PAN, Triad investors pile $800K into Guerrilla RF

A startup wireless infrastructure company based in Greensboro will use about $800,000 in new angel investor funds to get its technology to the production stage, according to officials with the Piedmont Angel Network.

PAN led the investment round into Guerrilla RF with about $200,000 from its members, according to Fund Executive Andy Dreyfuss. Other private investors, mostly from Greensboro but not part of PAN, also took part in the funding, he said.

Guerrilla RF was founded in 2013 by Ryan Pratt, an experienced radio frequency engineer whose résumé includes RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ: RFMD) and Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ: SWKS) and whose initial financial backers included William Pratt, his father and one of the co-founders of RFMD. Guerrilla RF also won a $50,000 prize last year in the NC IDEA entrepreneurship contest.

The company’s semiconductors are designed to be used in what are called “small cells” or “carrier-class WiFi,” a relatively new approach to mobile data transmission that allows carriers like Verizon and AT&T to increase network capacity using a large number of very small network access points, and without building new big cell towers.

The proliferation of mobile devices is going to drive demand for products like those developed by Guerrilla RF, Dreyfuss said, and that was attractive to the investors.

“What Ryan’s chips do is enable less noise and more isolation – it means the boxes are more powerful and can distribute and receive calls from further distances, so fewer are needed,” Dreyfuss said. “The trends on data usage are through the roof, and Ryan’s technology is both a cost saver and a better technology.”

Ryan Pratt was not available to comment, but Dreyfuss said the company has made good use of its resources so far to start building its management team and demonstrate its technology. The company recently had its first design “win” with a company in Texas, he said, and it will use the new investor funds to pursue more.

The $800,000 will fund “nine months to a year, then they’ll need more capital when they get into production,” Dreyfuss said. “The key now is to get four or five or six companies to say ‘these chips are really good, they’re better technically and they’ll save us money.’”

Source: Triad Business Journal