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Six high-potential venture ideas score slice of $100K
October 19, 2023
Construction and demolition waste, detection of plant diseases and fitness tracking were just a few of the real-world concerns tackled by innovators and entrepreneurs as part of the 2023 Velocity $100k Challenge.
The team behind a revolutionary solution to divert construction waste from landfill were awarded first place in an awards ceremony held at the Business School’s Sir Owen G Glenn Building at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland, this week.
Pausing and reflecting on progress for Women in Entrepreneurship
September 11, 2023
Professor Christine Woods has been an entrepreneurship educator for more than 20 years, balancing teaching, research and advocacy through her role as an academic as well as involvement with organisations such as the Icehouse and the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Many describe Christine as a woman of action, but she is careful to remind herself and others, “Do not mistake motion for progress.” To ensure she is making progress, Christine believes the key is “pausing and reflecting”.
Finalists announced from biggest Velocity $100k Challenge ever
August 18, 2023
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.
Embracing identity and values key to Pacific entrepreneurship
August 17, 2023
The 2023 Pasifika Innovation and Entrepreneurship Talanoa was hosted recently in Kura Matahuna Unleash Space, one of the innovation hubs run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The event was the result of a collaboration between Auckland University Pacific Island Student Association (AUPISA) and CIE’s Velocity entrepreneurship development programme. The evening featured a panel of three speakers who shared stories from their diverse entrepreneurial experiences, with their strong common thread of Pacific heritage woven throughout. It was an inspiring evening filled with authenticity, advice and plenty of laughter.
New Zealand CleanTech on a global mission
August 14, 2023
Hydroxsys is a New Zealand CleanTech company tackling a huge global problem. Predictions estimate that global demand for freshwater will outstrip supply by 40% before the end of this decade, and primary industries such as agriculture and horticulture are identified as the main culprits in the water crisis. Hydroxsys is embracing the challenge to provide a more sustainable solution with aspirations to recover and reuse one billion cubic metres of water within 20 years with their innovative membrane technology. Kariappa Maletira Karumbaiah, General Manager of Operations at Hydroxsys, believes that sustainable practices are both a corporate responsibility and a pathway to lasting success and by embracing innovation and taking calculated risks, New Zealand can create a greener and more resilient future.
Venture Lab incubator showcases the entrepreneurial journey
August 7, 2023
The University of Auckland’s Venture Lab incubator programme continues to nurture and support aspiring entrepreneurs, as the latest cohort wraps up their six-month experience with great success. Their learnings were shared at a recent showcase event held for the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Duncan Cunninghame: Taking New Zealand MedTech global
August 1, 2023
Navigating different markets with different healthcare systems can be challenging. Duncan Cunninghame, Vice President of Business Development at The Insides Company, is helping to chart the course in the complex European market and is driven by an entrepreneurial mindset to deliver health impact at scale.
Aligning entrepreneurship, innovation and chakras
July 25, 2023
Danny Garg’s mind has always raced to solve problems ever since he was a child. It was this creative energy that helped fuel Danny to build his thriving business, Valka Yoga, selling sustainable, functional yoga mats and accessories. With over 20,000 yoga mats sold so far, Danny is committed to his company’s goal of producing ‘the most eco-friendly yoga mat in the world’. Valka Yoga proudly proclaims the title of ‘New Zealand’s leading supplier of ethically and sustainably sourced yoga mats and accessories’ and is making gains in the Australian market. Now, Danny has his sights set on the United States of America.
Avantika Gupta: Blurring boundaries essential for a brighter future
July 21, 2023
Avantika Gupta has her eyes firmly set on the future; as a vice president of the investment team at Type One Ventures, Avantika works daily with innovative ideas and forward-focused founders and is optimistic that innovation and entrepreneurship are the keys to creating a better future for all humanity.
Dr Simon Malpas: the urgent need for innovation investment in New Zealand
July 10, 2023
Dr Simon Malpas, the CEO and founder of Kitea Health and Professor of Physiology and Bioengineering at Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland, recently shared his insights on raising capital and emphasised the importance of investing in innovation for New Zealand’s economic growth and resilience.
World-first AI-powered orthopaedic surgery software start-up wins big at the 2023 Hi-Tech Awards
June 26, 2023
Double honours are flowing for Formus Labs as the start-up led by Thor Bessier, an alumnus of the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), snatched two prestigious titles at the 2023 NZ Hi-Tech Awards.
How organisations can unlock the potential of Artificial Intelligence
June 26, 2023
In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is challenging norms, Ming Cheuk, co-founder and CTO of the applied AI agency, ElementX, and Executive Member of the Artificial Intelligence Council of New Zealand has been providing thought leadership and guidance on how organisations can navigate this rapidly advancing technology.
Students take consent education to Milan
June 25, 2023
The founders of Let’s Talk Consent, a social enterprise designed to catalyse change in the area of sexual harm, are sharing their project at a youth forum in Milan this month.
With rape and sexual violence regularly in New Zealand news headlines, the value of consent education cannot be underestimated, say the founders of Let’s Talk Consent.
Gene therapy venture makes progress on the path to treating dementia
June 18, 2023
AviadoBio looks set to initiate their first human clinical trial this year for gene therapy they are developing to treat early-onset dementia.
The particular gene therapy moving into clinical trial has been designed to treat a genetic form of early-onset dementia called Fronto-temporal Dementia. It is just one of the medicines being developed by AviadoBio to treat neurogenerative diseases. They are also exploring treatments for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Technology in China inspiration for a New Zealand indigenous birthing app
May 31, 2023
Te Miringa Parkes is the founder of Ūkaipō, a venture designed to support traditional Māori birthing practices through the adoption of new technologies. Her journey has recently taken her to Hong Kong and Southern China for inspiration in the development of her venture.
Winners of the 2023 Velocity Ideas Challenge revealed
May 30, 2023
Last week, the 20 winners of the Velocity Ideas Challenge were announced, each taking home a slice of $20,000.
University of Auckland students and staff were invited to submit a 1,000-word entry based on an idea for a start-up which aims to solve an environmental, economic, or social issue, for a chance to win $1,000.
The venture taking New Zealand wool to the moon
May 28, 2023
A New Zealand wool product developed by Auckland-based filter media company Lanaco has been adopted as part of NASA’s mission to the moon.
Procurement software start-up Cotiss green–lit with $2.2m investment
May 27, 2023
Tender processes are known to be the epitome of bureaucracy – slow and arduous. Start-up Cotiss aims to make the tender process easier with intuitive software designed to make the process more efficient, saving time and money for small to medium sized procurement teams who work in high regulation and compliance industries.
From academia to entrepreneurship: Isaac Cleland’s AI rostering venture RosterLab
April 18, 2023
The AI rostering software solution, RosterLab, won the University of Auckland’s Velocity $100K Challenge in 2020 after Engineering PhD student Isaac Cleland made a last-minute entry to the entrepreneurship competition. RosterLab is based on his research with Associate Professor Andrew Mason and Dr Michael O’Sullivan into developing new techniques for mathematically optimising large and complex roster models.
Meet the 2023 Velocity CEO
March 13, 2023
Bachelor of Law and Arts student, Charlotte Print is this year’s CEO of the Velocity entrepreneurship development programme. As Velocity celebrates its 20th anniversary, Charlotte is responsible for leading a committee of 30 student volunteers who organise a year-long programme of competitions, inspirational seminars and workshops for the benefit of hundreds of University of Auckland students and staff.
Tell us about your background and what led to your interest in innovation and entrepreneurship?
Throughout my schooling, I always loved trying new activities to learn more about the world around me. From athletics, to choirs, to debating and many other random activities which I still practice.
AnimaSelf: The venture creating a playground for you to think, feel, and grow
January 25, 2023
Last year, Tiger Chen, an alumna of the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), made a bold move to London to explore Europe and seek career opportunities as a newly-trained UX designer. To her surprise, the move led her to join AnimaSelf, an innovative mental health start-up app, where she now works as the lead product designer as a side hustle while also working a day job as a UX designer for a software company.
Kara Technologies sign language avatar venture receives $1.3m seed funding
January 12, 2023
Kara Technologies is one step closer to their goal of making sign language services widely available with $1.3 million raised in a recent round of seed funding. The company also recently reached new audiences through a partnership with Australian entertainer Emma Watkins, best known as a former member of the ever-popular Wiggles.
University spin-outs named in Deloitte Fast 50
November 21, 2022
Start-ups that began through the University of Auckland’s Velocity programme have been named in the 2022 Deloitte Fast 50, an index of New Zealand’s fastest growing businesses. Deloitte says that their inclusion is evidence of the important role universities have to play in developing New Zealand’s economic potential.
Poi therapy venture spins around the world
November 21, 2022
After falling in love with poi while in the circus, Dr Kate Riegle van West packed up her life in the United States and headed to New Zealand to chase a hunch that playing with poi had health benefits. Conducting the world’s first scientific study of poi and wellbeing as a PhD at the University of Auckland, under the supervision of the Centre for Brain Research and the School of Dance Studies, her clinical study proved benefits in grip strength, balance, and the ability to sustain attention for healthy older adults after just one month of practice.
Reflections of a Velocity CEO: Nandini Singh
November 18, 2022
“It is surreal to be part of a community where you are constantly supported to do what you are truly passionate about. I cannot thank Velocity and CIE enough for believing in me and empowering me to go and create positive change in the world.”
Nandini Singh, soon-to-graduate commerce student and CEO of the Velocity programme in 2022, reflects on her time at university and how involvement with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) helped her grow from a shy high school graduate to an empowered leader driving positive change in the community.
StretchSense motion capture venture finalises $13.3m capital raise
November 11, 2022
StretchSense, a global leader in high-precision motion capture technology for the gaming and animation sectors, has recently completed a NZ$13.3m series A led by Par Equity, supported by existing investor GD1 and Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency.
StretchSense is headquartered in Auckland with offices in Seattle and Edinburgh. The company has more than 200 gaming and visual effects (VFX) studios using its technology worldwide.
The venture using satellites for efficient water quality monitoring
November 10, 2022
Fresh water is an indispensable resource, and we cannot survive without it. Population and industry growth have put pressure on our precious waterways and local and central governments now have the weight of managing these systems on their shoulders.
Essential to managing waterways is monitoring water health. Currently this is primarily done by taking limited samples by hand and sending them to a lab for examination. Waterways are vast, and accurate monitoring would require taking masses of samples from points across an entire waterway, which is not feasible.
Virtual solution developed to enable real life friendships
October 31, 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic created unprecedented mass social deprivation that we are only now beginning to understand the consequences of. Worldwide, a generation of young people have had living in an online world normalised. They are used to screens being their window to the world, experiencing life through social media, online games, and remote learning and are out of practice with in person communication. A University of Auckland student venture is now addressing this generation’s pain point of struggling to make meaningful friendships.
Six cutting-edge solutions score slice of $100k
October 20, 2022
Consent, mental health, and water quality were just a few of the real-world concerns tackled by innovators and entrepreneurs as part of the 2022 Velocity $100k Challenge.
The brains behind a revolutionary solution to help improve precision and safety during neurosurgery were awarded first place in the 2022 Velocity $100k Challenge awards ceremony at the University of Auckland this week.
The winning venture, Neuroφanos, spearheaded by University of Auckland bioengineering institute research fellows Dr Hamid Abbasi and Dr Soroush Safaei, with Dr Jason Correia, deputy director at Neurosurgery Auckland Hospital and Dr Samantha Holdsworth, director at Matai Medical Institute, was awarded $25,000 seed capital.
Finalists announced for the 2022 Velocity $100k Challenge
August 19, 2022
The 15 finalist teams for the University of Auckland’s Velocity $100k Challenge have been announced. Venture ideas have been developed by students and staff that address a range of economic, social and environmental problems. The concepts represent the diversity of entrepreneurial thinking at the University with the ideas including solutions for water issues, sexual consent, mental health, dementia, chronic pain, sustainable packaging and satellites.
Sugar Wallet app makes investing simple for everyday Kiwis
June 29, 2022
Sugar Wallet, an app co-founded by alumni Devrath Soni and Sophia Ritchie, is on a mission to make investing easy for the everyday Kiwi. Eighteen months after its inception, it has topped charts in the App Store.
Alumni venture FormusLabs raises $5m towards AI powered orthopaedic surgery software
June 29, 2022
FormusLabs, a venture co-founded by University of Auckland Professor Thor Besier and alumnus Dr Ju Zhang, has raised $5m towards their software assisting orthopaedic surgeons with delivering joint replacement surgeries.
2022 Velocity Innovation Challenge winners revealed
May 27, 2022
The Velocity Innovation Challenge winners were revealed at a prize giving event, with each receiving part of a $20,000 prize pool. Though the ideas entered varied wildly, ranging from brain surgery innovations to vegan manuka honey, to how parents can gamify toothbrushing, all showcased a University of Auckland community striving to somehow make the world a better place and the diversity of entrepreneurial thinking occurring in all parts of the University.
Meet the 2022 CEO of Velocity
Feb 10, 2022
Velocity is the University of Auckland’s flagship student-led entrepreneurial development programme delivered through the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Leading Velocity this year as CEO is Nandini Singh, a third-year Bachelor of Commerce student majoring in Finance and Economics. Nandini is in her second year of Velocity having previously held the role of Events Co-lead.
Wayve raises $200m in investment towards next-generation autonomous vehicles
Feb 1, 2022
Wayve are an autonomous mobility start-up who have pioneered a new machine learning approach to AV. Their innovative approach has won the confidence of investors such as Microsoft and Virgin, with their latest Series B round generating over $200 million in investment.
Segna’s lightning speed data wrangling platform gets Silicon Valley investment
Nov 26, 2021
Data wrangling start-up Segna have raised substantial investment to advance the development of their innovative machine learning software platform. Segna uses machine learning to aggregate and clean data from multiple sources in under a minute. Its software platform helps businesses of all sizes unlock value from their data faster and more easily by automating the time-consuming, administrative tasks of curating and organising it.
2021 Innovation Blues award winners named
Nov 1, 2021
The founders of A.I. hospital rostering and recruitment solution ventures, New Zealand Universities National League Case Competition winners and the Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year have all been recognised as outstanding student innovators in the 2021 University of Auckland Blues Awards.
University of Auckland reveals 2021 Velocity $100k Challenge winners
Oct 21, 2021
A new generation of start-up founders has been released into the world with the completion of the University of Auckland’s 2021 Velocity entrepreneurship development programme. Winners of its business planning competition, the Velocity $100k Challenge, were announced via an online Grand Final event. The guest speaker for the evening was Sir Ian Taylor (Ngāti Kahungunu), founder of leading Computer Graphics production house Animation Research Ltd, 2019 New Zealand Innovator of the Year, and 2020 Deloitte 200 Visionary Leader of the Year.
$100k Challenge Qualifiers 2021
August 19, 2021
The Velocity student-led entrepreneurship programme has announced its 2021 $100k Challenge competition qualifiers. Fifteen teams were selected by a panel of expert judges out of 90 submissions across all faculties, the second highest number of entries received since Velocity was founded in 2003.
Alumni Spotlight – Isaac Cleland
July 30, 2021
Meet Isaac, founder of RosterLab and the overall winner of Velocity’s $100K Challenge in 2020. His journey to being a successful startup founder started with his PhD research that investigated scheduling algorithms in the healthcare industry. This research is what gave him an idea for how the healthcare industry could use algorithms and AI to optimise rosters for healthcare workers, which was then developed into a business through the $100K Challenge. Want to read more about Isaac and his path to winning the challenge?
Alumni Spotlight – Fia Jones
July 30, 2021
Fia Jones has always been a space fanatic. During her time pursuing a Physics degree at university, Fia began working on her innovation at just age 19. Since winning a category prize for Velocity’s $100K Challenge in 2019, Fia is now the CEO and founder of Astrix Astronautics, a startup that plans to revolutionise satellites by creating a more productive alternate power generation system. It has received support from large investors and key entities of the space industry, such as Rocket Lab. Curious to know how Fia has developed Astrix after winning the $100K Challenge?
Alumni Spotlight – Te Miringa Parkes
July 22, 2021
Te Miringa Parkes is a business student at the University of Auckland, and is also the founder of Ūkaipō, runner up in Velocity’s 2020 $100K Challenge. Inspired by her mother, Te Miringa brought an innovative idea to life and founded Ūkaipō, a company that aims to help families celebrate the birth of a new child by providing families with leak-proof, biodegradable Rau Whenua placenta planting packages. Find out how the $100K Challenge has helped Te Miringa develop this inspiring venture.
Velocity Innovation Challenge inspires new generation of entrepreneurs
May 21, 2021
Innovation Challenge is a key event for the University of Auckland’s entrepreneurship development programme Velocity. Students and staff are invited to share a venture idea that will solve a problem, big or small. Each 1,000 word entry is assessed and considered for a $1,000 prize with 12 prizes up for grabs. Entrants can submit ideas for a commercial or social venture, and this year additional prizes were added for ideas that tackled an aspect of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Making science serious fun: The venture empowering young Kiwi innovators and critical thinkers
May 19, 2021
Educational start-up Kiwrious is empowering the next generation of innovators and critical thinkers through the Kiwrious Science Experience. Founded by Suranga Nanayakkara, an Associate Professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), they aim to spark inquiring minds by giving Kiwi students the tools they need to take scientific measurements of the world around them.
Students gifted inspirational entrepreneurs retreat
May 13, 2021
A diverse group of student and graduate entrepreneurs from the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) have been gifted a place in an intensive entrepreneurs retreat where they were challenged and inspired to fulfil their potential.
Multitudes: The culture start-up built by the pandemic
Apr 20, 2021
In a post-pandemic world, with companies encouraging employees to continue to work from home, how will a healthy team dynamic be maintained? SaaS company Multitudes is helping teams improve culture and performance by providing data-led insights on day to day team behaviours and easy-to-access coaching for managers to unlock more inclusive, higher performing teams.
Guts and glory – the rise of gastric biotech start-up Alimetry
Apr 20, 2021
Alimetry, a digital healthcare and diagnostic devices start-up is grounded in world-leading science in gastrointestinal diseases. In the short two years since its inception it has established itself as a pioneer in health solutions, recently being named a finalist in the NZ Hi-tech Awards.
The start-up using tractor-driven AI to enable the wine industry’s full potential
Apr 12, 2021
Cropsy Technologies are developing a combination of patent-pending hardware and AI to help growers make data-driven decisions. While their innovations have a number of applications, they are currently focused on viticulture, an industry that the team have identified as ripe for picking.
CreateBase – the venture enabling kids to access enjoyable tech education
Mar 24, 2021
CreateBase is on a mission to give the next generation the skills, tools and confidence necessary to unleash their inner technology creators, and realise their future potential. They are currently building a digital platform that teachers and parents can provide to children to teach tangible technical skills through play.
Answering Pacific health care professionals’ calls for support
Mar 16, 2021
“The nurses had no way of knowing if my nephew was improving or worsening.” Statements such as these have inspired the creation of Pacific Med Tech, a social venture that aims to support capacity building in biomedical engineering departments of hospitals in the Pacific.
Meet the 2021 CEO of Velocity
Mar 12, 2021
Velocity is the University of Auckland’s flagship student-led entrepreneurial development programme delivered through the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In the 18 years since its launch in 2003, Velocity has helped build over 130 ventures, created 800 jobs, and raised over $280m in capital.
New Zealand Government adds power to New Zealand’s leading student entrepreneurship development programme
Feb 26, 2021
The New Zealand Government’s venture investment vehicle New Zealand Growth Capital Partners have signed on to support Velocity, New Zealand’s leading student entrepreneurship development programme, through sponsorship and network support. Together they will provide substantial opportunities to increase the potential and capability of New Zealand’s next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
Breakthrough technology developed to advance eye care for children
Feb 17, 2021
Objective Acuity is creating an accessible and accurate way of detecting vision problems early in life by developing the first objective vision screening test based on visual acuity for children under the age of five. The venture was founded by Dr Ben Thompson, a Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Auckland, Dr Jason Turuwhenua and Dr Mehrdad Sangi at the University of Auckland’s Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI).
The venture helping neurodiverse people into work
Feb 12, 2021
Socius XR is an immersive extended reality platform for neurodiverse people, such as those on the autism spectrum, to prepare and practice different skills and interactions for various situations, with a focus on employment. Its three founders first collaborated on the venture as students participating in Summer Lab, an intensive entrepreneurship programme run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Student Maina Fuimaono advocates for Pacific innovation
Jan 27, 2021
Wellington native Maina Fuimaono arrived at the University of Auckland never having heard of innovation and entrepreneurship. Now, the final year Bachelor of Commerce student advocates for it to be a part of every student’s university experience.