Viclink’s new GM, Commercialisation

Published Mar 29, 2019

He grew up in a family of entrepreneurs so it’s no real surprise that Hamish Findlay—Viclink’s new General Manager, Commercialisation—is passionate about transitioning great ideas into marketable products or services. 

Hamish is responsible for managing Viclink’s Intellectual Property (IP) Commercialisation Team—consisting of commercialisation managers and other specialists required for successful commercialisation—as they work alongside Victoria University of Wellington’s researchers to bring research with commercial potential out into the market where it can have the most benefit. 

By leading and supporting the team at an operational level, Hamish says his appointment will free up Dr Anne Barnett—Viclink’s Chief Executive Officer—to work ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ the business. “We’ve got some really exciting projects coming up that require a high level of strategic input, so Anne will be able to focus on these aspects rather than the day-to-day running of the business.” 

He says he is excited about the calibre of both the commercialisation team and the University’s researchers. “The nature and scale of the technologies being commercialised here is amazing; we’ve got a really healthy pipeline of ideas.” 

With Viclink growing so rapidly, Hamish says that part of his job will be to put more processes in place that will enable the team to cope with both current and future growth. “It’s a good time to take a look at how we can create more efficiencies and build an even more cohesive team.” 

Born in the far North, Hamish completed a double degree in Management and Psychology at Auckland University before taking on a market research role at Roy Morgan Research. When his wife Kirstie signed up to study for a PhD at the University of Otago, they moved to Dunedin and Hamish ended up both working for, and studying with, the same University.

He worked in the Office of the Vice Chancellor (later the Alumni and Development Office) writing policy and planning documents for an alumni development campaign which subsequently raised $50 million. At the same time, he completed a DipGrad in Accounting. 

Next, he worked as a Commercialisation Manager for Otago Innovation before moving to a more senior commercialisation role with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in Wellington. 

In 2014, Hamish joined the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) where he held a number of management roles—most recently, General Manager, Commercial and International. Responsible for a number of operational groups, including one that provided commercialisation services to ESR’s researchers, he says a standout moment for him was the success of the STRmixTM team as they introduced their novel software to hundreds of forensic labs across the world. 

“STRmixTM software enables forensic analysts to interpret DNA evidence that was previously too difficult to analyse,” says Hamish. “The science behind it is so innovative that it won the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2018.” 

Hamish says he was drawn to the role at Viclink because: “I get to focus solely on commercialisation, which is what I enjoy doing the most. I jumped at the chance to work with such a large team based in an incredibly successful research university—and one which has demonstrated such a strong commitment to commercialisation.” 

Contact Hamish by email or call him on +64 4 463 9531.