FaceMe has been crowned winner of BNZ Presents: The Virgin Business Challenge, after being judged best by some of New Zealand’s top entrepreneurial and business minds.
FaceMe has developed a video conference system that is compatible with any device and allows anyone, anywhere to video conference with quality calls. The company will receive $100,000 cash, one-on-one time with Sir Richard Branson, a BNZ business education scholarship, mentoring from BNZ and Virgin executives, and flights around the world courtesy of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.
The award searched for a clever kiwi company which has passion and drive, creativity and innovation, and has demonstrated a desire, as well as the potential, to go global.
BNZ Director Partners and challenge judge, Anthony Healy, says FaceMe exemplifies everything this challenge is about, and says the high calibre of all entries was outstanding and an encouraging sign for New Zealand’s economic future.
“FaceMe demonstrated it has what it takes to go global. It’s safe to say the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in New Zealand, with so many kiwi companies ready to take the next big step.”
Following a rigorous vetting process the top ten finalists today pitched live to a dragon’s den style judging panel. One of the judges, Virgin Head of strategy and corporate development Keith Roberts, says picking a winner was an incredibly difficult decision.
“All of our ten finalists are already success stories, and extremely passionate about their businesses. The judging panel is very happy with our decision, and know that FaceMe will represent New Zealand well on the world stage.
“We set out to find one business that was built around a strong creative original idea, a business that had strong management teams that had demonstrated that they could succeed, and were passionate and proud of what they were doing. Virgin has long looked to New Zealand as a source of talent and ideas so I knew we would unearth some good companies, but have been really very impressed by the depth of talent uncovered.”
BNZ Presents: The Virgin Business Challenge was established in October, with Sir Richard Branson launching this while visiting New Zealand.
More than 260 New Zealand businesses entered the competition, 20% of these coming from the internet and technology industry. The manufacturing, transport, and food and beverage industries also had a strong presence.
The judging panel was made up of Anthony Healy - Director BNZ Partners, Keith Roberts - Head of strategy and corporate development Virgin, Bill Buckley - President BSL Enterprises, Sarah Kennedy - CEO RD1 and Derek Handley - Founder of the Hyperfactory.