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MICL Seminar

Tales of Commercializing Engineering Research and Related Irrational Endeavors

Michael McCorquodaleAdjunct Lecturer, Entrepreneur and Angel InvestorUniversity of Michigan
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Most doctoral students in physical sciences eventually realize the golden rule

of a successful dissertation and defense: it takes only one functioning device to graduate. The

corollary is that the device must function long enough to capture any meaningful data from it.

That can be elusive. In this seminar, the gap from there to commercialization (or as Peter Thiel

calls it: Zero to One) will be discussed including experience commercializing a wide variety of

microelectronic products and systems such as: semiconductor products (IC and MEMS devices),

chemical instrumentation based on a MEMS platform, class III implantable micromachined

medical devices and, even, LED lighting fixtures. What is consistent across these endeavors is

that all are products based on university research and technology transfer. Additionally, these

are the technologies and products the speaker has brought to market as either a founder or

under his leadership as CEO. The other consistent aspect is that each effort was far worse and

more painful than any rational human being (and particularly, investors) could have ever

anticipated. Nonetheless, successes were achieved. At one point, the speaker's first company,

Mobius Microsystems, had managed to move from a handful of prototype devices in the lab to

shipping 10Mu in a month. None of that happened immediately. As Steve Jobs once stated, "if

you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time." Nothing could be truer of the

commercialization of university research. This seminar will be linear only in time, but meander

through the speaker's experience in commercializing research, which is irrational, unpredictable,

but also rewarding. Topics to be covered include the history and current state of entrepreneurship

in university, direct experience with technology transfer in the early 2000's, how the world has

changed in the present (for the better) and then colorful stories about commercializing university

technologies out of Michigan, Utah, and Berkeley. Those interested in commercializing their own

work are encouraged to attend. The faint of heart are discouraged.
Dr. McCorquodale has dedicated his entire career to the commercialization of

university research, including his own. Some efforts have gone very well while others are yet to

be determined. As he recovers from the past 12 years in the Bay Area, Dr. McCorquodale is serving

peacefully as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Michigan this term (aka he's chilling out).

He also currently serves on the board of several technology companies and is an active angel

investor. He most recently served briefly as the CEO of Arborlight, a University of Michigan spinout

and an integrator of LED components, optics, and embedded systems to achieve complex

illumination solutions. There, he led the company's strategy to identify the best market vertical for

the product and secured purchase orders confirming that. Previously, he was the CEO of Cortera Neurotechnologies, a spinout from UC-Berkeley, which

was founded with the vision to build medical devices aimed at revolutionizing the treatment of intractable neurological disorders. Under his tenure,

Cortera successfully commercialized its microelectrocorticography (uECoG) product for the animal market. Dr. McCorquodale was also the Co-Founder

and COO of e-SENS, a University of Utah spinout developing instruments for chemical sensing in potable water using a single-chip micromachined

platform based on IP from the University of Michigan. At e-SENS, he developed the business plan, raised initial capital, established manufacturing

partnerships, recruited the team and delivered functional prototypes. e-SENS has raised equity capital and continues to grow. Prior to e-SENS, Dr.

McCorquodale was the GM of the Silicon Frequency Control Business Unit at Integrated Device Technology (NASDAQ: IDTI) based on the acquisition

of Mobius Microsystems, a semiconductor company he founded. While leading that business unit, he and his team were recognized with a myriad of

industry awards including multiple "Best Product" and "Product of the Year" awards in the U.S. and Europe. Prior to the acquisition by IDT, he was the

founder of Mobius Microsystems, which was launched based on his research at the University of Michigan where he worked on precision semiconductor

devices and MEMS for frequency control for quartz replacement. At Mobius, he worked his fingers to the bone to ensure success and slept in the offices

in Detroit and Sunnyvale most nights. Consistent with that, Dr. McCorquodale has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles and is an inventor on 28

issued US patents and foreign counterparts thereof. Those patents have been licensed via acquisition to (NASDAQ: IDTI and NASDAQ: MCRL).

Dr. McCorquodale earned the B.S.E. degree with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

and the M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan, all in electrical engineering. He received

alumni achievement awards from both institutions and was the sole nationwide AFCEA Fellow in 2002. In

2012, UBM Electronics, publisher of EETimes, honored him with the Innovator of the Year Award, which is

given to one person in the semiconductor industry at large. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Sponsored by

MICL Seminar Series

Faculty Host

Dennis Sylvester