Our Firm

Microtech Ventures is focused on strategic venture capital, angel investing, and M&A advisory services. Our mission is to accelerate the development of MEMS, sensors, and microtechnologies for the advancement of civilization and creation of market value. Our deep industry knowledge and extensive network, combined with practical hands-on strategy experience, enables us to quickly identify the connections that result in multiple opportunities to maximize ownership value, and ensure successful outcomes.


History

Microtech Ventures was formed in 2017 to fulfill the need for companies in the industry to turn to a knowledgeable entity capable of identifying and orchestrating high value, mutually beneficial deals. Our team has an extensive background and experience in the MEMS, sensors, and microtechnology space, including the founding and operation of MEMS Journal in 2003, now the largest MEMS publication in the world, as well as executive management of sensor and MEMS companies for the past two decades. We also have been hosting industry-leading conferences covering key MEMS, sensors, and microtechnologies topics, including strategic and business discussions.


Technology Focus

Our main areas of interest and expertise are MEMS, sensors, and microtechnologies. Within this focus area, we work with companies of all types, including Fortune 500 companies, IDMs, fabless sensor makers, foundries, and fabrication equipment makers. In terms of industry verticals, our main focuses are automotive and medical.


Team

Our team brings strategic perspective, extensive industry network, as well as MEMS and sensors technology expertise. In addition to our core team, we rely on contributions from our Advisory Board.


Mike Pinelis, PhD – President and CEO


Dr. Mike Pinelis is the President and CEO of Microtech Ventures, a global firm based in Birmingham, Michigan focused on venture capital, merchant banking, and M&A advisory services for MEMS, sensors, and microtechnology companies. Mike is also the President and CEO of MEMS Journal, an independent publication based in Southfield, Michigan that he founded in 2003 and grew to the current 34,800+ subscribers worldwide. Along with MEMS Journal, Mike has also developed a strategy and market research consulting practice focused on MEMS, sensors, and microsystems. He is the chairman and the main organizer of some of the leading industry conferences such as ADAS Sensors, Medical Wearables, MEMS Manufacturing, Automotive LIDAR, and Medical MEMS and Sensors.

Mike is an active angel investor and a limited partner in several venture capital and private equity funds. He is also an advisor and mentor to technology startups, including those participating in the Techstars Mobility accelerator in Detroit. Mike is a member of the Michigan Angel Fund (MAF), the largest angel group in Michigan with over 100 members. Mike is also a member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA).

Mike is an active participant in the MEMS, sensors, and semiconductors industries and has been an advisor or partner with organizations such as SEMI, CVTA, GSA, MSIG, SMTA, IMAPS, SAE, SAA, and IEEE. He has a large social media network with 29,700+ direct connections on LinkedIn.

Prior to MEMS Journal, Mike served as Director of Business Development for ISD Technology Group in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Prior to that, Mike founded and was the CEO of MindCruiser, a company specializing in developing online intellectual property marketplaces that was sold to Akiva Corporation. Mike earned a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, and Master's and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering with a focus in MEMS and microfluidics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.


Mike Forbis, MSME, MBA – Managing Director


Mr. Mike Forbis has consulted directly with, or overseen consulting projects, for approximately 100 technology, industrial and service firms ranging from pre-revenue start-ups to established corporations with $100 million in annual revenues. Engagements have varied, including customer acquisition and market expansion growth strategies; cost reduction and operations improvement plans; and engineering design and build projects. Prior to Microtech Ventures, Mike had an appointment at one of the University of Michigan’s leading technology commercialization programs, assisting a portfolio of approximately 50 small companies with technology development and market expansion projects.

Mike was co-founder, inventor and CEO of a University of Michigan electronics technology spinout where he orchestrated over $400,000 of R&D for large companies, won over $300,000 in grants, and raised approximately $2 million in investment while overseeing operations, product development, manufacturing, and sales. Prior to leading a start-up, Mike managed a Michigan state-funded program developing strategic improvement plans for dozens of mostly small manufacturing firms. Despite substantial risk of bankruptcy, over 98% of clients survived the “Great Recession” and have since thrived, making the program revered as one of the most successful operations.

Mike’s background also includes early stage technology due diligence for angel investors, management of $10-$150 million design and build projects, and being the Certified Principal Engineer of military spacecraft mechanical subsystems at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Mike earned an MBA from Boston University, MSME from Georgia Tech, and BSME from the University of Michigan; he also completed an Aero/Astro Systems Engineering program at Stanford University and earned a Six Sigma Black Belt certification from the University of Michigan.


Paul Pickering – Managing Director


Mr. Paul Pickering joined Microtech Ventures in 2019 as Managing Director. He has worked more than 35 years in semiconductor and micro-fabrication technology companies and has served in a variety of executive roles in both private and public companies. Prior to joining Microtech Ventures, he was overseeing the Product Marketing and Business Development teams for Micralyne based in Edmonton Alberta, Canada.

Paul served as the Executive VP, Sales and Marketing at Exar Corporation, a public semiconductor company specializing in analog and mixed signal semiconductor devices. Paul also served as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Xpedion Design Systems, a venture backed EDA company that was acquired by Agilent in June 2006. He co-founded two venture backed companies and has consulted with numerous other start-up companies.

Paul is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree and attended Widener University in Chester Pennsylvania. He is a recognized speaker at technology conferences and trade events in the semiconductor and MEMS industries.


Stephen Whalley – Managing Director


Mr. Stephen Whalley has 30+ years of experience in the semiconductor, MEMS, and sensors industries in various design, applications, ecosystem creation, marketing, and strategy management roles.He has a strong strategy and business acumen, as well as the ability to drive complex cross-industry initiatives and collaborative industry ecosystem building.

Steve’s career includes more than 25 years with Intel Corporation in pan European and US functions, where he directed multiple product and technology development programs. He has led and served on multiple industry association and advisory boards in the semiconductor, MEMS, and sensors arenas impacting numerous successful technology developments such as USB, PCI, and others.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, graduating with Honors from the University of Salford, England. He also received a Master’s Degree in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management at Arizona State University (“Thunderbird”) in Phoenix, Arizona.

In addition to his main work at Microtech Ventures, Steve is also currently a strategic consultant to SEMI’s MEMS and Sensors Industry Group (MSIG).


Jessica Ingram – Senior Events Manager


Ms. Jessica Ingram joined the MEMS Journal team in 2012 and has successfully organized more than 15 international conferences and workshops such as ADAS Sensors, Medical Wearables, MEMS Manufacturing, Medical MEMS and Sensors, and Automotive LIDAR. Jessica also developed a digital marketing program to promote our events.

Prior to joining Microtech Ventures and MEMS Journal, Jessica was the Office Manager for Dr. Judith C. Archibald, DDS in Houghton, Michigan. She also worked in the retail world for several years for Mary Kay, Hallmark, and Shopko.

Jessica earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton, Michigan. She donates her free time to her church’s evangelism programs, handbell choir, and Project Linus.


Advisory Board

Ian Campbell – CEO, OnScale

Ian Campbell is a venture-backed Silicon Valley CEO and expert in MEMS sensors, semiconductor technology, and engineering software. Most recently, Ian co-founded OnScale, a venture-backed Cloud computer-aided engineering startup revolutionizing engineering by combining world-class multiphysics solvers with cloud high-performance computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Prior to co-founding OnScale, Campbell served as founder and CEO of NextInput, where he led the startup through multiple rounds of funding -- totaling $12 million and an additional $4 million in research contracts with government and industry partners -- and built a world-class team of engineers and scientists who developed 3D Touch and ForceTouch technologies for smartphones, wearables, industrial, and automotive applications. He also secured the first major smartphone OEM design wins. Campbell earned his BS in mechanical engineering from Middle Tennessee State University, and his MSAE in aerospace engineering and MBA from Georgia Institute of Technology.


John Chong, PhD – Vice President, Product and Business Development, Kionix

Dr. John M. Chong is Vice President of Product and Business Development at Kionix. He also serves as Chairman of the Governing Council of the MEMS and Sensors Industry Group. At Kionix he is responsible for developing product strategy, providing oversight of sales and marketing, and manages Kionix’s software, applications and customer support groups. Previously he was Director of Product Engineering and had also worked to develop the manufacturing test capabilities for Kionix's accelerometer product line as production increased tenfold to 100M units per year. Before joining Kionix in 2006, Dr. Chong worked for Calient Networks, a company focused on using Optical MEMS to support increased bandwidth through the automated management of fiber optic networks. He completed his BS ('93) and his PhD ('99) degrees in Electrical Engineering at Cornell University, where he worked on novel techniques for the design and manufacturing of microfludic MEMS. John holds a number of patents and has spoken at numerous conferences about sensors and their role in the Internet of Things.


Mike Rosa, PhD – Head of Strategic and Technical Marketing, Applied Materials

Dr. Michel (Mike) Rosa is currently Head of Strategic and Technical Marketing within the 200mm Equipment Product Group (EPG) at Applied Materials. His group is responsible for all aspects of product marketing and communications for the EPG, as well as identifying key device level technology inflections and translating those into roadmap requirements for the continued development of semiconductor equipment and processes in support of More-than-Moore (MtM) device technologies. With over 20 years of technology focused product and business development experience, Mike brings to his role significant MEMS domain knowledge and technology commercialization expertise. Prior to joining Applied Materials, Mike held various contributor level and senior leadership positions within the United States and Australia, working for technology focused companies that include Xerox, PARC, Australian Microelectronics Centre (AMC), and National ICT Australia (NICTA). His technical qualifications include B.Eng. (with honors) in microelectronic engineering, a PhD in MEMS design and fabrication, and an MBA with dual majors in marketing and business strategy. Mike has authored over 40 journal and conference publications and holds over 28 U.S. patents concerning various applications of MtM technology.


Robert Stead – Founder and Managing Director, Sense Media Group

Rob Stead has been active in the digital imaging market for over 15 years. After running the Image Sensors conference in London for 9 years, he founded Sense Media Group to curate the AutoSens global community of automotive sensor and signal processing experts and organize world class engineering events. He has in-depth knowledge of image sensors, radar, LIDAR, ultrasonic, and hybrid sensors, as well as data and power transmission, processing hardware and software, including deep learning and AI as they relate to automotive, robotics, medical applications, and beyond. He is passionate about supporting programs for start-ups, STEM education, and women in engineering, and for three years has been the Chair of the IEEE Standards Association P2020 working group developing standards for automotive camera systems. A scientist at heart, Rob has an academic background in Physics with a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham, UK, and is a firm believer in the power of technology to improve and save lives across the world. In addition to organizing and hosting best-in-class events, outside of work, Rob likes to play golf, cycle long distances, walk in the hills, and tinker with his retro cars.


Our Events

Automotive LIDAR

http://www.automotivelidar.com

LIDAR has been in use for over 60 years in military, aerospace, robotics, and meteorological fields. Today it is experiencing a flurry of interest due to the expectation that it will be one of the key sensors to enable autonomous driving. With more than $1.7 billion raised to date, more than 85 companies are developing automotive grade LIDAR sensors using their unique approaches.

This conference is the only event in the world exclusively focused on automotive LIDAR technologies and applications. The conference's sessions describe the various approaches to make a LIDAR system, as well as explain via physics and math the reasons to choose one approach over another. We also discuss the publicly disclosed methods from each of the known developers, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they likely they are to scale in manufacturability and cost. The conference also provides overviews of marketplace projections and business trends. The material presented enables attendees to make well-informed decisions regarding which LIDAR approaches are optimal for solving their challenges and requirements.


Microtech Innovation Summit

http://www.microtechinnovationsummit.com

Microtech Innovation Summit 2019 brings together the greatest minds in the MEMS, sensors, and microtechnology industry. The goal of the event is to showcase and discuss emerging, breakthrough technologies that are going to be enabling the next-generation of high-value products and applications. Attendees include leaders from industry, academia, research institutions, and government agencies.

This one-of-a-kind event provides high-quality touch points, as well as fun, interactive networking opportunities for the next generation of entrepreneurial technologists who are working on commercializing new products to advance society and quality of life. The event will provide a networking platform for leading technology and business minds, and will bring the MEMS, sensors, and microtechnology “brain trust” together.

We invite you to attend this three-day day event which showcase major scientific, technological, and commercial breakthroughs. This event is a leading conference on innovation, and also a highly inspirational gathering with a remarkable level of interaction and personalization.


ADAS Sensors

http://www.adassensors.com

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) require numerous and integrated sensors to accurately determine situational assessment and action implementation. ADAS technologies such as video, radar, LIDAR, ultrasonic and infrared (IR) sensors are being increasingly utilized by the OEMs and Tier1 suppliers.

The ADAS market was estimated at $32 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $60 billion in 2025. What’s driving this market growth and which consumer demands will shape the next developments? What challenges are suppliers facing? What new design, reliability, and packaging requirements need to be considered? How will artificial intelligence be integrated into the sensor processing and fusion systems? These key questions drive the in-depth presentations and discussions at our annual conference.


Medical Wearables

http://www.medwearablesconference.com

Medical wearables are the next big thing. History will show that FitBit and Apple Watch are just the early primitive devices, and that the next wave of smart medical wearables will revolutionize healthcare and dramatically improve quality of life.

What are the next-generation medical wearable technologies? What are the most promising use cases and applications? What are the main challenges right now? What’s on the roadmap of the leading companies and R&D groups? These are the key questions that drive the discussion at this annual conference.

The future is bright for medical wearables -- we invite you to attend this conference to identify emerging technology and application trends, exchange ideas, form new companies, and network with your industry peers!


MEMS Manufacturing

http://www.memsmanufacturing.com

MEMS manufacturing is a key enabler for the production of advanced sensors and actuators used in such applications as IoT, wearables, autonomous vehicles, robotics, digital health, precision agriculture, smart home, environmental monitoring, and many others.

According to MEMS Journal research, the MEMS market will reach an “inflection point” in the 2019-2020 time frame which will change the economics of production to dramatically reduce costs and, therefore, significantly increase the utilization of MEMS devices throughout major industrial segments.

Given this “inflection point” and sharp reduction in production costs, can the MEMS market grow to $100 billion and 1 trillion MEMS devices per year by 2025? We believe this can happen. Already, the MEMS market has been one of the few “shining stars” among its peers in the overall semiconductor market sector, and the economy on the whole. Currently, the total market for MEMS devices is around $11-12 billion per year and it is expected to grow at 12 to 15% for the next few years.

So what are the next-generation MEMS manufacturing technologies? And what are the MEMS applications that are driving the need for new fabrication techniques? These are the key questions that drive the discussion at this event which will feature talks from the leading MEMS business and technology experts.


Join Us

We are actively seeking strong candidates to join our team. Ideal applicants should be passionate about MEMS and sensors, as well as business strategy, deal-making, and excellent client service. Please email resumes with cover letters to: careers@microtechventures.com