In 2012, when Sam Massih became director of wearable sensors at InvenSense, a manufacturer of motion-sensor technology for smart phones, gaming devices, and more, he already had 18 years of experience working in the semiconductor industry—aided by bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in addition to his Berkeley MBA. And he brought all those years to bear when tasked with investigating the market for the future of data-tracking sensors worn on the person, like pedometers and activity trackers.
Massih discovered that people were dissatisfied with existing devices, as they generally measure only footsteps. Many pedometer users, however, were biking, swimming, and rowing. And they wanted sensors to give them credit for these strenuous activities.
“No one had looked into the wearable tech area,” says Massih. “My back- ground in growing new markets with semiconductor technology was very valuable.”
Massih has since spearheaded InvenSense’s effort to meet that demand, both by adding additional sensors to measure factors like speed/distance, heart rate, and stairs climbed and by incorporating tiny gyroscopes to track more complex user motions. Under his tenure, InvenSense has grown to become the leader in such devices, with sensors in every high-end Android watch released in the last year.
Early in his career, Massih discovered an affinity for technology management, working as a technical business manager at Maxim Integrated Products before moving to NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips) as a technical marketing manager and Semtech as the director of the touch interface product line. Massih enjoys the freedom to lead his own team. “It’s like running your own business within a bigger business,” he says.
InvenSense is a small niche company compared to his other firms, and Massih welcomes the opportunity to help grow the business—a skill he honed at Berkeley Haas. —MR
Director of Wearable Sensors, InvenSense
San Jose, Calif.