UAVenture Capital (UAVC), the Tucson-based firm that invests exclusively in University of Arizona science and technology, and DVI Equity Partners, the technology investment arm of Tucson’s Diamond Ventures, today announced that two of their portfolio companies, FreeFall Aerospace and ED2, have come together to create a new company called FreeFall 5G to capitalize on the explosive growth of the 5G market.
FreeFall Aerospace was one of UAVC’s first investments in 2018 and has rapidly developed antenna systems designed to revolutionize communication both in space and on Earth. Freefall has demonstrated an ultra-lightweight inflatable satellite antenna, steerable balloon-borne communications, and low-cost fixed and mobile ground-based systems. UAVC’s investment thesis believed that many of FreeFall’s patented designs could also lead to new antenna systems for the 5G industry.
“This new company has the potential to be a tremendous success, particularly as the importance of 5G technology grows,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “I am very proud to see this kind of partnership grow out of innovative thinking from the University of Arizona, and I am grateful to UAVenture Capital for their leadership in making sure this outstanding technology will be available to the public. I am looking forward to seeing what Freefall 5G will accomplish.”
ED2 which is focused on “Making 5G HappenTM” was DVI Equity Partners first Tucson-based investment. ED2’s implementation of the FreeFall Aerospace antenna concept led to the prototype unveiled at 5G Mobile World Congress last year, and that system will now be enhanced for commercial demonstration this summer. The new FreeStar5G antenna will have greater range and flexibility than any 5G antenna system currently on the market, yet draws significantly less power and is about the size of a desktop computer.
“We believe this small and powerful antenna will revolutionize 5G communication”, said Fletcher McCusker, CEO and Founder of UAVenture Capital. The original concept was developed by Dr. Chris Walker along with Dr. Marwan Krunz, who in addition to their work at FreeFall are also professors at the University of Arizona. FreeFall teamed with ED2 in 2018, and under ED2’s leadership the two companies were able to bring the concept to reality. “Based on what we all felt was a game-changing technology for 5G, it made sense to form a spin-off to operationalize the antenna” said Bob Griffin Managing Partner at DV Equity Partners.
“We always knew that by working closely with the exceptional technical team at ED2 we could go farther, faster than we could on our own. Fielding an improved industrial-ready FreeStar5G that provides state-of-the-art capability will help achieve our vision of revolutionary connectivity for people, places, and things through our novel antenna solutions. The new product development and license agreements now in place with ED2 make FreeFall 5G well-positioned to enter the global 5G race.” – Doug Stetson, CEO of FreeFall Aerospace.
“Amazing that two small companies, from Tucson, Arizona, can transform the way 5G communication gets rolled out and by default make us a 5G technology region.” Sergio Cardona, CEO of ED2.