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VentureLab incubator unleashes five primed start-ups

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9 August 2021

Representatives from each of the start-ups participating in the 2021 VentureLab incubator recently presented their learnings at a wrap-up showcase at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space. Their presentations put on display an authentic representation of the rollercoaster that is starting a new venture.

VentureLab is the University of Auckland’s six-month venture incubator. At the end of each academic year, the five winners of the Velocity $100k Challenge entrepreneurship competition receive a coveted spot in VentureLab as part of their prize package. VentureLab is administered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), with a manager recruited for the duration of the incubator for weekly check-ins and mentorship. 

The VentureLab Manager for 2021 was Ken Erskine, a respected member of New Zealand’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ken is an entrepreneur and investment fund manager who has previously worked in leadership roles for organisations such as the Icehouse. The 2021 VentureLab participants all expressed their gratitude for Ken’s knowledge, support and good humour that has helped them to reduce mistakes, and bounce back fast from the ones they did make. 

VentureLab is made possible through the support of philanthropist Tony Falkenstein, who presented at the VentureLab showcase about his own early failures on his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur as the founder of the Just Water group. He said he supports VentureLab as he wishes he had had a Ken in his early days.

Collectively, the 2021 VentureLab participants have raised substantial capital and industry support, and in some cases international prestige. RosterLab won the International Nurse Rostering Competition. CEO Isaac Cleland pointed out that the fact that there is an international competition for rostering proficiency is validation that modern solutions are needed. 

Mitchell Rogers relayed how FishBox has pivoted from commercial solutions to amateur fishing to both. The team of data scientists has learned a lot about business, resilience and the dynamics of founder teams. “We started VentureLab with 3 software developers and ended with 2”, he laughed. FishBox has established some industry support and the remaining founders are working out their next steps. 

The future for VentureLab participants looks bright – 86% of the start-ups who have participated in VentureLab over its history are still in business. CIE Programme Manager Judith Marecek says “VentureLab participants enter thinking they are fortunate to have had this opportunity to gain seed funding, desk space and access to opportunities to apply for further funding. They leave knowing that the real gift was to have had mental and emotional support, access to mentor knowledge and wisdom, and the CIE cheer team behind them as they go through the initial ups and downs of life as an entrepreneur. We can’t wait to see what they’ll all do next, and we will be sure to check in as they progress.”

2021 VentureLab participants

FishBox
FishBox uses AI solutions to develop efficient management tools for New Zealand marine life, including measurement and classification tools.

Kiwrious
Kiwrious believes that science is fun, creative and social and they help students experience this for themselves. Kiwrious is a low-cost sensor kit that empowers students to engage in scientific inquiries in and out of school. 

Nikau Robotics
Nikau Robotics is creating a novel automated CNC for automating carpentry for residential construction.

RosterLab
RosterLab uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence techniques to build exceptional rosters for hospital staff, much more quickly than is possible by hand. With a simple-to-use web application for roster creation and associated staff phone app, RosterLab can automate almost all of the rostering process. 

Ūkaipō
Ūkaipō aims to revitalise and strengthen the placenta burial practice through their Rau Whenua package. This provides not only the mothers themselves, but also future generations to come, with an incredible, beautiful and connection-building tradition.

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

social media

9 August 2021

Representatives from each of the start-ups participating in the 2021 VentureLab incubator recently presented their learnings at a wrap-up showcase at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space. Their presentations put on display an authentic representation of the rollercoaster that is starting a new venture.

VentureLab is the University of Auckland’s six-month venture incubator. At the end of each academic year, the five winners of the Velocity $100k Challenge entrepreneurship competition receive a coveted spot in VentureLab as part of their prize package. VentureLab is administered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), with a manager recruited for the duration of the incubator for weekly check-ins and mentorship. 

The VentureLab Manager for 2021 was Ken Erskine, a respected member of New Zealand’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ken is an entrepreneur and investment fund manager who has previously worked in leadership roles for organisations such as the Icehouse. The 2021 VentureLab participants all expressed their gratitude for Ken’s knowledge, support and good humour that has helped them to reduce mistakes, and bounce back fast from the ones they did make. 

VentureLab is made possible through the support of philanthropist Tony Falkenstein, who presented at the VentureLab showcase about his own early failures on his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur as the founder of the Just Water group. He said he supports VentureLab as he wishes he had had a Ken in his early days.

Collectively, the 2021 VentureLab participants have raised substantial capital and industry support, and in some cases international prestige. RosterLab won the International Nurse Rostering Competition. CEO Isaac Cleland pointed out that the fact that there is an international competition for rostering proficiency is validation that modern solutions are needed. 

Mitchell Rogers relayed how FishBox has pivoted from commercial solutions to amateur fishing to both. The team of data scientists has learned a lot about business, resilience and the dynamics of founder teams. “We started VentureLab with 3 software developers and ended with 2”, he laughed. FishBox has established some industry support and the remaining founders are working out their next steps. 

The future for VentureLab participants looks bright – 86% of the start-ups who have participated in VentureLab over its history are still in business. CIE Programme Manager Judith Marecek says “VentureLab participants enter thinking they are fortunate to have had this opportunity to gain seed funding, desk space and access to opportunities to apply for further funding. They leave knowing that the real gift was to have had mental and emotional support, access to mentor knowledge and wisdom, and the CIE cheer team behind them as they go through the initial ups and downs of life as an entrepreneur. We can’t wait to see what they’ll all do next, and we will be sure to check in as they progress.”

2021 VentureLab participants

FishBox
FishBox uses AI solutions to develop efficient management tools for New Zealand marine life, including measurement and classification tools.

Kiwrious
Kiwrious believes that science is fun, creative and social and they help students experience this for themselves. Kiwrious is a low-cost sensor kit that empowers students to engage in scientific inquiries in and out of school. 

Nikau Robotics
Nikau Robotics is creating a novel automated CNC for automating carpentry for residential construction.

RosterLab
RosterLab uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence techniques to build exceptional rosters for hospital staff, much more quickly than is possible by hand. With a simple-to-use web application for roster creation and associated staff phone app, RosterLab can automate almost all of the rostering process. 

Ūkaipō
Ūkaipō aims to revitalise and strengthen the placenta burial practice through their Rau Whenua package. This provides not only the mothers themselves, but also future generations to come, with an incredible, beautiful and connection-building tradition.


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