Eight Kiwi businesses have been selected by Spark as finalists in its inaugural 5G starter fund and are in the running to share $625,000 worth of prizes.
Selected from more than 200 entries from around the country, the finalists (in alphabetical order) are ARCubed (Hamilton), Beyond VR (Wellington), Objective Acuity (Auckland), oDocs Eye Care (Dunedin), OPUM Technologies (Auckland), Loop HQ (Auckland), Relay (Auckland) and Rocos (Auckland).
The eight offer innovative, 5G enabled solutions spanning four fund categories: next generation health, good for New Zealand, industry disruptors and immersive experiences
While Spark said details would be "closely guarded" until the four winners were announced next month, each of the use cases could fundamentally change the way Kiwis live, work, learn and play.
Spark’s technology evolution lead Renee Mateparae said Spark’s 5G starter fund was a significant investment to support the country’s 5G pioneers.
“We are committed to supporting Kiwi businesses through funding, mentoring and providing access to 5G experts, as they bring their 5G solutions to life to solve real customer problems, create new business models and revolutionise industries,” Mateparae said.
“These are some of the first locally conceived ideas that demonstrate how 5G technology can be applied to have a positive impact on the lives of Kiwis."
The finalists now have just over a month to convince a judging panel of local and international industry experts why their idea should be selected.
The four winners will be announced on 28 October, with the first-place winner receiving $250,000, and three second place recipients $125,000 each.
“The aim of the Spark 5G Starter Fund is to advance early-stage ideas or prototypes to demonstrable minimal viable products (MVPs) by the end of the programme," said Mateparae.
The four winners will also have access to the Spark 5G co-lab and benefit from 5G tech support and business mentoring over four months from November to next March as the develop their MVPs.