Shorya Awtar (left), David Hiemstra (right)
HIPERNAP LLC, a University of Michigan based start-up company, has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop and commercialize large range flexure-based nanopositioning technology for additive manufacturing and scanning probe based metrology applications.
The company’s title, HIPERNAP LLC, is short for “high performance nanopositioning,” a subset of ultra-high precision motion systems. As part of its phase I SBIR efforts, the company is presently focusing on developing novel electromagnetic actuators that simultaneously enable large range, high speed, and nanometric precision in nanopositioning systems.
The start-up company has also recently participated in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program.
David Hiemstra, who is both a PSDL alumnus and co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of HIPERNAP, said that the program helped the company gain a stronger business perspective that complimented the already established technical facets.
“It was a crash course in identifying a product market fit and the other aspects necessary in forming a sustainable and scalable start-up,” Hiemstra said. “The experience of interviewing over one hundred potential customers in less than two months solidified our business plan and the needs of the industry.”
The I-Corps experience supplemented the support received by the Venture Accelerator at the University of Michigan, where the HIPERNAP office resides. The Venture Accelerator helps newly born U of M based businesses reach their full potential. Specifically, it offers mentorship, business development workshops, and connects companies with funding and potential investors.
The process of converting research into a sellable product has been a challenging, yet fulfilling experience for Hiemstra.
“I am really excited to learn what it takes to bring research ‘out of the lab,’” Hiemstra said. “There’s a huge valley to cross and I think getting to the other side will be very satisfying.”