Technology firms dominate shortlist in university competition

Technology dominates the shortlist of companies in the hunt to grab some growth funding in a million-dollar business competition.

Qualifiers in the annual University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge range from a business growing algae loaded with potent antioxidants to a mobile story-telling platform.

The 11 selected firms have a common goal of accelerating their business growth using up to $1 million in funding and business advisory support facilitated by the university's business school.

University of Auckland Business School dean Greg Whittred said an interesting mix of companies had entered the competition, and it included at least five cloud-based business models.


"We did not set out to attract this kind of company, but I do think it tells you where business opportunities are being perceived and where New Zealand's head is at when it comes to growing international businesses."

Included for the first time this year is a new competition aimed at younger entrepreneurs.

The EC-35 fund has $100,000 available to help entrepreneurs 35 and under to pay for a world-class adviser or executive director.

Five entrepreneurs have put their hands up for this support - Chris Smith from STQRY, Ahmad Jubbawey from Vensa Health, who are both in the running for the main funding award, plus Phil Thomson from Eyedentify, Jonny McKessar from Three Bean Espresso and TranscribeMe's Alexei Dunayev.

The qualifiers will be whittled down to a handful of finalists announced in early September.


• 90 Seconds - cloud-based video production service with global reach.
• Ask Metro - property maintenance and insurance repairs.
• Aura Information Security - website security specialists.
• Career Engagement Group - cloud-based career management tool.
• Kiwa Digital - production house for experiential digital books.
• RedSeed - cloud-based training solution for retail stores.
• Supreme Biotechnologies - algae propagation for health use.
• VMob - mobile marketing technology for bricks and mortar retailers.
• Xlerate - cloud-based workforce and fleet tracking.
• .5STQRY - mobile-based story-telling platform.
• Vensa Health - mobile-based appointment reminder and health advice technology.