Velocity $100k Challenge Grand Finals

A highlight of the evening were the elevator pitches delivered by each team, giving the audience an insight of the many varied start-ups coming through the competition this year. The pitches also demonstrated the high standard of competition. The Velocity team also put together a Thank You video for Judith, the Programme Advisor for Velocity who was recently promoted into a new role. Both past and present members of the team came together to thank her.  

The Velocity $100k Challenge Grand Finals gave further opportunity for inspiration through keynote speaker Vaughan Fergusson, founder of Vend, a New Zealand high-growth tech success story, and founder and trustee of The Pam Fergusson Charitable Trust. He inspired us with his lifetime achievements including building a $100 million company, cycling around NZ and running 5km every day to completely 1000km in one year. 

The evening culminated with the announcement of the five winners. Each of the winners receives seed capital and a place in the university’s incubator VentureLab. 

Runner up

SpinPoi – winner of $15k in seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator.

Are you ready to spin your health around? SpinPoi is revolutionising global wellbeing one orbit at a time with our poi/health programmes. Accessible. Fun. Evidence-based. It’s time for the world to follow Aotearoa back to the practice of poi, and forward to a healthier future.

SpinPoi was founded by Dr. Kate Riegle van West, an interdisciplinary researcher and artist with a passion for play and wellbeing. Over the past decade she has conducted the first study to scientifically investigate the effects of poi on healthand has given poi workshops across the globe. She was awarded the Future Leader Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Best Doctoral Thesis award from the University of Auckland for her work in the poi/health field. She continues to push the boundaries of poi, with a focus on utilizing poi in aged care as a tool for improving physical, cognitive, and emotional wellbeing.

Social Entrepreneurship category winner

Pacific Med Tech – winner of $5k in seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator.

The current system for ad-hoc donation of medical equipment into low-resource settings such as the Pacific Islands is broken.  No need for specialists to repair the equipment is not taken into account. The social enterprise Pacific Med Tech has been established to sustainably and holistically address this issue.

Velocity marked its end to 2019 with a grand celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at the $100k Challenge Grand Finale on October 23. The winners were announced in an atmosphere of anticipation among our 200 guests who came to congratulate our five final prize-winners and to learn about their exciting ventures for the future. Among the winners were an aquaculture technology venture set to revolutionise the mussel industry, a space technology venture solving power supply issues, a poi-based health and wellbeing venture, a glaucoma-detection tool and a social venture designed to aid the Pacific’s medical equipment donation systems.

2019 Velocity $100k Challenge overall winner

Greenshell Spat Co – winner of $25k in seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator.

Aquaculture technology company Greenshell Spat Co have developed disruptive technology for the early stage rearing of GreenshellTM mussels. Their on-water nursery systems are designed to prevent juvenile losses of up to 95%, an inefficiency preventing the GreenshellTM mussel industry reaching is $1b+ potential. Furthermore, their juveniles significantly reduce harvest periods, increasing earnings at no additional cost for farmers.

Research category winner

Rapid Assessment of Vision using Eyetracking (RAVE) – winner of $5k in seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator.

Glaucoma is the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness. It is painless, and starts in the peripheral vision, meaning it can progress unnoticed until almost no vision remains. Current detection methods are inaccurate and time-consuming: RAVE offers a cost-effective, portable, rapid, and objective screening tool for detecting early vision loss.

New Venture category winner

Luxor Astronautics – winner of $5k in seed capital and a place in the VentureLab incubator.

Space technology is advancing rapidly but solar panels cannot provide enough power to keep up. This causes engineers to compromise their ideal components for others that require less power to operate. Luxor Astronautics innovative product will remove power limitations from the space industry, allowing it to achieve what was previously impossible. 

 A big thank you goes to our sponsors and everyone who came to show their support to make the event memorable!

Thanks are also due to the judges and mentors involved in the entire process, who gave up their valuable time to provide invaluable assessments of the entries and the pitches.