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Mobius Microsystems: A Case Study In The Commercialization Of Graduate Research In Electrical Engineering

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

The Challenges of Tech Transfer

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1074.1 - 12.1074.11



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Paper Authors

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Michael McCorquodale Mobius Microsystems, Inc.

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Richard Brown University of Utah

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Mobius Microsystems: A Case Study in the Commercialization of Graduate Research in Electrical Engineering

Abstract Mobius Microsystems is a fabless and intellectual property (IP) semiconductor company founded by a graduate student (McCorquodale) and his faculty advisor (Brown) and based upon the disser- tation research conducted by the student. The company is presented by the founding researchers as a case study in the commercialization of graduate research in electrical engineering. While a previous paper by the authors [1] has discussed the internal resources required at the research institution to facilitate commercialization, this paper focuses on the specific experiences associ- ated with “spinning out” the venture including establishing the venture, financing it, bringing the developed technology to market by securing customers, and securing follow-on financing. It will be shown that two of the most critical components for success include the ability to recruit experi- enced entrepreneurs with relevant domain expertise and accessibility to capital. Most ventures originating from a research institution require some form of seed stage financing, followed by an institutional financing round. Without the former it is difficult to secure the latter, while with only the former it is difficult to establish infrastructure, recruit employees, and built perceived credibil- ity in order to secure customers. Such dynamics put specific regions of the country at a significant advantage in attracting new technology-based ventures, as they are able to provide adequate access to both capital and talent. Despite regional challenges, Mobius Microsystems succeeded in securing seed stage capital along with its first few customers prior to closing an institutional equity round of financing. Many challenges including under-capitalization of the company at its outset, difficulty recruiting, understaffing for initial customer engagements, and difficulty fund- raising were overcome before this success was realized. Through experience, this paper describes the “facts on the ground” associated with commercialization of university research in engineering. It closes with recommendations for educators in terms of curriculum development and for politi- cal leaders in terms of economic legislation.

McCorquodale, M., & Brown, R. (2007, June), Mobius Microsystems: A Case Study In The Commercialization Of Graduate Research In Electrical Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1897

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