Meet Shanna – Project Officer

Project Officer Shanna Lam works with the MedTech Actuator team to organise and provide project management support for the MedTech Actuator programs, including the flagship 12-month MedTech Actuator Accelerator, the idea-stage innovation competition Origin, Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship and its community across Australia and the Asia-Pacific. 

As a recent graduate from the University of Melbourne with a Master of Biomedical Engineering, Shanna brings project management skills along with STEM knowledge to the role. During her final year at the university, Shanna undertook Biodesign Innovation as a capstone subject, which introduced her to the world of MedTech innovation. During the unit, Shanna and her Team – Venosense – applied the interdisciplinary concepts to design an innovative medical device. 

Her team’s project was focused on transforming peripheral intravenous visualisation through the use of a 3D imaging system that would help improve the accuracy of cannulation procedures. Cannulation is one of the most widely performed invasive procedures in medicine, and their invention had the potential to make a significant difference to the patient experience and quality of healthcare. This experience inspired her to get involved in the startup community. 

“I love learning new things and being challenged, so I’m very excited to join Medtech Actuator”, says Shanna. 

The opportunity to help MedTech Actuator programs run as smoothly as possible to help new founders make an impact with their innovative technologies is what drives her. 

Shanna is inspired by how much Medtech Actuator has already achieved in just a few years, and is now looking forward to more accomplishments in the future.

“I can’t wait to work with all the new startups making a difference in Medtech”.

Outside of work, Shanna likes to travel, play board games, and sew. 

Meet our team

More on how the MedTech Actuator team is supporting Asia Pacific’s next wave of health innovators – meet: 

Meet Matt – Commercial & Partnership Director

Commercial and Partnership Director Matt Frith works with the MedTech Actuator team to develop and drive the execution of strategies to ensure the long term growth of the MedTech Actuator, and its programs such as MedTech Actuator Accelerator, Origin, Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship, and its ecosystem across Australia and the Asia-Pacific. This includes engaging with and supporting startup founders and developing and managing strategic relationships with key partners and stakeholders across public policy, health, and innovation ecosystems.

With an Executive MBA with Distinction from RMIT University, Matt is a successful and impact-driven senior leader with over 15 years of industry and innovation ecosystem experience leading and delivering complex commercial projects and partnerships to drive business and profit growth and social impact. His partnerships experience spans senior Sales & Marketing and Commercial roles in global manufacturing businesses with responsibility for managing teams, annual revenue budgets ranging from $40-$80 million, and strategic relationships with key partners across Australia, NZ and Asia.

Creating impact through innovation 

Matt has built programs to support, and collaborated with inventors, researchers, and technical R&D experts to successfully commercialise and translate new innovations. He worked within RMIT’s Activator team to establish and implement the inaugural startup and innovation programs. And for the last 4 years, he has supported The University of Queensland with the commercial development and launch of evidence-based digital health intervention, BeUpstanding, which is being used by thousands of employees to improve their health at work. 

With a passion for generating impact through innovation, Matt founded kin8 and over the last 7 years has delivered innovation commercialisation and change management projects for a network of diverse clients including RMIT University, The University of Queensland, JLL, Haworth, TALi Health, Fire Protection Association, Whitehorse City Council, LaunchVic, Defence Innovation Hub, The Victorian Government, and the Shared Value Project. 

“I’m looking forward to building on the solid foundation of existing relationships, networks, and diverse MedTech Actuator partners, and developing new collaborations that create mutual value”, says Matt.

Matt is super excited with the momentum and the ambitious growth plans that are in motion to further scale MedTech Actuator in the Asia Pacific region. With this, he can support an even greater number of founders to successfully commercialise innovative new technologies that will change the face of healthcare. He is passionate about the MedTech, HealthTech, and BioTech innovations leading to more personalised health care and a future where we can better understand, prevent, and treat mental health conditions.

“I’m driven to rapidly expand MedTech Actuator’s impact even further, and I’m inspired by founders that have the courage to take on the challenge of developing an innovative MedTech, HealthTech or BioTech startup.”



Meet our team

More on how the MedTech Actuator team is supporting Asia Pacific’s next wave of health innovators – meet: 

Meet Makenzie – Program and Community Coordinator

MedTech Actuator Program and Community Coordinator Makenzie Thomas brings her passion for entrepreneurship, startup ecosystems and supporting founders to delivering MedTech Actuator Origin, and the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship programs.

Makenzie’s international experience spans Europe, Australia, and Canada – working in project management, marketing, business innovation, academic research, and creative and cultural entrepreneurship.

MedTech Actuator Showcase 2021.
Makenzie with Maria Pelipas – MedTech Actuator, Emily Casey – What The Health and Bonnie Zhang – TRAM, University of Melbourne at the MedTech Actuator Showcase 2021.

Makenzie draws on this international experience to deliver MedTech Actuator Origin – an idea pitch competition – and the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship programs – supporting researchers alongside the Menzies Foundation to transform their impact.

“My role covers everything from rolling out application campaigns to participant experience, to program delivery. I also look after our community and its activities,” says Makenzie.

“From one day to the next I could be writing communications, drafting social media visuals, developing program strategy, jumping into workshops, providing pitch feedback to founders, working with our network of inspiring speakers – it is quite a mixed bag!”

Cheering on founders

Working with founders is a real highlight for Makenzie in her role.

“They’ve got such a unique energy that becomes the foundation upon which they build their startups.

One thing I love about my role is that we’re right there with them, celebrating the small wins, cheering them on as they pitch (over and over) and guiding them in the right direction.

It takes so much to go from idea to successful startup and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

The ecosystem, accelerator programs, like MedTech Actuator, and their own personal networks are essential to success.

Being a part of this world and being able to have an impact across a number of founder journeys is my why. It’s the reason I’m here at MedTech Actuator.”

On the horizon

Makenzie says that there’s a lot happening in the MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech space, especially in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region.

“I’m entering this corner of the entrepreneurship world with fresh eyes and I know that the ecosystem is growing and seeing some big wins. I’m really excited to learn from MedTech Actuator, the innovation ecosystem and the amazing founders coming through our programs.

The ecosystem is channeling a lot of this energy into supporting and nurturing female founders as well. The State of Australian Startup Funding 2021 report published by Cut Through Ventures and Folklore noted that from 2020 to 2021, funding events involving at least one female founder rose by 1%, leaving a whopping 81% of deals for all-male founding teams.

It’s disappointing, to say the least, but it is a huge challenge facing the whole industry and it stems from a number of systemic issues. Considering that MedTech Actuator supports and works closely with so many inspiring female founders, we’ll be doing more to amplify these stories, share the wins, demand space for women at the table, and open our calendars to early-stage female founders, researchers, and clinicians so that these numbers can continue to shift in the right direction.”

Meet our team

Get to know how others in the MedTech Actuator team are supporting Asia Pacific’s next wave of health innovators: