Transducers 2009 - Denver, Colorado, USA
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Short Courses


Micro Energy

Optical MEMS

Integrated Biosensors


Title: Commercialization of MEMS: In Search of the Tornado
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Overview of Janusz Bryzek's and Kurt Petersen's lectures:

There are two phases in technology commercialization (per late Bob Sulouff from Analog Devices)
  • Phase 1: use money to develop technology.
  • Phase 2: use technology to make money.
While it is reasonably easy to reach the first phase, it is dramatically more difficult to get to Phase 2. Typical cycle time from demonstration of a new product based on an emerging technology to volume production is about 20 years. Profitability comes a long time (many years) afterwards. MEMS devices, such as pressure, acceleration and rate sensors, ink jet printing heads, displays or RF filters followed this cycle. There is a large group of new MEMS devices entering the market and they are likely to follow the same cycle, unless a new strategy is adopted.

Over the years, multiple studies on startups yielded a significant body of knowledge aimed at the acceleration of the commercialization cycle. Selected strategies accelerating the commercialization path and probability of success will be presented in this course, including:
  • US Venture Capital industry model, credited with 15% of US innovation, while representing only 3% of R&D funding. Guidelines for developing a Business Plan will be included.
  • Overview of five phases of Company evolution and related need for changing founders' role and Company's organizational structure.
  • Unique requirements to manage disruptive innovation, often enabled by MEMS technology. Such innovation has an appeal to certain customers, but due to lack of appeal to mainstream buyers, often goes through a period of evaporating sales (Chasm). With the right strategy to cross the Chasm, company may enter the Tornado, an avalanche of sales growth.
  • Statistically validated factors helping to reach the elite club: a Billion Dollar sales level. Every year tens of global companies join this club. Selected strategies leading to this club need to be implemented up-front.
  • How to configure a product: many MEMS products are simple components destined to reach the mass consumer markets (1B units/year). How can these products be configured to avoid the trap of the $0.15 ASP (Average Selling Price) component?
  • How can government dollars be used to seed a company and to develop a real product?
  • MEMS market segments forecast, helping to select high growth areas.
  • Evolution of MEMS foundry landscape (Fab-based, Fab-lite or Fab-less), including the emergence of the first market-driven force towards MEMS process standardization.
  • Learning from the Scars: case studies from pioneering MEMS startup companies in Silicon Valley. Instructors started ten companies (one jointly) and will present examples what worked, what didn't work and why.
  • Dr. Janusz Bryzek cofounded Sensym (now Honeywell), ICSensors (now Elmos and MSI), NovaSensor (now GE), Intelligent MicroSensor Technology (now Maxim), Transparent Networks (IP acquired by Intel), LV Sensors (private) and BN Ventures (private).
  • Dr. Kurt Petersen cofounded Transensory Devices (now Elmos and MSI), NovaSensor (now GE), Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD) and SiTime (private).
Course attendees will be provided an option for a free one hour consultation with the instructor.

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