Pixim (A): August 2001

By Robert Burgelman, Cara McVie
2003 | Case No. SM118A
Pixim, Inc. was a start-up founded in 1999 by two electrical engineering graduate students and an electrical engineering professor. The 38-employee company made semiconductors for digital imaging devices. Its core technology, the Digital Pixel System platform, or DPS, was a digital imaging system based on technology that two of the founders had developed at Stanford University, which licensed the technology to Pixim. DPS was a unique imaging solution that addressed a problem which existing digital and film imaging systems had yet to solve: managing the vagaries of light conditions to avoid overexposed or underexposed images. Compared to the human eye, digital and film systems were inferior at representing an image when the scene being captured had very bright or very dark portions. Pixim’s technology automatically exposed the individual parts of an image for optimal lighting and resulted in much clearer images. In August 2001, Rob Siegel, vice president of business development, considered the company’s position. He had joined Pixim three months earlier when the company was in the midst of defining its first target markets and target customers. Hired to lead strategy and help with large corporate relationships, Siegel had conducted an internal review and organized some key meetings during the previous three months. His analysis helped the company narrow its focus to its first market. Over time, the company came to believe it needed to play in all major imaging applications in order to become a sizeable company, but for now they had taken the first steps.
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