July 15, 2021
(Reuters) -Self-driving technology startup Aurora will go public through a deal with a blank-check firm backed by Silicon Valley heavyweights Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus, giving the combined company a pro-forma market capitalization of $13 billion.
The deal with Reinvent Technology Partners Y will include a private placement of $1 billion from investors such as Baillie Gifford, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Uber Technologies Inc and Volvo Group, Aurora said on Thursday.
Investor interest in autonomous driving and associated technologies has seen an uptick in recent times, with more than half a dozen lidar sensor manufacturers going public through blank-check mergers since last year.
“We believe Aurora will be the first to commercialize self-driving technology at scale for the U.S. trucking and passenger transportation markets,” Mark Pincus, co-founder of Reinvent, said.
Aurora expects to launch first in trucking, a $700 billion market with attractive unit economics, in late 2023 and also expand into adjacent verticals including last-mile delivery and ride-hailing.
Founded in 2017, the company is led by former heads of self-driving programs at Google, Uber Technologies Inc and Tesla Inc.
In December, Aurora said it was acquiring Uber’s self-driving unit Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) and announced a strategic partnership with the company to accelerate the development of its Aurora Driver platform.
Reinvent, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by Zynga Inc co-founder Pincus and LinkedIn co-founder Hoffman, raised $850 million through an initial public offering (IPO) in March.
Pincus and Hoffman have raised three SPACs so far, two of which announced mergers with air taxi startup Joby Aviation and insurtech company Hippo Enterprises earlier this year.
SPACs are publicly listed shell companies that raise funds with the intention of merging with a private entity within two years of floating their shares, thereby taking the private company public.
Aurora is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq after the merger under the new ticker symbol “AUR”.
The combined company is expected to have about $2.5 billion in cash upon deal completion.
(Reporting by Sohini Podder and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)