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University of Arizona-focused venture fund invests in optics firm

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

A venture-capital fund dedicated to backing University of Arizona technology spinoff companies has made its sixth investment and the first for its second venture fund.

UA Venture Capital Fund has invested an undisclosed amount in EARDG Photonics, Inc., whose technology for “enhanced augmented reality display glasses,” was developed by researchers within the UA College of Optical Sciences.

EARDG plans to use the money to further develop the technology into wearable glasses giving users a dual view — one through the glasses as normal and simultaneously, an augmented display field of view.

Related to virtual reality technology, augmented reality creates a real-world environment augmented by computer-generated perceptual information like images, sounds or touch.

The startup company was founded in January by longtime UA optics professor Nasser Peyghambarian, who founded specialty-laser maker NP Photonics at the UA Tech Park in 1998.

Fletcher McCusker, CEO and co-founder of UA Venture Capital, said the fund is thrilled to support EARDG, noting that the UA optics school is noted for its “state-of-the-art optics programs and curriculum, and world-renown researchers and scientists.”

“(UA) President Robert Robbins has enhanced the environment of commercialization throughout our university and UAVC is proud to support his initiatives,” McCusker said.

Peyghambarian serves as a director of EARDG along with Lloyd LaComb, a UA optics research professor and optics industry executive. LaComb also is vice president of TIPD LLC, another optics company Peyghambarian launched to develop optics technology including 3-D holographic displays.

Founded in 2017, UA Venture Capital raised $20 million for its first fund and invested in six startup companies based on UA technology or started by UA students.

In January, McCusker announced that UA Venture Capital had begun raising money toward a target of $100 million for a second fund.

While the size of the latest investment was not disclosed, UAVenture’s individual investments have averaged about $2 million.



Source: Tucson Tech: UA-focused venture fund invests in optics firm | Business News | tucson.com

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