James Murdoch, the younger son of media magnate Rupert Murdoch, has decided to dabble with drones after exiting the family business. Now, it seems James Murdoch will have a new tech venture to discuss when he joins the other billionaires milling about at the annual Allen & Co. retreat in Idaho next month with his new venture, touted as a “deep tech startup”.
Murdoch’s Lupa Systems along with Norwegian tech accelerator NTNU Accel have helped UBIQ Aerospace raise seed financing for their novel venture called D-ICE — that will “transform” unmanned aircraft operations in cold conditions. UBIQ Aerospace hopes to develop new de-icing solutions for the wind energy and aviation industries. The company announced financing without disclosing specifics.
James Murdoch parted ways with the family business after it struck a $US71 billion ($56 billion) deal to sell a swath of assets to Walt Disney this year.
UBIQ Aerospace Chief Executive Officer Kim Lynge Sorensen said in an interview that UBIQ Aerospace’s first product is being targeted as much for commercial use and military use as well.
The company expects it may also help unmanned aircraft used for package deliveries and flying taxis, he added. He declined to disclose the terms of the investment.
“As an investment firm focused on the problems of the future, we’re excited to work with UBIQ,” Ben FitzGerald, a partner at Lupa Systems, said in a statement. FitzGerald was the executive director for strategy, data and design in the Pentagon’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment prior to joining Lupa.
Murdoch is expected to be among the attendees at July’s annual retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, where tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and finance-world leaders like Warren Buffett will be present discussing the latest and futuristic tech trends globally.
Trondheim, Norway-based UBIQ plans to introduce its D-ICE product to the unmanned-aviation market early next year. The Wall Street Journal reported in April, about Lupa- which has an office in New York and a presence in Mumbai, making its first investment of $US5 million in comic’s publisher Artists, Writers and Artisans. It also invested in the venture capital firm Human Ventures, according to the Information. This is the third investment from the 46-year-old’s new fund, which manages the money he acquired through the family’s stake in 21st Century Fox.
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