University of Michigan Tech-Based Start-Up Ambiq Micro Wins Global Business Plan Competition

Jul 07, 2010, 09:00 ET from The Zell Lurie Institute

Zell Lurie Institute 2010 Michigan Business Competition Winner Secures $250,000 Prize from DFJ and Cisco

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business today announced that Ambiq Micro netted a $250,000 investment prize as the first place winner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Cisco's co-sponsored Global Business Plan Competition for university and business school students.

Ambiq Micro was selected as the winner of the Global Business Plan Competition out of a group of 16 finalist teams from across the globe who presented business plans to a panel of San Jose-based judges composed of venture capitalists from DFJ and its Global Network Funds and executives from Cisco's Corporate Development team.  The presenting members of the University of Michigan Ambiq Micro team were Scott Hanson, a Post-doctoral Fellow at the College of Engineering and Phil O'Niel, an MBA 2010 graduate of the Ross School of Business.  

"This is a great example of different schools of the University working together to create a culture of innovation," said Thomas C. Kinnear, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute.

Ambiq Micro is developing next generation energy-efficient microprocessors that have the potential to substantially extend the battery life of wireless devices.  The technology could be used in smart credit cards, computers, sensors that control temperature or detect motion in smart homes and buildings, and a variety of medical and mobile devices.  The team will receive a seed investment totaling $250,000 from DFJ and Cisco to help the company lead the way to ubiquitous computing.

Throughout the 2009-2010 academic year, Ambiq Micro received mentoring, coaching and prize awards from the Zell Lurie Institute.  Recently, the Ross School of Business' Frankel Commercialization Fund, the country's first student-led pre-seed investment fund, signed a term sheet to provide the initial investment for Ambiq Micro.  The investment is likely to close in the next quarter.

Ambiq Micro also won the Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business as part of the Institute's Michigan Business Challenge in February.  And finally, validating its unique technology and growth potential, Ambiq Micro was selected to present at the Institute-hosted Michigan Growth Capital Symposium in May -- slots usually reserved for more mature venture-backed start-ups.

Commenting on the role of the Institute and the Michigan Business Challenge, Philip O'Niel, MBA 2010 and member of the Ambiq Micro team, said, "Participating in the Michigan Business Challenge has been instrumental in helping me achieve both my entrepreneurial and broader business goals.  Through the many courses, programs, and individual mentoring offered by the Zell Lurie Institute, my team and I have been able to take our entrepreneurial passions and transform them into a winning business idea. The hands-on experience delivered by the Zell Lurie Institute and the School's Frankel Fund was one of the most important factors in my decision to attend Ross."

About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies / Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together a potent mix of knowledge, experience and opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investments. The student learning experience is further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs, organizations and events that serve to provide viable networks and engage the business community. The School's two student-led investment funds, with over $5M in management, immerse students in the business assessment and investment process. Members of the Advisory Board include Samuel Zell, Chairman of Equity Group Investments; Michael Hallman, former COO of Microsoft Corporation; and Eugene Applebaum, Founder of Arbor Drugs, Inc.  For more information, visit the Institute at

SOURCE The Zell Lurie Institute