaunchPad
  • All entrants can book a free 25-minute one-on-one session with our industry expert mentors in residence to discuss how to improve your idea


  • Win generous seed capital that could kickstart your venture (without losing equity)
  • Get to know Aotearoa’s startup scene, investors, and other sources of funding


  • Come together with friends or meet new people in your team
  • Gain hands-on problem-solving experience and transferable skills
  • Solve pressing issues and make an impact on our world
  • Win a spot on the LaunchPad and VentureLab incubator programmes




in seed capital

+ Entry to VentureLab*



in seed capital

+ Entry to VentureLab*

3x Third Place


in seed capital

+ Entry to VentureLab*

*Entry to VentureLab is valued at $15,000 per team. Each team receives $10,000 in milestone payments.

Getting started

How do I start?

Not sure where to start?

Download our application resources document here.

It will guide you on team-building, strategy, the Lean Business Model Canvas, and many other aspects necessary for a solid $100k Challenge entry.

Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a one-page business model template to help you organise your ideas. Download a PDF version here. Please note that any business model canvas can be used.

Discord Channel

Velocity has set up a Discord Channel where teams looking for more members advertise for positions. We also recommend asking friends, classmates, and workmates if they would like to join your team.

Learn from events

$100k Challenge Workshop

Do you want advice from experts about your idea for the Velocity $100k Challenge? This is your opportunity!

Date – Wed, 12 Jul 2023 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

Register here

$100k Challenge Networking Night

Come meet potential team members to join you on your $100k Challenge journey! Whether you have an idea or are looking to join a team…

Date – Tue, 18 Jul 2023 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM NZST

Register here

Getting feedback

Drop-in Sessions

Have a question about the $100k Challenge? Need some feedback on your idea? We’ve introduced drop-in sessions where our friendly committee members will be there to help out!

Drop-in sessions will be held from Wed – Fri between 19-21 July and 26-28 July.
They will be both in-person or via Zoom

📅 Wed 19 – Fri 21 July, Wed 26 – Fri 28 July
⏰ 10am – 2pm
📍 Unleash Space or Zoom

Book your session here!

Get Advice from Experts

A Mentor Sessions clinic is a 25-minute one-on-one session with someone from the start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem. You talk about your idea, and the mentors provides you with expert advice, questions and feedback on how to improve your idea.

Our mentors have a wide range of expertise, and are normally paid to give advice. To get access to these people for free is an opportunity not to be missed.

Find out more about our mentors and book a clinic here.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a team?

It is recommended that you have at least two people in a team. The $100k Challenge is more fun with friends!

Do all team members have to be University of Auckland students or staff members?

To enter the challenge, only one person needs to be from our University, so feel free to reach out to others around you too!

I'm a researcher, what does the Challenge mean for me?

Check out our page on researchers here for more information.

Can a team comprising of the same number of people enter an idea twice?

Yes they can. However when your team gets selected to join the Launchpad programme, you’ll have to make a choice. You can only be part of one venture during the LaunchPad programme.

Does Velocity assign people for a team?

We do have a Discord Channel where teams looking for more members advertise for positions. We recommend asking friends, classmates, and workmates if they would like to join your team.

We will also be holding a $100k Challenge Networking Night where you can meet other potential teammates. Register here.

Can judges / other teams steal my idea?

No, they cannot. We make all judges and participants sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that is legally binding. Rest assured, your hard work is safe with us!

Will Velocity take equity in my venture?

No, Velocity does not take equity in any of our programmes, including the $100k Challenge. However, some teams will want to be connected to investors in the ecosystem, who may require an equity stake.

What do we need to do to enter?

It’s pretty simple really – follow the link on our website to check out all the guidelines about the challenge and create a 2000 word business proposal. Then from there, just make sure you submit it before the deadline!

Does our topic need to relate to business/innovation?

No, your idea can be about absolutely anything. It could be a new business idea, a social innovation, or a piece of research that is ready to make money.

At what stage in a start-up do we need to be to enter?

Anything that is not already earning revenue or was entered in previous $100k Challenges is fair game.

Is there a guideline that can I can use while preparing my entry?

Yes, you can download the Entry Guide here and the Entry Template here.

How many people from my team need to submit the entry?

Only a single entry is required, so just one person needs to submit.

How many people win?

The $100k Challenge is done in two parts. In the first part, 15 teams are selected to enter the LaunchPad programme (valued at $5k per team). From there, five teams will be crowned winners, and receive entry into the VentureLab incubator in 2023, plus seed money for their venture.

What is the challenge process?

Prepare your entry and submit it by the deadline. If you qualify to go on to the next round (announced at the Qualifier’s Ceremony), then you go on to enter LaunchPad, a series of 6 workshops set over 6 weeks. Plus each team is matched with two mentors, who will help you to craft your business plan and create a presentation for the judges. The five winners are announced at the $100k prizegiving ceremony in October.

What are the prize amounts?

1st place: $25,000 seed capital + VentureLab incubator programme, valued at $15,000

2nd place: $15,000 seed capital + VentureLab incubator programme, valued at $15,000

3x Category Winners: $5,000 seed capital + VentureLab incubator programme, valued at $15,000

How many teams qualify?

15 teams qualify for the LaunchPad programme.

Is the Challenge a full-time commitment if you qualify?

This is a tricky one. Teams shouldn’t worry about this unless they qualify, at which time we will have a conversation with them. Ultimately, the teams will get as much out of the programme as they put in. There is not a formal time requirement, but their mentors will get quite irritable if the team doesn’t give it a good solid go.

Who are the judges?

Your entry will be read by at least two experts from the entrepreneurial ecosystem who form a judging group. We also have an experienced moderating panel to read every entry so we can ensure rating consistency across the judging groups.

Other than clinics and workshops, can I get any additional help?

Yes you can. You can drop into the Velocity office anytime, or email us with any queries at: admin@velocity.auckland.ac.nz

Does Velocity take any stake in the prize money?

No, the money is all yours to use on starting your venture.