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Daniel Xu accepted into Stanford Ignite

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A former Velocity $100k Challenge finalist is the latest University of Auckland graduate to be accepted into the Stanford Ignite programme.

Daniel Xu, the CEO of Spark 64 who completed his PhD in Bioengineering, is travelling to San Francisco in June to spend a month at the Stanford Graduate School of Business programme which helps innovators formulate, develop, and commercialise ideas.

He follows in the footsteps of seven Velocity alumni who have been accepted into Stanford Ignite before him – Jenny Xu, Christian Hirsch, Mark Finch, Logan Wait, Graeme Fielder, Shaun Tan and James Daniell.

“They’ve all been really helpful with the application process, preparing me with what to expect and how to get the most out of my time there,” Daniel says. “Listening to them talk about their experience has made me really excited.”

Daniel entered Velocity in 2013 as a PhD student and went on to create the company Spark 64 along with fellow PhD student Ming Cheuk (CTO) and experienced director Richard McLean (Executive Chair). That year they won the National Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and went on to compete at the world final in Russia.

Their product UVLens is an app that uses UV sensors to teach people about sun safety and plan the best time to be outside. In a partnership with Banana Boat sunscreen, more than 100 UV sensors have been installed in kindergarten playgrounds around New Zealand so teachers know when it’s safe to take children outside and when they need to sue sunscreen.

They have also created tailored products for secondary schools, music festivals such as Rhythm and Vines, and major sporting events such as the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.

“All of my background and training has been in engineering and technology, and at the same time I’ve been trying to develop my business skills, but I’ve been a bit like a blind bat trying to feel my way and figure out how to do things. I haven’t had any formal business training.

“It’s worked quite well so far – we’re learning as we go – but I recognise that at one point we’re not going to be a start-up anymore. There will be stages of the business where we’re looking to scale big, so getting this formal training is going to help me see things form a different angle and give me a big-picture mentality and skillset.

“Our plan is build the next Facebook, Uber or AirBnB in New Zealand.”

Daniel and his team also recently created the “WTF is that” bot, a computer vision bot on Facebook Messenger that tells you what’s in your photos. It’s recently received huge exposure in a review on Wired and other tech blog sites.

“The Stanford course is a project-based course where students try to build out the business model behind an idea. So there’s a good chance I can go in with an idea and work with my classmates to explore and test business models and ideas. I’ll be able to work on things that we can’t necessarily explore at the moment because we haven’t got the resources to do so.”

Where are they now?
Daniel Xu follows in the footsteps of seven Velocity alumni who have been accepted into Stanford Ignite. Each one of them has combined their technical knowledge, business skills and entrepreneurial mindset gained through the Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes to forge a career path.

  • Shaun Tan: Working as Chief Technology Officer at start-up Texus Fibre
  • James Daniell: Finishing his PhD at Lanzatech
  • Jenny Xu: Working at FRAMECAD and her start-up PhotoPURE
  • Christian Hirsch: Working on his start-up Mohio
  • Mark Finch: Working on his start-up I Measure U
  • Logan Wait: Working on his start-up ecoPortal
  • Graeme Fielder: Completed an MBA at Stanford, working at Audentes Therapeutics in San Francisco

 

Daniel Xu accepted into Stanford Ignite
Daniel Xu accepted into Stanford Ignite

social media

A former Velocity $100k Challenge finalist is the latest University of Auckland graduate to be accepted into the Stanford Ignite programme.

Daniel Xu, the CEO of Spark 64 who completed his PhD in Bioengineering, is travelling to San Francisco in June to spend a month at the Stanford Graduate School of Business programme which helps innovators formulate, develop, and commercialise ideas.

He follows in the footsteps of seven Velocity alumni who have been accepted into Stanford Ignite before him – Jenny Xu, Christian Hirsch, Mark Finch, Logan Wait, Graeme Fielder, Shaun Tan and James Daniell.

“They’ve all been really helpful with the application process, preparing me with what to expect and how to get the most out of my time there,” Daniel says. “Listening to them talk about their experience has made me really excited.”

Daniel entered Velocity in 2013 as a PhD student and went on to create the company Spark 64 along with fellow PhD student Ming Cheuk (CTO) and experienced director Richard McLean (Executive Chair). That year they won the National Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and went on to compete at the world final in Russia.

Their product UVLens is an app that uses UV sensors to teach people about sun safety and plan the best time to be outside. In a partnership with Banana Boat sunscreen, more than 100 UV sensors have been installed in kindergarten playgrounds around New Zealand so teachers know when it’s safe to take children outside and when they need to sue sunscreen.

They have also created tailored products for secondary schools, music festivals such as Rhythm and Vines, and major sporting events such as the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.

“All of my background and training has been in engineering and technology, and at the same time I’ve been trying to develop my business skills, but I’ve been a bit like a blind bat trying to feel my way and figure out how to do things. I haven’t had any formal business training.

“It’s worked quite well so far – we’re learning as we go – but I recognise that at one point we’re not going to be a start-up anymore. There will be stages of the business where we’re looking to scale big, so getting this formal training is going to help me see things form a different angle and give me a big-picture mentality and skillset.

“Our plan is build the next Facebook, Uber or AirBnB in New Zealand.”

Daniel and his team also recently created the “WTF is that” bot, a computer vision bot on Facebook Messenger that tells you what’s in your photos. It’s recently received huge exposure in a review on Wired and other tech blog sites.

“The Stanford course is a project-based course where students try to build out the business model behind an idea. So there’s a good chance I can go in with an idea and work with my classmates to explore and test business models and ideas. I’ll be able to work on things that we can’t necessarily explore at the moment because we haven’t got the resources to do so.”

Where are they now?
Daniel Xu follows in the footsteps of seven Velocity alumni who have been accepted into Stanford Ignite. Each one of them has combined their technical knowledge, business skills and entrepreneurial mindset gained through the Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes to forge a career path.

  • Shaun Tan: Working as Chief Technology Officer at start-up Texus Fibre
  • James Daniell: Finishing his PhD at Lanzatech
  • Jenny Xu: Working at FRAMECAD and her start-up PhotoPURE
  • Christian Hirsch: Working on his start-up Mohio
  • Mark Finch: Working on his start-up I Measure U
  • Logan Wait: Working on his start-up ecoPortal
  • Graeme Fielder: Completed an MBA at Stanford, working at Audentes Therapeutics in San Francisco

 


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