Venture Capital: Joby Aviation May List Via Merger With Blank Check Company Reinvent

February 12, 2021 | Latest News, News, Venture Capital
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The transaction could value Joby at about $5.7 billion.

Reinvent Technology Partners (NYSE: RTP), the blank check company (or, SPAC) helmed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and tech entrepreneur Mark Pincus may acquire Joby Aviation, a company developing the next-generation, electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) flying air taxis. (FT)

Reinvent raised $690 million when it listed on the NYSE in 2020. The SPAC is now tying up financing to fund the acquisition of Joby, which commands a valuation of about $5.7 billion.

Joby Aviation

Joby commenced in 2009 as a technology company exploring electric motors, flight software, and lithium-ion batteries.

In 2012, it commenced collaborations with NASA on innovative electric flight projects such as the X-57 and LEAPTech projects. In 2015 it flew its first subscale prototype, followed by a full-scale prototype in 2017. Joby’s production prototype began flight testing in 2019 to qualify for certification to commence commercial operations by 2023.

In 2020, the U.S. Air Force granted its first-ever eVTOL airworthiness certification to Joby.

In December, Joby acquired Uber Elevate, Uber’s (NYSE: UBER) flying taxi arm.

Currently, Joby has more than 500 employees and is developing a manufacturing facility in Marina, CA. It has offices and workshops in Santa Cruz, San Carlos, Washington, D.C., and Munich, Germany.

Joby is backed by Toyota, Baillie Gifford, Intel Capital, Abdul Latif Jameel, SPARX, and other investors. It has raised $803 million to date.

SPAC deals are running hot

Joby, along with peers Archer, Blade, and Germany-based Lilium were all candidates for public listings this year.

However, Blade Urban Air Mobility pipped the others to the post. It went public in December through a merger with SPAC Experience Investment Corp. (NASDAQ: EXPC).

Meanwhile, Archer announced on Wednesday that it will list on the public markets through a reverse merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. (NYSE: ACIC), an NYSE-listed SPAC, at a valuation of $3.8 billion. United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) has committed $1 billion to buy Archer’s new aircraft “subject to United’s business and operating requirements,” with an option for an additional $500 million.

These air mobility companies are taking advantage of the bullish sentiment surrounding new technologies and electric vehicles. SPACs are a popular vehicle for going public compared to an IPO because they are quicker, inexpensive, and require less disclosure.

However, Joby’s SPAC transaction hinges on whether Hoffman and Pincus can arrange the additional funding required.

Related Story:  Saudi Investment Firm Participates in Electric Air Taxi Startup Funding

Image Credit: Joby Aviation                                                   

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