Ambiq Micro Wins Investment from Michigan’s Student-Run Frankel Commercialization Fund

At the University of Michigan, the inmates really are running the asylum. I’ve written before about the Wolverine Venture Fund, where students are not playing with Monopoly money: they’re investing real capital into real companies and accepting real risk. Well, the pre-seed version of this idea is the Frankel Commercialization Fund, another student-led effort, which is on a mission to identify and accelerate commercialization of ideas generated within the university and surrounding area.

Today, the business students involved in Frankel are announcing that they’re investing an undisclosed amount in Ann Arbor, MI-based Ambiq Micro. As I’ve written before, Ambiq Micro is the result of the obsessive mind of one former U-M business student, Scott Hanson, who has been working for at least six years on his one project— low-power circuit technology that can stay on for years, even decades. The goal is to commercialize low-power microcontrollers for ultrasmall wireless devices like smart credit cards and ultralong-life wireless sensors for smart homes and buildings.

Ambiq Micro has already received more than $275,000 in cash after winning U-M’s Michigan Business Plan competition and DFJ/Cisco’s Global Business Plan Competition.

“This investment comes at a critical time for the company and will be essential in helping us to move quickly to capitalize on our opportunity,” Hanson says in a prepared statement today. “The support, networking and mentorship provided by the Frankel Fund have been critical in translating our ideas into a winning business plan, and now in helping Ambiq Micro to demonstrate its technology to customers.”

Frankel Fund student partners Phillip O’Niel and David Landman, both MBAs from the Class of 2010, helped Hanson and his co-founders to form the company and joined with them in competing in business plan competitions, honing their investment presentation skills and raising seed money.

“This is a great example of different schools of the university working together to create a culture of innovation,” says Thomas Porter, executive-in-residence at the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, in a prepared statement.

I think it also demonstrates U-M’s commitment to creating an oasis of entrepreneurship in Ann Arbor by giving students the tools to make a go of it on their own.

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