First Cut Challenge

Who will shape the future of New Zealand?
Young brave entrepreneurs who aren't content to wait.
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First Cut Challenge Video
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First Cut enables the success of young founders by supporting them with investment, knowledge and connections. We invest in aspiring entrepreneurs under 30 that are attempting to build iconic and globally impactful companies.

The Challenge is for every young founder no matter what stage of the journey you are at, to present your idea or startup for the opportunity to receive investment of up to $1 million from Icehouse Ventures.

Application process

How to apply for the challenge?


Share Your Idea
The first step is to fill in the First Cut application form. You'll have to answer a couple of questions to let us know a little bit more about your startup.

Entries close: 6th August
Apply Now


Pitch Deck
The next step will be to send us a pitch deck, this will help us get a better understanding your startup and the problem you are trying to solve


Finalists Announced
On the 9th August, we will announce the finalists for the challenge. Which will be followed up with 1:1 catchups with the Icehouse Ventures team.


Winner Announced
On the 13th August, we will announce the winner of the First Cut Challenge. You will then receive all the support needed to prepare you to pitch to investors.

What is First Cut?

First Cut is an initiative formed within Icehouse Ventures in 2015 to enable young entrepreneurs and their startups to thrive. We were, and remain, the only investor in New Zealand who exists solely to back young founders and provide the unique support they seek.

We understand the bravery and challenges of starting a company from an early age, share a close belief of not wanting to follow the norm and have the desire to build something that creates a positive impact to not only New Zealand but the world.

Hear from past FirstCut Startups
Emily Blythe
Craig Piggott
Michael Prendergast
"As a first time entrepreneur, I've valued having a partner like Icehouse Ventures. They hosted me at their Showcase, supported me with FirstCut, led my $700k seed round, and helped me connect with key target customers."
Emily Blythe

Startup Speaker Series

Throughout the challenge we will be running a number of events around the country, including the Startup Speaker Series. The Startup Speaker Series showcases ambitious young entrepreneurs who are disrupting the way we experience the world and even space...

The panel of startup founders will share learnings from their entrepreneurial journeys, while the Icehouse Ventures team will be around to demonstrate what funding and mentorship opportunities are available to help you launch your business ideas.

Further info and to register please click on the button below.

Startup Speaker Series

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