Alumni Q&A: Ling, co-founder of Grip Fertility
My time at Wise taught me the importance of having a clear mission and values. I was empowered and trusted to make my own decisions, as everyone was working towards the same goal. A clear mission was important when kick-starting our own business, Grip Fertility, and it’s helped to guide us throughout the journey.
Current role: co-founder of Grip Fertility
When did you work at Wise and how long were you here?
I joined in 2017 and worked at Wise for almost three years.
Why did you join Wise?
When living abroad, I’d used Wise myself. I knew it was a company growing really fast, and I wanted to be part of that. During the interview process, every person I chatted to felt like someone I would enjoy working with. On top of that, the concept of autonomous teams appealed to me.
In a nutshell, what did you do at Wise?
As a Product Manager, I helped to make our product better for 15+ countries in Asia. Day-to-day this meant checking in with the team, making sure everything was up and running correctly, identifying pain-points in the product and fixing them. We were also launching new products and features in our different markets.
Initially, I was looking after two countries. But as we developed and expanded the teams, I was looking after the whole of Asia and helped other Product Analysts and Product Managers develop. My role grew with the company in that way.
What does your business do?
Grip Fertility gives women access to information about their body, hormones, and fertility, through a simple finger prick blood test that you can take from home. We can’t guarantee that you’ll get pregnant, no doctors can, but we can exclude the most common causes of infertility. The exact same test that a fertility doctor would run in a clinic, but without trying for 12 months first
How has it been going so far?
It’s been going fairly well, 10% week on week growth, we received angel investment and will be raising seed funding towards the end of this year. I’ve definitely learned that starting a business is hard and it’s good to have a co-founder. We push each other through challenges and celebrate wins together.
Did Wise play any part in your journey to kick-starting your own business?
Honestly, I loved my job and Wise, so it was a hard decision for me to leave. But I was getting too comfortable in what I was doing and wanted new challenges to push myself further.
It was inspiring for me to see that quite a few colleagues from Wise started their own business and it encouraged me to do the same rather than pick up another product role. I also learned a lot about working with limited resources and prioritisation, which have been helpful with starting a business from scratch.
What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever done?
I was a janitor in Antarctica for 5 months. I always wanted to go there and knew I’d figure a way somehow. So every year for 5 years, I applied to work for the US Antarctic research centre. I wanted to go so badly, I’d do any job there and got in!
I lived at McMurdo Sound, which is a hub of 1,000 people with 24 hours of sunlight during the summer. I was a janitor, and my job was 6 days a week, 11 hours a day. I bartended during the weekends and was also a radio host, even though there were just 10 listeners! It was so random and fun, I could play whatever music I wanted to and my local friends would call into the station.
Do you have any side hustles?
Aerial fitness. In the yoga classes, you twist and turn in the air on ropes. I also have a dog that’s a total diva and decides what happens in my life!