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2022 Velocity Innovation Challenge winners revealed

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27 May 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.

The University of Auckland’s annual Velocity Innovation Challenge gives participants the opportunity to win $1,000 for 1,000 words articulating an idea for a start-up. Run out of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Velocity Innovation Challenge is open to students and staff of all faculties, providing participants with an opportunity to think about innovative solutions to a problem of their choice. Winners are free to do as they please with their winnings, with multiple prizes for different categories. Of most value to the winners is the feedback provided by industry judges to help inform and advance their idea.

Darsel Keane, CIE Director says “The Velocity programme was created by the University in recognition of its role in developing the talent that will create a more prosperous New Zealand and to support the ignition and activation of ventures. In order to face the economic, environmental and social challenges of the present and future, we need fresh ideas. Entrepreneurship is an essential mechanism to develop and deliver innovation and Velocity has helped develop an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability in thousands of people over its nearly 20 year history. Some have gone on to become industry leaders and some have gone on to create impactful ventures. These include EdTech company Kami who this year were named by TIME magazine as one of the worlds’ top 100 companies, retail crime intelligence and loss prevention company Auror and gastric diagnostics venture Alimetry.”

“We are delighted to see all the winners and the judges had a hard time making their decisions. We hope all those who entered will keep going with their ideas and develop them further to enter into our next competition, the Velocity $100k Challenge.”

2022 Velocity Innovation Challenge winners

Academic category

Artificial Feed for Mussels
Elevator pitch – “The reliance on wild capture spat is a massive shortcoming in mussel aquaculture that needs to be addressed for industry growth to be sustained. Developing artificial feeds will play an integral role in establishing cost effective and sustainable nursery culture for mussel spat in New Zealand and around the world.”

Audio Visualizer
Elevator pitch – “Motivated by my own hearing loss, I have developed a prototype sensory substitution device that transforms a stereo audio stream into a real-time visualisation that helps its user identify where sounds are coming from. The original prototype helps computer players with hearing loss. Equity in play!”

MedsPace
Elevator pitch – “Has your favourite meal become difficult to enjoy? If conventional treatment options have failed to improve your poor gut health, MedsPace provides the ultimate solution for chronic intractable conditions associated with functional motility disorders.”

NeuroCern
Elevator pitch – NeuroCern is a revolutionary ‘cutting through the cutting edge’ solution that harnesses the pioneer computer-vision technology to resolve uncertainty in neurosurgical resection. Our proposed technology allows surgeons to improve precision while they are operating on the Brain and augments their ability to know where optimally is safe to resect.”

Non-invasive neuromuscular assessment tool for swallowing disorders
Elevator pitch – “Evaluation of swallowing is important for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of individuals with dysphagia, a disorder of swallowing. Currently, dysphagia assessment tools only detail swallowing biomechanics, leaving the underlying physiology unidentified and thus the primary level of impairment undiagnosed. Our tool overcomes this, offering quantifiable, non-invasive evaluation of swallowing physiology.”

Commercial category

Dental Defenders
Elevator pitch – “The most important determinant of dental health is the patient’s own affinity towards maintaining daily dental hygiene practices.  How then, do you encourage your children to take charge of their routine?  ‘Dental Defenders’ is an interactive programme that aims to tackle this issue through the gamification of daily dental routines.

MarkIt
Elevator pitch – “In any marked assignment, it’s common for multiple students to make the same mistake – with MarkIt, you no longer need to worry about your marking team’s consistency, level of feedback, or marking speed across these problems.”

OutThere Astronautics
Elevator pitch – “Satellite constellations are the future, with many advantages. But issues like intermittent connectivity, lack of autonomous control, and CubeSat constraints stop the full possibilities. Our solution is an easily-integrated communications module that allows for inter-satellite links in order to resolve these issues.”

Udo (udodinner.com)
Elevator pitch – “Udo is an online food service like no other and here to help hospitality expand into the ready-made meal market. Each week Udo delivers fresh restaurant made ready-meals right to your door. Order a variety of meals across multiple different restaurants with only one single delivery fee and package.”

Wedding Plannr
Elevator pitch – “Wedding planning is difficult when you have to organise the venue, decorations, photography and everything else in between. That’s where Wedding Plannr can help. Wedding Plannr is the ultimate wedding planning platform that does the initial co-ordination for you.”

Social category

BetterLife
Elevator pitch – “One in five New Zealanders experience a mental-health issue each year. Healthcare services are unable to meet the demand. An innovative approach is needed to scale up mental-health service delivery. Developing scalable digital tools to support mental-health services will improve efficiency of, and access to, mental-health services in New Zealand.”

DementiaBand
Elevator pitch – “Patients with dementia are prone to wandering, and nurses often find it difficult to simultaneously care for patients with and without dementia in their unit. A possible solution is a pre-emptive system that detects when a dementia patient might be susceptible to wandering, and notifies the nursing station.”

H2CLEAN
Elevator pitch – “Tracking and verifying your hydrogen has never been easier with the one stop app which educates, promotes, facilitates and rewards the purchase of clean hydrogen.  We track the journey of green hydrogen through blockchain technology so consumers have trust that the hydrogen they consume is good for the planet.”

MICAS
Elevator pitch – “How do we as migrants establish ourselves with the constant struggles of language and cultural alienation? Deriving from personal and social concerns surrounding migrant wellbeing and diasporic marginalisation, we pitch an innovative and non-verbal artistic platform for Asian migrant stories and connections to be established in Aotearoa.”

Sentisay
Elevator pitch – “Tired of cyber-bullying, hate speech? Being inadvertently offensive? SentiSay  is a multi-application, cross platform plugin (your digital voice of reason) that identifies tone/sentiment of written interactions. SentiSay enables responsible/ethical written communication on the go, by giving a general score/colour emoji or context specific (demographic etc.) sentiment analysis for written content.”

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) category

Prize winners in this category identified one or more of the UNSDGs that their idea would seek to address.

EchoRadar
UNSDG Goal 14: Life Below Water Elevator pitch – “Our innovation, the EchoRadar, locates and monitors the critically endangered Maui dolphins. This information is then delivered to nearby commercial and charter fishers, who are prompted to adjust their actions accordingly to reduce the bycatch of Maui dolphins. Thus, the EchoRadar fosters more sustainable fishing practices.”

 Food Alchemists
UNSDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Elevator pitch – “Manuka honey is known for its beneficial properties. However, people practising a vegan diet are not able to consume it as honey is an animal product made by bees. Food Alchemists will produce a Vegan Manuka Honey without bees which is nutritionally equivalent to Manuka honey.”

I Spy
UNSDG Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
Elevator pitch – “Did you know it takes an average of one hour of treating and combing to do a head lice treatment? Parents are tired of spending money and energy where if you miss ONE egg the cycle starts again shortly. Spot those eggs NOW so no egg is left unseen, reducing reinfection.”

Solar Cathodic protection for metallic materials
UNSDG Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Elevator pitch – “This project will use solar produced energy to cathodically protect metallic material in industrial constructions (such as buildings) to enhance equipment lifetime. Batteries and/or capacitors will be used to regulate flow of electricity keeping it constantly running when sunlight is not available.”

Waitality
UNSDG Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Elevator pitch – “Solutions for cheap and robust onsite water quality monitoring remain elusive. We are developing a water sensor which utilises UV-Vis spectrophotometry combined with artificial neural networks to detect water parameters such as coliforms and dissolved nutrients and metals, with the goal of determining if the water is safe to consume.” tal issues, and be a part of impactful businesses implementing real change in the world.

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

27 May 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.

The University of Auckland’s annual Velocity Innovation Challenge gives participants the opportunity to win $1,000 for 1,000 words articulating an idea for a start-up. Run out of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Velocity Innovation Challenge is open to students and staff of all faculties, providing participants with an opportunity to think about innovative solutions to a problem of their choice. Winners are free to do as they please with their winnings, with multiple prizes for different categories. Of most value to the winners is the feedback provided by industry judges to help inform and advance their idea.

Darsel Keane, CIE Director says “The Velocity programme was created by the University in recognition of its role in developing the talent that will create a more prosperous New Zealand and to support the ignition and activation of ventures. In order to face the economic, environmental and social challenges of the present and future, we need fresh ideas. Entrepreneurship is an essential mechanism to develop and deliver innovation and Velocity has helped develop an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability in thousands of people over its nearly 20 year history. Some have gone on to become industry leaders and some have gone on to create impactful ventures. These include EdTech company Kami who this year were named by TIME magazine as one of the worlds’ top 100 companies, retail crime intelligence and loss prevention company Auror and gastric diagnostics venture Alimetry.”

“We are delighted to see all the winners and the judges had a hard time making their decisions. We hope all those who entered will keep going with their ideas and develop them further to enter into our next competition, the Velocity $100k Challenge.”

2022 Velocity Innovation Challenge winners

Academic category

Artificial Feed for Mussels
Elevator pitch – “The reliance on wild capture spat is a massive shortcoming in mussel aquaculture that needs to be addressed for industry growth to be sustained. Developing artificial feeds will play an integral role in establishing cost effective and sustainable nursery culture for mussel spat in New Zealand and around the world.”

Audio Visualizer
Elevator pitch – “Motivated by my own hearing loss, I have developed a prototype sensory substitution device that transforms a stereo audio stream into a real-time visualisation that helps its user identify where sounds are coming from. The original prototype helps computer players with hearing loss. Equity in play!”

MedsPace
Elevator pitch – “Has your favourite meal become difficult to enjoy? If conventional treatment options have failed to improve your poor gut health, MedsPace provides the ultimate solution for chronic intractable conditions associated with functional motility disorders.”

NeuroCern
Elevator pitch – NeuroCern is a revolutionary ‘cutting through the cutting edge’ solution that harnesses the pioneer computer-vision technology to resolve uncertainty in neurosurgical resection. Our proposed technology allows surgeons to improve precision while they are operating on the Brain and augments their ability to know where optimally is safe to resect.”

Non-invasive neuromuscular assessment tool for swallowing disorders
Elevator pitch – “Evaluation of swallowing is important for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of individuals with dysphagia, a disorder of swallowing. Currently, dysphagia assessment tools only detail swallowing biomechanics, leaving the underlying physiology unidentified and thus the primary level of impairment undiagnosed. Our tool overcomes this, offering quantifiable, non-invasive evaluation of swallowing physiology.”

Commercial category

Dental Defenders
Elevator pitch – “The most important determinant of dental health is the patient’s own affinity towards maintaining daily dental hygiene practices.  How then, do you encourage your children to take charge of their routine?  ‘Dental Defenders’ is an interactive programme that aims to tackle this issue through the gamification of daily dental routines.

MarkIt
Elevator pitch – “In any marked assignment, it’s common for multiple students to make the same mistake – with MarkIt, you no longer need to worry about your marking team’s consistency, level of feedback, or marking speed across these problems.”

OutThere Astronautics
Elevator pitch – “Satellite constellations are the future, with many advantages. But issues like intermittent connectivity, lack of autonomous control, and CubeSat constraints stop the full possibilities. Our solution is an easily-integrated communications module that allows for inter-satellite links in order to resolve these issues.”

Udo (udodinner.com)
Elevator pitch – “Udo is an online food service like no other and here to help hospitality expand into the ready-made meal market. Each week Udo delivers fresh restaurant made ready-meals right to your door. Order a variety of meals across multiple different restaurants with only one single delivery fee and package.”

Wedding Plannr
Elevator pitch – “Wedding planning is difficult when you have to organise the venue, decorations, photography and everything else in between. That’s where Wedding Plannr can help. Wedding Plannr is the ultimate wedding planning platform that does the initial co-ordination for you.”

Social category

BetterLife
Elevator pitch – “One in five New Zealanders experience a mental-health issue each year. Healthcare services are unable to meet the demand. An innovative approach is needed to scale up mental-health service delivery. Developing scalable digital tools to support mental-health services will improve efficiency of, and access to, mental-health services in New Zealand.”

DementiaBand
Elevator pitch – “Patients with dementia are prone to wandering, and nurses often find it difficult to simultaneously care for patients with and without dementia in their unit. A possible solution is a pre-emptive system that detects when a dementia patient might be susceptible to wandering, and notifies the nursing station.”

H2CLEAN
Elevator pitch – “Tracking and verifying your hydrogen has never been easier with the one stop app which educates, promotes, facilitates and rewards the purchase of clean hydrogen.  We track the journey of green hydrogen through blockchain technology so consumers have trust that the hydrogen they consume is good for the planet.”

MICAS
Elevator pitch – “How do we as migrants establish ourselves with the constant struggles of language and cultural alienation? Deriving from personal and social concerns surrounding migrant wellbeing and diasporic marginalisation, we pitch an innovative and non-verbal artistic platform for Asian migrant stories and connections to be established in Aotearoa.”

Sentisay
Elevator pitch – “Tired of cyber-bullying, hate speech? Being inadvertently offensive? SentiSay  is a multi-application, cross platform plugin (your digital voice of reason) that identifies tone/sentiment of written interactions. SentiSay enables responsible/ethical written communication on the go, by giving a general score/colour emoji or context specific (demographic etc.) sentiment analysis for written content.”

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) category

Prize winners in this category identified one or more of the UNSDGs that their idea would seek to address.

EchoRadar
UNSDG Goal 14: Life Below Water Elevator pitch – “Our innovation, the EchoRadar, locates and monitors the critically endangered Maui dolphins. This information is then delivered to nearby commercial and charter fishers, who are prompted to adjust their actions accordingly to reduce the bycatch of Maui dolphins. Thus, the EchoRadar fosters more sustainable fishing practices.”

 Food Alchemists
UNSDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Elevator pitch – “Manuka honey is known for its beneficial properties. However, people practising a vegan diet are not able to consume it as honey is an animal product made by bees. Food Alchemists will produce a Vegan Manuka Honey without bees which is nutritionally equivalent to Manuka honey.”

I Spy
UNSDG Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
Elevator pitch – “Did you know it takes an average of one hour of treating and combing to do a head lice treatment? Parents are tired of spending money and energy where if you miss ONE egg the cycle starts again shortly. Spot those eggs NOW so no egg is left unseen, reducing reinfection.”

Solar Cathodic protection for metallic materials
UNSDG Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Elevator pitch – “This project will use solar produced energy to cathodically protect metallic material in industrial constructions (such as buildings) to enhance equipment lifetime. Batteries and/or capacitors will be used to regulate flow of electricity keeping it constantly running when sunlight is not available.”

Waitality
UNSDG Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Elevator pitch – “Solutions for cheap and robust onsite water quality monitoring remain elusive. We are developing a water sensor which utilises UV-Vis spectrophotometry combined with artificial neural networks to detect water parameters such as coliforms and dissolved nutrients and metals, with the goal of determining if the water is safe to consume.” tal issues, and be a part of impactful businesses implementing real change in the world.


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