Rebel Bios: 50% death rate was too much for me

How a Turkish girl started a MedTech company from scratch

RebelBio
RebelBio
Nov 18, 2019 · 5 min read

“When I was 12 I went to my father and asked if I could go to music school. He dismissed it as the height of folly me and goaded me to pursue a “more serious” profession. I followed his wishes but I still filled my life with music, I learned to play baglama and singed at choirs. At university, I played guitar and bass but there wasn’t enough time to keep it up.”

Asiye karakullukçu in the RebelBio’s HQ in London

When I started my master’s in medical microbiology, I realized what could be achieved with research. Then everything changed on starting my PhD. I saw the people suffering in the hospital, my drive and passion focused because I wanted to help those people. I had been acting like a student, but after that, my eyes were opened and I realized that — you can do anything you want. People usually don’t like hospitals but I wanted to be there and I worked as a clinical microbiologist at that medical school in Turkey alongside my studies for 8 years.

Realizing the Awful Reason for 50% of Deaths on Intensive Care Units

The Moment I Realised I had a Start-up

After that, I needed money for my company so I approached another university in Istanbul with an offer; that if they gave me permission to work at my company AKsense, I would start working for their university. They accepted and I started to work 4 hours lecturing a week to nursing students and spent the rest of the time on the company. I didn’t have to fly every week between different provinces and could devote more time to AKsense.

The things written in the textbooks can be changed, indeed, they are being changed.

It’s a bit of a catch 22. We have to focus on one thing to become successful, and working at university takes time. But until you receive enough funding working with universities while growing the startup is required to progress.

What drives you to succeed?

I’m caring — I like helping sick people which is the drive behind my startup. I’ve since learnt I like being an entrepreneur and spent time learning lots of things from fields such as accounting, hiring, firing, laws, etc.

I was an introvert, but during my entrepreneur journey, I have evolved, as success can be assisted by harnessing a more extroverted character. Dealing with negotiations and communication across the board has led me away from my previous shy character.

Aksense has developed a portable device that analyses patient blood and determines the infection within minutes. This allows for diagnosis at the very earliest point of infection where intervention is most effective.

Turkey — both detrimental and inspirational for work

Aksense joined the RebelBio portfolio in our VIII program. Check out who the other nine were.


By Susannah Williams

You have the science, but not yet the business case? — Let’s talk!

SOSV: Inspiration from Acceleration

Insights from The Accelerator VC—including our programs (HAX, IndieBio, Chinaccelerator, MOX, Food-X, dlab) & our startups.

RebelBio

Written by

RebelBio

RebelBio is a pre-seed VC brand of SOSV that accelerated 78 biotech startups. It has since merged with SOSV’s IndieBio brand & is now based in NYC.

SOSV: Inspiration from Acceleration

Insights from The Accelerator VC—including our programs (HAX, IndieBio, Chinaccelerator, MOX, Food-X, dlab) & our startups.

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