Mark McDowell-Why We Invested in SPARK Microsystems

  • March 3, 2020



Mark McDowell is a Partner at Real Ventures and co-founder of Acta Wireless Capital. We asked him why, out of the hundreds of wireless startups he has evaluated over the last few years, he chose to invest in SPARK Microsystems.

“Everybody knows that wireless IoT is exploding,” Mark replied. “And everybody knows that the battery problem is unsolved. So the products shipping today either have severe bandwidth and power restrictions, or need their batteries changed every couple of years. SPARK changes all that.”

“Before SPARK, you had to compromise on either bandwidth or power,” he continued. “And latency is always an issue at lower power. What excites me the most about SPARK UWB technology is that it addresses all three of these wireless constraints simultaneously. This is going to enable new applications we haven’t seen before, especially once 5G deployments pick up steam. Virtually every wireless carrier lists latency as one of their top reasons for deploying 5G, because it has 1/10 the latency of 4G. That opens up a whole new range of real-time mobile applications, which will create even more demand for SPARK’s UWB solution.”

Mark led SPARK’s $5M seed rounds in Nov 2017 and Jan 2020 and is a member of SPARK’s Board of Directors. We asked him to comment on the company’s progress. “It has been very exciting watching SPARK grow their sales, marketing, customer support, engineering and operations staff over the last few years as they get ready for qualification and volume production in the third quarter of this year. Customers have been eager to get their hands on the development kits, and the new products they are creating are game changers.”