Aira Inc., an early-stage startup in the wireless technology space whose founders scored big on reality television, has hired Jeffrey Risher as chief strategy officer and general counsel.
Risher will lead Aira’s business development and strategy and oversee all of its legal matters, IP strategy, and technology partnerships as the San Diego-based company seeks to expand its reach into the automotive, consumer electronics, furniture, and hospitality sectors. Aira announced Risher’s hiring Tuesday.
Risher, who began his career as an associate at Rutan & Tucker and Latham & Watkins in Southern California, has spent most of the past two decades in-house at companies like Abbott Laboratories, Apple Inc., Tesla Inc., and Faraday & Future Inc.
At Faraday & Future, an electric car startup currently litigating with its former general counsel, Risher served as vice president of product, technology, and intellectual strategy until parting ways with the company last year. Faraday & Future hired Risher in mid-2018 from Tesla, where he spent more than two years as a deputy general counsel and head of IP and litigation.
Risher left Faraday & Future in June 2019 and has been consulting and working for the past several months with startups based in Silicon Valley, Aira spokesman Ted Miller told Bloomberg Law. Risher is the first full-time legal and IP-focused addition to Aira’s leadership team, where he will be a key member tasked with furthering the privately held company’s growth, Miller said.
Risher wasn’t immediately available to comment about his move to Aira, which was co-founded in 2017 by Jake Slatnick and Eric Goodchild. Both men appeared on the most recent season of ABC’s “Shark Tank” television series to pitch the opportunity to invest in Aira to a panel of entrepreneurs.
“Shark Tank” judges Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, and Kevin O’Leary collectively invested $500,000 in return for a 15% stake in Aira, according to news reports about the show, which aired late last year.
“We are excited to welcome Jeff to Aira as he brings a wealth of experience and proven judgment in areas that are critical to our growth and success,” Slatnick said in a statement announcing Risher’s hire.
Risher said in his own statement that he’s looking forward to working at Aira as it moves forward with its FreePower technology, which is designed to charge a variety of personal electronic devices.
Aira’s FreePower platform is compatible with devices manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Google LLC, and Apple. The latter hired Risher, a former patent litigation counsel at Abbott Labs, as a director of litigation in 2006. Risher spent nearly nine years at Apple, where he became director of patent licensing and strategy in 2013. Apple canceled its own AirPower wireless charger last year.
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