Your AI Experts


Who we are

Passion, dedication,
and a lot of fun

Spark 64 was founded in 2013 by PhDs Daniel Xu and Ming Cheuk, together with ICT veteran Richard McLean. The team formed after winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup with an idea to prevent skin cancer using a wearable UV sensor and a mobile app. The team has helped transform several businesses using AI, including projects using chatbots, computer vision and machine learning.

“We noticed they had to manually scan and check thousands of labels every month.
The client couldn’t thank us enough after we automated that to the press of a button”

AI specialists


Daniel Xu, PhD

Dan completed a PhD in wearable sensors where he was Chief Evangelist for StretchSense developing cutting edge IoT technology. He holds multiple licensed patents and is a graduate of the Stanford Ignite programme. Dan is a KiwiNet Emerging Innovator finalist and winner of the AMP scholarship for people ‘doing their thing’. Dan also chairs the Return on Science Digital Tech investment committee, is a judge of the KiwiNet commercialisation awards and is a board advisor to the $106M Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI), National Science Challenge.

Ming Cheuk, PhD

As Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, Ming lives and breathes AI. He is a certified Google Cloud Architect and graduated top of his class in Mechatronics Engineering before going on to complete a PhD working on instrumentation for studying live heart muscle tissue. His passion in software stemmed from his work in the Microsoft Student Accelerator program, where he helped develop the curriculum and train over 1500 tertiary students in the latest software technologies. He was also invited to the Microsoft Student Partner world summit, judge the Imagine Cup competition and has given talks at several conferences.

Richard McLean

Exec Chairman
Richard is an experienced Chair and he values good Governance. He is a specialist and occasional investor in the development of Global businesses that are based on strong IP. He has built businesses from scratch and has a passion for NZ companies that can grow fast and create value for shareholders, investors and the wider community. Richard’s experience lies mainly in the tech sector and his Governance work exposes him to other sectors, all of which are being impacted by technology and shifting patterns in business models.

AI Architects and Engineers


Niclas Von Ahsen

AI Engineer

Aorangi Smith-Iri

AI Engineer

George Qiao

AI Engineer

backed by the best


Geoff Whitcher (ONZM)


Geoff worked in the major corporate environment for 35 years, initially for Unilever in NZ and London and then for Fletcher Challenge in operations where he established the Placemakers chain and subsequently moved into international financial markets which included 3 years in New York. On retirement he was invited to join the University of Auckland and has spent nearly 20 years contributing to the transformation of the NZ economy by helping pioneer and develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem including start-up companies in both the University and the Auckland region.

Nick Paul


Nick is an accomplished senior leader professional with many years of achievement and demonstrated success driving sales growth in highly competitive technology related markets. With a background in Electronics, IT and Telco sectors he has held several executive or director level roles running complex sales operations over his career. Nick recently established Nudge Partners, an Auckland based on-demand executive talent practice, which has gone on to help numerous businesses deliver outstanding growth. Nick has a passion for helping Kiwi businesses prosper and and brings this desire to help this vital part of the Kiwi economy into Spark 64.

John O’toole (FCIM)


John has a long history overseeing many of New Zealand’s most popular brands and branded businesses. With a background in “Fast Moving Consumer Package Goods” John has held several CEO roles along with, multiple board roles and “Chief Marketing Officer Roles. John has traded under Brandbiz to meet the need for high level brand oversight and virtual brand and digital marketing teams in businesses of all sizes. John frequently says that “compelling brand promises and the organisational capabilities to meet them, precede all sustained business growth”. Joining Nudge Partners fits with John’s Passion for helping New Zealand Businesses succeed on the global stage and world class offline and online marketing is an essential part of that.

Ben Liu, PhD


Ben is an expert in financial markets law and the law of artificial intelligence. His research papers have appeared in both local and international peer-reviewed journals. Previously he worked at international law firms and a leading European bank, specialising in financial derivatives and structured products. He is admitted to practise in New Zealand, England and Wales.

Matt Veal


Matt is an experienced Finance Executive having held positions including CFO, Head of Risk and Finance and Financial Controller for organisations of varying sizes and nature, covering a number of industries, most notably insurance (Southern Cross and Fidelity Life). Matt is a Chartered Accountant, and initially worked in Audit for PWC. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Glendowie College.

Andrew Chen, PhD

AI Advisor

Andrew is a technical expert across the computing spectrum, from reconfigurable hardware to artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. He finished a PhD in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Auckland in 2019, focusing on computer vision for person tracking applications, as well as using technology to help protect privacy. Andrew is now a Venture Associate with the Matū Fund, and a Research Fellow with the Center for Science in Policy, Diplomacy, and Society. He also sits on the Auckland Momentum and Digital Technologies investment committees for Return On Science, which help identify and commercialise innovation, entrepreneurial ideas.