SPACs keep rolling as autonomous vehicle startup Aurora targets blank-check debut with $13B valuation – TechCrunch


Aurora Innovation, the autonomous car startup that acquired Uber’s self-driving unit in December, goes public by way of a merger with particular objective acquisition firm Reinvent Expertise Companions Y.

The deal introduced Thursday confirms TechCrunch’s reporting in June that the startup was in closing talks with the SPAC launched by LinkedIn co-founder and investor Reid Hoffman, Zynga founder Mark Pincus and managing companion Michael Thompson.

The mixed firm, which is will  be listed on Nasdaq with the ticker image AUR, could have an implied valuation of $13 billion. Aurora was final valued at $10 billion following its acquisition of Uber’s self-driving unit.

By the deal, Aurora is capturing $1 billion from non-public buyers together with Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint World (Morgan Stanley), funds and accounts suggested by T. Rowe Value Associates, Inc., PRIMECAP Administration Firm, Reinvent Capital, XN, Constancy Administration and Analysis LLC, Canada Pension Plan Funding Board, Index Ventures, and Sequoia Capital, in addition to strategic investments from Uber, PACCAR, and Volvo Group.

The mixed firm mentioned it’s anticipated to have about $2.5 billion in money at closing, together with as much as $977.5 million of money held in Reinvent’s belief account from its preliminary public providing which closed on March 18, 2021, based on regulatory filings.

“It is a huge subsequent step for the corporate,” CEO and co-founder Chris Urmson mentioned in an interview Thursday. “Clearly we have to convey our product to the market, however we actually couldn’t be extra excited for our crew, the sources this transaction brings and our companions.”

Aurora has gone from buzzy startup to publicly traded company-via-SPAC in a span of 4 years. The corporate was based in 2017 by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Urmson, all whom have a historical past of engaged on automated car expertise.

In December, the corporate reached an settlement with Uber to purchase the ride-hailing agency’s self-driving unit in a posh deal that valued the mixed firm at $10 billion. Below the phrases of that acquisition, Aurora didn’t pay money for Uber ATG, an organization that was valued at $7.25 billion following a $1 billion funding in 2019 from Toyota, DENSO and SoftBank’s Imaginative and prescient Fund. As an alternative, Uber handed over its fairness in ATG and invested $400 million into Aurora. Uber acquired a 26% stake within the mixed firm, based on a submitting with the U.S. Securities and Trade Fee.

Because the acquisition, Aurora has spent the previous a number of months integrating Uber ATG staff and now has a workforce of about 1,600 folks. Aurora extra not too long ago mentioned it reached an settlement with Volvo to collectively develop autonomous semi-trucks for North America. That partnership, which is anticipated to final a number of years and is thru Volvo’s Autonomous Options unit, will concentrate on creating and deploying vehicles constructed to function autonomously on highways between hubs for Volvo prospects.

Enterprise capital at scale

Hoffman, Pincus and Thompson have promoted an idea  that they name “enterprise capital at scale.” So far, SPACs have been the conduit to succeed in that scale. The trio have fashioned three SPACs, or blank-check corporations.

Two of these SPACs have introduced mergers with non-public corporations. Reinvent Expertise Companions introduced a deal in February to merge with the electrical vertical take off and touchdown firm Joby Aviation, which shall be listed on the New York Inventory Trade later this 12 months. Reinvent Expertise Companions Z merged with dwelling insurance coverage startup Hippo.

Their third SPAC — the one now merging with Aurora — known as Reinvent Expertise Companions Y, priced its preliminary public providing of 85 million items at $10 per unit to lift $850 million. The SPAC issued a further 12.7 million shares to cowl over allotments with complete gross proceeds of $977 million, based on regulatory filings. The items are listed on the Nasdaq change and commerce beneath the ticker image “RTPYU.”

In some ways, the Aurora-Reinvent SPAC is a union that is smart.

Aurora already has a relationship with Hoffman. In February 2018, Aurora raised $90 million from Greylock Companions and Index Ventures. Hoffman, who’s a companion at Greylock, and Index Ventures’ Mike Volpi grew to become board members of Aurora as a part of the Collection A spherical. The next 12 months, Aurora raised greater than $530 million in a Collection B spherical led by Sequoia Capital and included Amazon and T. Rowe Value Associates. Lightspeed Enterprise Companions, Geodesic, Shell Ventures and Reinvent Capital additionally participated within the spherical, in addition to earlier buyers Greylock and Index Ventures.

Hoffman and Reinvent exhibiting up on two sides of a SPAC deal shouldn’t be unprecedented. It’s not commonplace both. Urmson instructed TechCrunch that to keep away from potential conflicts of curiosity Hoffman didn’t particpate in discussions

“On the one hand, Reid, given his understanding and historical past with the corporate, is without doubt one of the folks finest suited to grasp the chance right here,” Urmson mentioned in an interview Thursday morning, including that to keep away from a battle of curiosity on either side Hoffman wasn’t concerned in any discussions on the Aurora or Reinveint facet.

This story is creating.



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