Get to know the founding team: CEO and Co-Founder Siew Joo Beh
HatiSens turns one on the 18th of June! That is a big milestone for us! We would like to thank everyone who mentored and supported us on our journey this far, we are so proud of how far we have come, even in the midst of pandemic. We want to share the story of each of the founding member every month and we kick this off with Siew’s story.
Meet HatiSens’ founding team – Siew! Siew is the CEO and co-founder of HatiSens. She manages the day-to-day activities at HatiSens and is also working on the R&D of the technology behind the scene! She is currently completing her PhD candidature at InPAC where her area of research focuses on developing a point-of-care device that can accurately and rapidly diagnose heart attacks, using an integrated sensing platform created at the InPAC lab.
When she is not in the lab, she enjoys playing video games and freelancing as a digital illustrator. She also dabs a little in cooking though she has assured the team that her baking is not her specialty (she won’t be making HatiSens’ anniversary cake).
- How did HatiSens come about?
HatiSens’ core technology comes from my research at InPAC and during the height of the pandemic where I was unable to enter the lab. I wanted to hone on my communication skills and was given the opportunity to pitch to different groups of people. I eventually made my way into the Medtech Origin competition. I only managed to make it to semi-final round but the organisers reached out to us to apply for Medtech Actuator and voila, HatiSens was born! I took a year off my PhD to explore the startup world and spent 6 months in the intense program to learn all I could on how to run a startup.
- What has been the biggest challenge so far as the CEO of HatiSens?
Definitely trying to lead a team of amazing researchers while trying to unpack the idea of translating my research into an actual commercial product! I underestimated the challenge of wearing many hats and I certainly felt that much more when I restarted my PhD recently. I am currently juggling my PhD research, the R&D of HatiSens’ first MVP, all while continuing my work as the CEO and face of HatiSens. I did not expect myself to get this far and I am very proud of what we have achieved so far as a team!
- What does ‘HatiSens’ actually mean?
‘Hati’ means ‘Heart’ in Malay language. ‘Sens’ is just an acronym for ‘Sensing’ both in English and Malay. The idea behind this name was suggested by Arnan himself during a team brainstorm session meeting with Cesar. I am born and raised in Malaysia and migrated to Australia in 2006 to further my education. I like to keep a little piece of my culture with me so I will never forget the roots I came from.
- How do you measure your progress from when you first started?
I think every day knowing that HatiSens is still around, is already a success for us. We have been told that new startups have a very high chance of failing and we want to push through that and succeed.
We set a milestone and goal for everything we do – from IP development and regulatory strategy to things like maintaining social media presence. I personally take a step back every month to reflect back on what worked and what didn’t, and ask myself – what can I do better moving forward? We also reflect on this together as a team in our regular team meetings to ensure we get as much perspective as possible.
- What was your career pathway before this?
I received my Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne in 2008 and an Honours degree in Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science from Monash University in 2009 and have since worked in different labs in various research areas all over Victoria. I also spent a few years in Malaysia working in the biggest General Hospital where I worked in an endocrinology department and helped a surgeon established ‘Silent Mentor’ program. It is an altruistic program that promotes body donation for betterment and benefit of medical education, training and research.
I did not really know where my education would take me but I always imagine myself to be more creative than logical. I met a mentor through The Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) program in 2019, Dr Martin Elhay when I first started my PhD and he encouraged me to go down the path of science communication. That was when I wanted to learn to pitch better and that is how it led me down the path of founding HatiSens with the team at InPAC.
- Last question – what would your career pathway look like if you had not done a PhD which eventually led you to founding HatiSens?
I imagine I would open a coffee shop somewhere in the world with lofi music playing 24/7 in the background. And I would still be creating content online – either through gaming or art!