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TA Associates Leads $113 Million Investment in FreeWave Technologies


TA Associates, a leading growth private equity and buyout firm, recently announced that it has led a $113 million investment in FreeWave Technologies, the largest independent provider of high performance spread spectrum and licensed radio products and services in the industry.

FreeWave designs and manufactures board-level and enclosed format data radios for the commercial and military markets. The company offers a wide range of products designed for unparalleled performance and durability in even the harshest conditions, providing complete solutions for diverse needs in industries such as oil and gas, utilities, military, security, recreation and agriculture. The company was founded in 1993 by Steve Wulchin and Jonathan Sawyer. It is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

“We are excited to invest in FreeWave, which has an enviable record of growth, financial success and technical innovation,” said Vivian Wu, a Principal at TA Associates who will join the company’s Board of Directors. “The company has built long-term, recurring relationships with its channel and customers based on one of the highest quality data radio product suites in the industry.”

“We chose to partner with TA because of its proven record of helping thriving businesses create substantial value for the future,” said Steve Wulchin, CEO and President of FreeWave Technologies.  “This investment demonstrates TA’s confidence in FreeWave’s ability to continue robust growth while providing solutions with a high return on investment and unmatched attention to customer success.”

“Our customers rely on our products for long range reliable data communications in mission critical applications,” added Jonathan Sawyer, CTO and Chairman of FreeWave Technologies.  “We look forward to working with TA to leverage their financial support and investment experience to continue developing superior radio solutions for our customers.”

FreeWave serves a number of growing markets, including the global wireless infrastructure networking products market, which is projected to grow at a 34 percent compound annual growth rate from shipments of $262 million in 2006 to over $1 billion in 2011, according to leading independent research firm Venture Development Corp. 

“FreeWave is well-positioned to capitalize on broad sector trends towards industrial wireless automation taking place across numerous market segments,” said Michael C. Child, a Managing Director at TA Associates who will also join FreeWave’s Board of Directors.  “This transaction is a classic example of TA partnering with an experienced and highly successful management team and working together to enhance FreeWave’s leadership role in the marketplace.” 

“FreeWave has a long heritage of providing unique incentive programs for its employees.  This investment provides opportunities for the company to offer additional programs beyond those employed to date,” Sawyer explained.

Goodwin Procter LLP served as legal counsel to TA Associates.  Faegre & Benson LLP provided legal services to FreeWave Technologies.  Headwaters MB served as the exclusive financial advisor to FreeWave Technologies.

Founded in 1993, FreeWave Technologies is a world leader in innovative design and manufacturing of ISM band radios and wireless data solutions that are trusted for mission critical applications around the world.  Based in Boulder, Colorado, the company offers network design, path studies and pre-installation engineering services to ensure reliable, error free data-flow under any condition and in all environments.  FreeWave is the only long-term radio provider with 100 percent backward compatibility with fully integrated, best-in-class engineered products.  FreeWave has been recognized eight consecutive years as a member of the Colorado High Technology Fast 50. 

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