Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Making Your First Million: And Other Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Lee Boysel describes the role of his company in the early history of the microprocessor.
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Lee Boysel came back to Michigan to receive the 2007 ECE Alumni Merit Award from the College of Engineering. While here, he gave a talk about his entrepreneurial experiences starting a semiconductor firm in California - before there was a Silicon Valley. His groundbreaking work laid the foundation for the early microprocessor.

Students and faculty alike were captivated by Mr. Boysel's talk, which was presented with great clarity and conviction. Mr. Boysel revealed a lifelong joy for the research, as well as for the adventure of being an entrepreneur.

Brief Bio

Lee L. Boysel is a private investor based in San Francisco. For the past 25 years, he has been an advisor to, invested directly in, and served on the boards of a number of high-tech startups.

In earlier years, Mr. Boysel served as founder, president, CEO, and chairman of the board of Four Phase Systems, Inc., of Cupertino, CA. The company's computers were used to distribute mainframe power to remote user locations and featured the first semiconductor memory and first LSI CPU. Both of these innovations were forerunners of today's microprocessor chip technology. Four Phase was founded 1968 in a garage and grew into a major corporation before being acquired by Motorola in 1982.

From 1963-68, Mr. Boysel worked for IBM, Fairchild, and McDonnell Aerospace where he engaged in pioneering work applying MOS/LSI semiconductor technology to computers and electronic systems. He is noted for the design and fabrication of the semiconductor industry's first A/D chips, the first static and dynamic MOS ROM, the first parallel ALU, the first DRAM, and the first single-chip CPU microprocessor.

An industry leader, Mr. Boysel developed concepts and published some of the first articles on computer architectures, including MOS ROM CPU microcode control, direct video display of RAM information and single bi-directional bus structures - all staples of today's microprocessor designs.

Mr. Boysel earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1961 and 1962, respectively.