$100K Challenge Qualifiers Announced!

On Thursday last week, 300 people came to congratulate our 16 qualifiers. The energy in the room was buzzing and the feeling of excitement was palpable. This year we had the highest number of entries ever into our flagship $100K Challenge, this increase in participation rates shows great promise for the future of Entrepreneurship at The University of Auckland.


Not only did our entries grow in number, but also in quality. In fact, the quality was so high that our 43-strong panel of expert judges agreed to increase the number of qualifiers from 15 to 16!


Our Keynote speaker on the evening, Lillian Grace from Figure.NZ, also dished out some wonderful advice. Upon entering the stage Lillian asked the audience, how many dogs there are in New Zealand? (Nobody got it right, the answer is 543,972). She used this question as an example of how to pitch your organisation, so that people can understand what you do. Often the best way to do this is to ask a question which demonstrates why your idea is useful. Woven throughout Lillian’s talk were nuggets of gold, such as the value of speaking about your idea, but the key message was one of hope. Figure.NZ is a social enterprise, which aims to provide data for free. Lillian showed us all that despite all the difficulties associated with running a social enterprise, making money and doing good are not mutually exclusive. In fact, Lillian showed us all, that it is often the best businesses that do both. After all, every business solves a problem. It is just about how they do it.


Thank you to all our sponsors for making the night possible. Below is a list of the ideas you have contributed to:

The 16 Qualifiers for the 2018 $100K Challenge are:

Idea Name: Team Leader: What the Idea does:
FlexiPrint Robin Laven A platform technology enabling the use of silicone or similar materials in 3D printing.
Nebula Georgia Nixon Nebula inspires its clients with fascinating networks displays that reveal the hidden information in complex online media systems.
Marc Up Rebecca Jelley Marc Up will help to achieve the long-term sustainable management of New Zealand’s grape marc waste through production of high-value products using this raw material.
AVASA Nandoun Abeysekera AVASA brings together a unique multi-disciplinary team comprising of clinicians, engineers, designers, and business experts. Adopting a cross platform approach, we address unique healthcare challenges and innovate novel solutions to reduce morbidity, mortality, cost and restore the human experience.
Planta Ali Al-Omari Planta enables vineyard growers to detect diseases early with high accuracy via a combination of multi-spectral imaging technology and machine learning. Our solution allows for better disease management empowering growers to achieve a more sustainable, higher quality product.
Enliven Co Kyla Klintworth As a result, Enliven’s hemp milk, customers who are wanting a non-dairy milk substitute can finally have a creamier, natural, plant-based milk, sourced from local New Zealand farmers.
Hypebeat Matt Bastion In the age of digital music, streaming and social media, ‘making it’ as a musician requires good music, but excellent strategy. Hypebeat unlocks the strategies that work, so your songs stand out from the 200 million others.
NanoGene Lifesciences (NGL) Ltd Maran Muthiah NanoGene Lifesciences develops a disposable diagnostic kit for the early diagnosis of Alzhiemer’s disease. The current method of definitive diagnosis is made only after a post-mortem examination. Early detection would allow personalised treatment before brain damage occurs and has the potential to reduce the healthcare cost on the NZ economy.
Electroclear Christopher Walker Fouling is a headache for both boat owners and regulatory authorities. Anti-fouling products available today have a limited lifetime, negative impact on the wider marine ecosystem and/or are not sufficiently effective. Electroclear is developing a permanent solution to inhibit fouling organisms in close proximity to a vessel’s hull.
KgZap Saeed Alighaleh KgZap is a venture developing a novel treatment for obesity by reducing appetite, improving satiety and restricting food intake. Kgzap will offer a safer, cheaper and reliable alternative to bariatric (weight-loss) surgery.
MOCHIYO Joyce Baroro The venture is about developing and commercialising MOCHIYO: a unique mochi product filled with fruity frozen symbiotic yoghurt that contains a probiotic strain and MZ Manuka honey with beneficial metabolites. When combined, these food components can synergistically enhance gut-health for consumers and act as a novel ‘diet supplement’.
The Surgical Canary by H2 Heal Nelle-Rose Cameron H2Heal introduces the Surgical Canary, an innovative new method to detect leaks after bowel surgery. Leaks from surgical joins remain the most feared and deadly problem during recovery from these surgeries. Our device has the potential to save both lives and costs of care.
Shwoop Jamie McDonald We’re Shwoop, and we turn cities into playgrounds. By utilising versatile emerging tech, we’re creating a platform to enable to enable scalable city gamification in the form of guerrilla marketing. At the same time, we’ll utilise our platform to ignite authentic human connection – attempting to create a physical social media.
CultureNation Elizabeth Wongchiu CultureNation is an educational action role-playing game for children with a focus on exploring the different cultures in NZ and the world and aims to catalyse difficult conversations in the classroom in an easy, engaging, and interactive format.
Together For Good Holly Dixon Together For Good is an expert-led, evidence based course designed to help couples develop the skills necessary to navigate the challenges that long-term relationships inevitably face. Together For Good empowers to ‘insure’ their relationships against difficulties that arise, while also offering wider benefit to the community through charitable donations.
Zenno Astronautics Ltd Sebastian Wieczorek Our solution is a high-precision orbital mechanics engine driven by a machine learning algorithm. It is an economically viable, globally available service tailored specifically for satellite orbit lifetime estimations. We alleviate the requirement for appropriately designed machines, customer-side time commitments, and access to professionals while delivering results with short lead-times.

Congratulations to all our Qualifiers!!!