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 through a merger with particular function acquisition firm Reinvent Know-how Companions Y.

The deal introduced Thursday confirms TechCrunch’s reporting in June that the startup was in ultimate 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, can have an implied valuation of $13 billion.

By the deal, Aurora is capturing $1 billion from non-public traders together with Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint International (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 stated 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, in response to regulatory filings.

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 Chris Urmson, all whom have a historical past of engaged on automated car know-how.

In December, the corporate reached an settlement with Uber to purchase the ride-hailing agency’s self-driving unit in a fancy deal that valued the mixed firm at $10 billion. Beneath 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 obtained a 26% stake within the mixed firm, in response to a submitting with the U.S. Securities and Change 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 individuals. Aurora extra not too long ago stated it reached an settlement with Volvo to collectively develop autonomous semi-trucks for North America. That partnership, which is predicted to final a number of years and is thru Volvo’s Autonomous Options unit, will give attention to creating and deploying vans constructed to function autonomously on highways between hubs for Volvo clients.

Enterprise capital at scale

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

Two of these SPACs have introduced mergers with non-public firms. Reinvent Know-how Companions introduced a deal in February to merge with the electrical vertical take off and touchdown firm Joby Aviation, which can be listed on the New York Inventory Change later this yr. Reinvent Know-how Companions Z merged with residence insurance coverage startup Hippo.

Their third SPAC — the one now merging with Aurora — known as Reinvent Know-how Companions Y, priced its preliminary public providing of 85 million models at $10 per unit to lift $850 million. The SPAC issued an extra 12.7 million shares to cowl over allotments with complete gross proceeds of $977 million, in response to regulatory filings. The models are listed on the Nasdaq alternate and commerce below 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 Sequence A spherical. The next yr, Aurora raised greater than $530 million in a Sequence 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 traders Greylock and Index Ventures.

Hoffman and Reinvent displaying up on two sides of a SPAC deal is just not 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 likely one of the individuals finest suited to know the chance right here,” Urmson stated, 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.