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FINDING YOUR NICHE IN THE START-UP SPACE

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

William Lin began his studies with, as he put it, “No idea of a career”. Rather, he was guided by his curiosity in life sciences which has led him through the Bioscience Enterprise programme at the University of Auckland and now to The Insides Company, a developer of gastrointestinal medical devices for intestinal failure and rehabilitation. 



“Even when I was quite young, I had a big passion for biology. I began with the curiosity behind how things work – and this moved to the physiological level at university.  

How did he translate these interests into a career? 


“I finished my Bachelor of Science in physiology and that exposed me to the option of different pathways. I looked at what my classmates were doing – masters, post-docs in very specific fields – but no one path dominated.” 


Around this time, a new degree was being taught in the USA. BioScience Enterprise was aimed at science graduates interested in the commercial aspects of biosciences, from IP through to commercialisation.  


“The commercialisation of technology appealed to me most of all because of the options it offered and I was introduced to UniServices, the University of Auckland’s commercialisation arm. The Bioscience Enterprise programme consisted of a PGDip and Masters, which required an internship in a company involved in the biotech and medical science space,” says Lin. 


Lin became a double intern at UniServices and the CMDT & MedTech Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE) to his learning. 


“This was hugely valuable – I could see the journey which medtech ideas transitioned from infancy to commercialisation to the establishment as early-stage companies, giving me a valuable perspective on how technology is brought to life.” 


Lin says his masters clarified his career directions – the medtech start-up space. “In bigger companies, you can have your role of choice, but you only develop skills and experience in that particular role. That didn’t appeal at all. I wanted broader experience.” 


Lin’s thinking was further refined through his work on the first New Zealand HealthTech Report. “That really reinforced that I wanted the medtech start-up space where you are involved in all aspects of the business, within a close-knit organization. 


Lin’s working life began at The Insides Company, formerly known as Surgical Design Studio, which we’ve featured in previous editions of MedTech Bites. The Insides Company rebranded in 2019 and their award-winning flagship product is The Insides™ System.  


Under the standard care pathway, patients who have had colorectal surgery often have an enterostomy created to divert intestinal contents (chyme) away from the surgical site as it heals. Some patients suffer from high-output losses of chyme which may result in intestinal failure. The Insides System is a chyme reinfusion solution, helping patients to restart oral feeding and reduce their length of stay in the hospital. 


Lin is now Sales Manager for New Zealand Oceania, and recently spent time in the UK working with an Insides colleague. 


“I had three months in the UK to support a novel product, with the goal of expanding the market and building awareness. While New Zealand as our home market will always be one of the most important territories for us, it was a valuable experience to see how things operated in a big market like the UK”. 


What’s next on the agenda? Lin says they’re all about growth. “We’re looking to scale up for other countries and change the way patients can access care. With a small company, you can see the immediate impact and benefit for the patient.” 

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