Wine innovation takes out this year’s Spark challenge

October 23, 2014

Wine Grenade has beaten a new search engine, a youth driving app and a medical advance for unborn babies to take out this year’s Spark $100k Challenge at the University of Auckland’s Business School.

Wine Grenade is a simple and cost effective tool to help small and medium sized winemakers produce higher quality reds through micro oxygenation. The concept has been developed by a group commerce students, who will now receive $25,000 in seed capital and six months’ icehouse incubation.

According to Spark CEO, Alina Varoy, this year’s entries provided the toughest competition since Spark began in 2003.

“We had 63 entrants and 13 finalists that brought together undergraduates, postgraduates and staff across a range of faculties,” said Ms Varoy.

“Over recent months, the finalists have received extensive training and mentoring from entrepreneurs, investors, business people and experts in their field.”

Second place went to the Future Insights team, who developed a search engine which explains 80% of data in one click; and third place to Back Pocket Driver for an app that tracks youth driving and encourages improved behaviour.

The UniServices Research Commercialisation Prize went to BabyAware for a method of monitoring foetal brain activity to identify injury to the brain before or during birth.

According to Robert Spano, Chief Executive Officer at Alleasing, the entrepreneurial spirit that was displayed by all participants and mentors highlights the reason why Alleasing signed on to sponsor this program.

“Spark is an exceptional initiative, which supports and inspires entrepreneurs across a diverse range of disciplines, including business, engineering, medicine, science, law and the arts,” said Mr Spano.

“The Spark Challenge has been an invaluable experience for everyone that participated, particularly the finalists and winners of various prizes who have gained access to outside experts to further their projects.

“We are delighted to be playing a role in helping to create the next generation of entrepreneurs.”


Alleasing is pleased to sponsor Spark, an entrepreneurial-development program and business planning competition run by The University of Auckland’s Business School.

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