Stage 2 Finalists - X Challenge

What an amazing turnout for Stage 2. We have had a total of 60 entries from many different study areas across four categories.

“It was really cool to see the calibre of student entrepreneurs at AUT and the breadth of ideas for innovation and thinking, and it was a really great process to be involved in – it makes me feel a lot more upbeat about the future of our country.” - Oliver McDermott, Blender Design (Judge)
“I really enjoyed experiencing the creativity and positivity that the students were bringing to their proposals. A real 'can-do' attitude that I respected.”
“For me the big thing was the calibre of the work that had gone in, I'm very keen to meet some of these students, I think they've got a bright future ahead of them irrespective of who goes on to ultimately win. A lot of great potential there.” - Shane Ohlin - Paymark (Judge)

The 12 finalists


  1. Proteanz - Tyler Lewis and Jonathan Leftley

    A New Zealand produced redefinition of a sports drink

  2. Better Butter - Nina Lopes

    ‘People are good. Our food system is not. Better Butter is a healthier, more sustainable and ethical alternative to conventional dairy butter.’

  3. Illu-mate - Colin Anderson

    Illu-mate addresses emotional disconnect in environmental awareness by novel use of colour theory and sensor arrays, illuminating plants based on their health needs. Projecting health information onto the plant as colour and light creates a complete visual feedback loop, making the data and the plant one and the same.


  1. Yoga Psychotherapy - Catia Batalha and Pedro Silva

    To address the grave issue of mental health in Aotearoa New Zealand, we propose a new holistic approach, combining Western sciences/psychologies with Eastern traditions/philosophies. This potentiates multi-dimensional recovery (e.g. physical, emotional, mental, social, ecological and spiritual).

  2. Unbounded Environmental Consultancy - Rachel Cooper and Jamie Engelbrecht

    Unbounded Environmental Consultancy makes positive change across the globe. We collaborate with Kiwi farmers to meet the strict environmental regulations while the profits help Nepalese farmers adapt to climate change.

  3. Parcel Box - Mark Price and Kiran Sahota

    Parcelbox offers commercially-independent electronic parcel lockers to improve the efficiency and experience of parcel deliveries for consumers.


  1. Outdoor Planner - Nairi Nasrallah and Mikey Stewart

    The Outdoor Planner is a simple and interactive application that enables you to easily plan your outdoor trip while ensuring you take all safety precautions defined under the Outdoor Code. Outdoor planner prompts users to follow all the necessary steps to safely plan a trip such as checking the weather, route difficulty and telling someone where you are going.

  2. Mobile Finger Reader - Jarek Beksa

    Mobile Finger Reader changes the way or reading documents by blind and visually impaired. It's easy to use and runs on any touchscreen device. It provides spatial information about the document, which is only available on braille prints or expensive dedicated braille tablets.

  3. Chat Grow - Michelle Extross and Amritpal Kaur

    ChatGrow designs unique chatbots with the aid of artificial intelligence to help small scale restaurants grow. It personalizes and automates customer service to another level, and  expands a restaurant’s reach to a greater scale through a messaging platform.

Social Enterprise

  1. Beta Energy - Holly Sutich and Bradley Hagan

    BETA Energy has developed a healthier alternative energy drink, using a revolutionary, fair trade, organic ingredient to provide sustainable energy, with double the antioxidants of green tea, as well as many other health benefits. We aim to revolutionize the way New Zealanders consume energy drinks and the way they think about their health, while working towards the environmental mission of clean energy leading to clean waterways in New Zealand.

  2. Twenty Eight - Dayna Jackson, Aston Wainhouse, Mohini Manu and Shevonee Muthiah

    “Twenty Eight offers women the opportunity to buy comfort items as part of a monthly subscription. Proceeds go towards supplying feminine sanitary items to underprivileged women in New Zealand.”

  3. Little Big Construction - Michael Lough and Daniel Lough

    Tiny home construction business that provides cheaper homes.

Please await the email about the next steps for the finalists about the ‘Accelerator program’. We are also working on collating all the feedback for the teams that did not make it through so you can improve your ideas.

The judges

We had 12 judges from all 4 different categories for a judging day on 9 October for a full day of discussion and deliberation over the 12 finalists. Thank you again to all our wonderful judges for their time and valuable feedback.

Oliver McDermott - Blender Design
Adriana Christie - Pallet Kingdom
Lyle Reilly - AUT

Ulrich Frerk - Adroit.
Robert Bruce - AUT
Lauren Peate - Ally Skills

Shane Ohlin - Paymark
Sarah Trotman - AUT
Brough johnson - Narrative Muse

Lizzie Gray - Betterment Global
Pete Russell - Ooooby
Brittany Teei - Kidscoin

Last updated: 26-Oct-2017 12.16pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.