Vesper: The World’s Most Advanced Acoustic Sensors

Overview

Vesper offers the first MEMS microphones that withstand real-world use in smartphones and other connected devices. Vesper’s are the only MEMS microphones rugged enough to withstand water, dust and particle contaminants. They’re high-performance and enable acoustically rich experiences for any application – from smartphones and wearables to Internet of Things (IoT) devices and connected automobiles.

What We Do

Technology changes, but the natural human preference for communicating by voice is constant. As the number of electronic devices in our world grows, our need for natural communication is even greater. And whether we are communicating with people or machines, the quality and reliability of the voice interface becomes increasingly critical. Microphones are the gateway between the digital world and the natural world of human voice.

Vesper’s mission is to dramatically improve the reliability of the voice user interface for smart speakers, connected automobiles, smartphones and any connected device using our proprietary piezoelectric MEMS technology invented by our founders at the University of Michigan.

The Piezoelectric Difference

Vesper piezoelectric microphones operate on a completely different physical principle from all other MEMS and electret condenser-style audio devices. Using the piezoelectric effect, first discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie, Vesper’s MEMS microphones directly convert sound wave energy into an electrical signal.

Beyond just delivering an excellent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), Vesper microphones are stably matched, making them uniquely suited for large array applications in smartphones, tablets, smart home devices and other connected products. Vesper’s are the most durable, waterproof, shockproof, and both dust- and particle-resistant microphones on the market.

About Us

With roots at the University of Michigan and initial funding from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF), Vesper’s leadership team has is one of the most experienced in the MEMS industry. Based in Boston, MA, the company is privately held and is funded by Accomplice, AAC Technologies, XinGang Electronics, Hyperplane and strategic partners.

Meet the Vesper Team.

Collectively, Vesper’s management team has developed over 20 MEMS products, shipped hundreds of millions of MEMS devices, pioneered the commercialization of piezoelectric MEMS, secured dozens of patents and raised tens of millions of dollars and sold hundreds of millions of components to the world’s largest and most respected OEMs. Together we are reinventing sound.

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Bobby Littrell

Bobby Littrell

CTO and Co-Founder
Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley

CEO
Kurt Redfield

Kurt Redfield

CFO
Lorenzo Ponzanelli

Lorenzo Ponzanelli

SVP, Sales and Business Development
Craig Core

Craig Core

VP, Engineering and Operations
Julian Ascheri

Julian Ascheri

VP, ASIC Engineering and Systems
Karl Grosh

Karl Grosh

CSO and Co-Founder
  • The recognized thought leader in piezoelectric MEMS transducers.

    Innovator of the Year Award Winner – ACE Awards

    Bobby Littrell is the recognized thought leader in piezoelectric MEMS acoustic transducers, is widely published and holds numerous patent filings in the area. He developed Vesper’s piezoelectric-acoustic MEMS transducer design, based on his PhD thesis at the University of Michigan.

    Bobby is also a successful entrepreneur. At Vesper, he raised significant funding from NASA, NSF and NIH to perfect his microphone design, supporting the manufacture of several generations of prototype devices. Bobby received both a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Department of Homeland Security Graduate Research Fellowship. He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton. He holds dual MS degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

  • Piezoelectric MEMS pioneer revolutionizing sensing, bringing disruptive technologies to market.

    Matt Crowley’s passion for bringing disruptive technologies to market is fully evident at Vesper, which pioneered groundbreaking technology by developing the world’s first piezoelectric MEMS microphone. With five rapid product rollouts in just five years and millions of units shipping to tier one clients across the globe, Matt has grown Vesper from a research-oriented startup to a bonafide commercial business.

    Matt and his team are at the forefront of the sensing revolution. Under his leadership, Vesper has earned an impressive collection of awards including a 2019 “Best of Sensors” Award; recognition as Company of the Year in Hardware, Robotics and Transportation at the New England Venture Capital Association’s 2018 NEVY Awards; CES 2018 and 2019 Innovation Award nods by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™; an IHS Markit Innovation Award for the home audio category; and two Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards for Innovator of the Year and Ultimate Products.

    Before Vesper, Matt was founder and vice president of business development at Sand 9 where he pioneered the mass commercialization of piezoelectric MEMS devices. Prior, at the Boston University Office of Technology Development, he was responsible for evaluating new inventions, forming new companies to commercialize those technologies and managing a venture capital program. Matt also worked at Mars & Co strategy consulting, where he advised Fortune 500 companies on operational and strategic issues. An industry thought leader, Matt has been quoted extensively in the media, including The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and countless electronic trades.

    Matt received an interdisciplinary degree in Physics and the Philosophy of Science from Princeton University. He is proficient in Japanese, having lived in Japan.

  • Seasoned veteran with 20 years of experience building global technology firms.

    Kurt Redfield has served as CFO/COO with a number of global high tech firms, including Plextek (UK), Simfy (Germany), BridgeCo (CH) and Neartek (France), representing $500 million in venture funding from investors such as Benchmark, Advent, Wellington, Accel and Intel. Mr. Redfield holds a BA in Philosophy from St. John’s College and an MBA from Columbia University.

  • Secured design wins at the world’s largest technology companies and built sales and support organizations for some of the most respected MEMS and semiconductor companies in the industry.

    Lorenzo Ponzanelli is SVP of Sales and Business Development at Vesper. He joined Vesper in 2019 with more than 20 years of sales leadership experience and a demonstrated track record of building long-term business relationships across the industry. Most recently, Lorenzo spent over 10 years at Micron Technology, world leader in innovative memory solutions, where he led a team that generated $4.8B+ in global sales annually. Earlier experiences include relevant global sales and marketing positions at Numonyx BV and STMicroelectronics. Lorenzo holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from University of Genoa and an International MBA in general management from Politecnico of Milan.

     

  • Expert in MEMS processes and manufacturing for extreme high-volume production. 20+ MEMS products exceeding 1B units shipped.

    Craig Core is an internationally recognized leader in bringing innovative MEMS technologies into extreme high-volume production. During his career, Craig has overseen the development and high-volume manufacture of over 20 different MEMS products, ranging from life-safety critical inertial sensors, microphones, optical devices, pressure sensors, flow meters, RF components and others with aggregate volume exceeding several hundred million devices. He is an expert in all types of MEMS processes and manufacturing, including fab build-out, IDM manufacturing and foundry process transfer.

    Prior to joining Vesper, Craig served as VP of operations for Qualtré, leading the productization of novel MEMS inertial sensors invented at Georgia Tech. Previously, at Evergreen Solar, he oversaw the greenfield build-out of a high-volume solar panel facility’s wafer, cell and panel fabrication.

    Earlier in his career at Analog Devices, Craig drove some of the MEMS industry’s earliest commercial MEMS production and process development, including wafer scale packaging and bulk micromachining.

    Craig received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and his MBA from Northeastern University.

  • Expert in Audio and Power Management solutions and in building best-in-class design teams. 

    Julian Aschieri brings extensive experience designing Audio and Power Management solutions as well as developing global engineering teams to Vesper. Based in Boston, he will help rapidly expand Vesper’s product line, creating some of the most advanced ASIC designs in the industry.

    Prior to joining Vesper, Julian served as Design Director of Audio and Power Management since 2015. Before that, he served as Senior Design Manager at semiconductor and software company, CSR, prior to its acquisition by Qualcomm. Julian also worked at Fujitsu Microelectronics America, Freescale Semiconductors and Motorola Semiconductor. He has a strong technical knowledge of RF, Audio and Power Management systems, and a deep understanding of design-to-market cycles for the semiconductor industry.

    Julian holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from INSA of Toulouse in France and an MBA from Arizona State University.

  • World-renowned researcher in biomechanics, piezoelectric MEMS transducers, structural acoustics.

    Karl Grosh is a world-renowned researcher in biomechanics, cochlear mechanics, piezoelectric MEMS transducers and structural acoustics.

    In addition to his role at Vesper, he is currently a professor of Bioengineering and professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Karl is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including University of Michigan College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award, University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering Excellence Award, ONR Young Investigator Award and NSF CAREER Award.

    Karl has 57 refereed articles in leading journals, has written four book chapters and holds several patents.

Board of Directors


Charles Swoboda

In his role as President of Cape Point Advisors, Chuck Swoboda offers management consulting focused on growth and technology challenges. As former Chairman and CEO of Cree (NASDAQ: CREE), a worldwide manufacturer of LED and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications, Swoboda helped turn a $177 million company into a $1.6 billion global market leader. His 30 years of experience in technology, semiconductors, industrial, automotive and e-commerce in addition to management expertise in strategy, marketing, manufacturing and intellectual property make him an ideal fit for Vesper’s board. Swoboda holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Marquette University.

Hassen Ahmed

Hassan Ahmed has more than 30 years of experience in engineering and management. He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Affirmed Networks, a cloud-native mobile core solution company. Prior to Affirmed Networks, Ahmed worked as a senior advisor at Charles River Ventures and spent 10 years as Chairman and CEO of Sonus Networks (NASDAQ: SONS), a global leader in secure and intelligent cloud communications. Ahmed is known for growing Sonus from an idea into a publicly traded company focused on enabling the transformation of telephony to IP. Before Sonus, he served as EVP and GM of the Core Switching division of Ascend Communications and VP Engineering and Chief Technology Officer of Cascade Communications. He has also held key leadership positions at Motorola and Analog Devices. Ahmed holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Carleton University as well as a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

JEFF FAGNAN

Jeff Fagnan is a founder of Accomplice, where he focuses on emerging companies in enterprise and Internet infrastructure. Jeff is well known as a founding investor, working with most of his portfolio since inception, sometimes as a co-founder including Veracode (Sold to CA Technologies‍). Jeff sits on the board of many scaling startups including AngelList, CoinList, Carbon Black (CBLK), dataxu, Earnest (sold to Navient), Edgewise, Freshbooks, Hopper, InsightSquared, Integral Ad Science (sold to Vista Equity Partners), Perch, PillPack (sold to AMZN), Recorded Future, Teachable, Vesper, Willing, and Threat Stack. He is the founder of Spearhead, a program that provides funding and mentorship for new angel investors; Maiden Lane, the first investment vehicle built on top of AngelList; Boston Syndicates (BOSS), a federated movement to create stronger angel substrate in New England; and TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good), a nonprofit foundation harnessing the power of the tech ecosystem to catalyze social innovation in New England. In 2016 he received the National Venture Capital Association annual American Spirit Award. In 2017 he received the Boston Business Journal’s CEO Social Leadership Award.

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