The 15 finalist teams for the Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland’s Velocity $100k Challenge have been announced. This year a record-breaking 108 venture ideas were submitted, indicating that entrepreneurial energy is pulsing strongly throughout the University of Auckland.

The finalists were selected through a robust judging process, with 50 industry professionals volunteering their time to assist with the selection.  The teams will now move forward into the Launch Pad programme, where they will be supported to develop their ideas further through a series of workshops and mentorship. On Wednesday 18 October they will compete in the grand final for the ultimate prize – a share of a prize package valued at over $100,000, including a place in the VentureLab incubator, where they are given support and mentoring to get their venture off the page and out into the world.

The $100k Challenge is run by Velocity, a student-led entrepreneurship development programme delivered in partnership with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Velocity is celebrating its 20th year of developing entrepreneurial mindsets, innovative capabilities, and enterprising skills for both students and staff across all the University’s faculties. Alumni of the programme have taken the knowledge and experiential learning into a wide range of careers in a vast array of industries, many founding companies that will benefit New Zealand’s future. Since 2003, alumni of CIE’s programmes have collectively ignited 276 ventures, which have created 3,260 jobs, operate in 182 countries across the globe and have raised $1.39 billion in capital.

This year the range of submissions reflected the diversity of creative thinking at the University of Auckland, but only 15 could be selected to qualify for the next stage of the challenge.


The Velocity $100k Challenge finalists for 2023 are (in alphabetical order):

Aroaro Metagalaxies

Aroaro is an app that allows any person to create a part of the Metaverse, known as a Metagalaxy, and control the access to it as they control access to their homes. Aroaro provides self-owned, peer-peer shared metagalactic spaces with privacy control, and interconnection protocols to connect with other metagalaxies.


As a Financial Adviser, collecting accurate financial information and documentation from a client can take weeks. It slows down approvals for customers and payments. This pain can be solved through bluemint, a secure digital portal where clients and Advisers can share, review and update information and documentation together.


For female tradies in NZ without access to sanitary bins on construction sites, the CycleMate Bin is a portable sanitary bin that comes with hygienic wipes and sanitary products. We seek to improve the quality of life for female tradies and set an industry standard.

Emerson Wind Monitor

Cup anemometers are high maintenance, because their high-speed bearings are subjected to wear and the effects of harsh weather. The Emerson Wind Monitor is bearing less and features one slow-moving part with consumer electronics, responds to wind shift swiftly, has very low maintenance, and reduces lifetime costs up to fivefold.

Fit-Ex AI

Fit-Ex A.I. combines machine learning with depth sensor to provide personalized exercise feedback. Unlike current fitness apps, it provides detailed movement quality feedback, reducing injury risk, optimizing muscle activation, and enhancing performance. While some apps help track fitness, Fit-Ex A.I. stands out as it delivers exercise prescription, instruction, and monitoring.


At Melitta Skin, we are on a mission to shake up the sun care industry. Our solution, Glowguard, provides double the sun protection and has undergone extensive clinical validation for all skin types. We value protection, transparency, and efficacy while ensuring sustainable production practices.

KinaKhitosan-Zinc Batteries

KinaKhitosan, a high-value biopolymer with many applications including the replacement of battery cathodes. Enabling local production of grid-level electrical storage and a transition to renewable power. KinaKhitosan was created to fund marine biodiversity restoration having the potential to create $3.9 billion in natural resource value per year here in Aotearoa.


What if, in a single glance, farmers could effortlessly gauge the health of every crop they grow? This dream is a reality with PlantPeepers. Farmers can effortlessly detect whether or not their crops are diseased using our machine-learning system before the human eye can even see!


RecyclABLE is an educational and habit-making app to help youth become better recyclers in Aotearoa. Through engaging gamification, this app teaches kids all the knowledge they need on common recycling. Once the lessons are completed, users can compete with each other and earn cosmetics by correctly logging in their recyclables.


ReferenceStar is a transformative digital platform streamlining global reference letter processes for job applicants, referees, and employers. Customizable templates enhance efficiency, eliminate biases, and validate references for a more effective job market, catering specifically to the needs of the dynamic global workforce.


Introducing RESYS: The intuitive online system revolutionising research project management worldwide. With tailored end to end research project tools, blockchain security, API integrations and multilevel stakeholder engagement features, RESYS empowers researchers, academics, and students to initiate and track projects, streamline budgets, and boost productivity for groundbreaking research discoveries.


SafeZone is a cloud-based solution that enhances pedestrian safety in shared zones by adjusting speed limits based on traffic density via 5G technology. Unlike traditional systems, it doesn’t rely on cameras and line-of-sight sensors, ensuring accurate representations of nearby traffic and allowing sustainable transportation without compromising safety.


Experience a game-changing fitness companion – smart, machine learning-powered dumbbells. Automatically track weight, reps, growth, and receive real-time feedback on form to prevent injury and muscle imbalances. Share workout metrics via the companion app and join a vibrant fitness community. Elevate your workouts and unlock your true potential.


SmartSide is a project management software tailored for the construction sector. By utilizing 3D models and web-based data (APIs), it automatically creates construction programmes and building methodologies. Moreover, SmartSide takes advantage of real-time data and AI algorithms to optimize the programme continuously, ensuring maximum productivity and precision.


At WasteXpert, our mission is to provide innovative and sustainable waste management and minimisation solutions for the construction industry, facilitating industry education, reducing waste to landfill through implementation, and with accurate data collection for future innovation.