Steve Greenfield and the CBT News Friday Five: Plunging SPACS


Welcome to this week’s FRIDAY FIVE, where we recap this last week’s Automotive Technology deals. This is Steve Greenfield from Automotive Ventures, and thanks for joining us.


At the end of last year, I declared 2020 as the year of the SPAC. At their highs, five EV startups that went public through mergers with special purpose acquisition companies were worth $60 billion. The stock market corrections that followed have been brutal.


Three of the companies plunged to new lows this past week as short-seller attacks, management turmoil and execution issues led investors to reconsider their prospects. They’ve lost more than $40 billion of market capitalization combined from their respective peaks.


The sliding valuations of Nikola Motor Company, Fisker, Lordstown Motors Corporation, Canoo and ARRIVAL underscore the risks surrounding the blank-check boom.


And with that, let’s jump right into the technology deals of this past week.


- First up this week, big news that DealerSocket will be acquired by Solera. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter pending regulatory approval.


Solera also plans to acquire Omnitracs, which provides fleet management software.


- This week, auto insurance marketplace Jerry announced that it has raised more than $57 million dollars in funding, including a new $28 million Series B round led by Goodwater Capital. A group of angel investors also participated in the round, including Greenlight president Johnson Cook and Greenlight CEO Timothy Sheehan; Tekion Corp CEO Jay Vijayan; Jon McNeill, CEO of DVx Ventures and former president of Tesla and ex-COO of Lyft; Brandon Krieg, CEO of Stash and Ed Robinson, co-founder and president of Stash.


- ROCSYS, the global leader in robotic EV charging solutions, has raised $6.3 million dollars (or €5.25 million Euros) in a round led by FORWARD.one. The investment provides a solid basis to scale up activities throughout Europe, and launch a North-American business unit, now that robotics starts to enter the global EV charging domain.


- PDM Automotive, a 3-year-old company that runs an automotive product data platform for manufacturers and receivers, raised a $4 million round led by FUSE.


The startup provides information on aftermarket automotive parts and other data to companies such as Walmart, Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, Amazon, and eBay. Large automotive parts companies also manage their catalog data with PDM.


- In International news this week, WeRide.ai, the Chinese autonomous driving startup backed by Nissan Motor Corporation, Renault Group and Mitsubishi Motors, said it raised "hundreds of millions" of dollars in a funding round that it said valued the firm at $3.3 billion.


- Finally, in exciting international news, Indian online auto classifieds platform CarTrade.com has filed a draft "Red Herring" prospectus for an initial public offering to raise approximately $273 million USD for 27% of the company.


And on to our Companies to Watch!

Every week we highlight interesting companies in the automotive technology space to keep an eye on. If you read my monthly industry intel report, I showcase a few companies each month, and we take the opportunity here on the Friday Five to share some of those companies each week with you.

Today, our companies to watch are CarIQ and BlueSpace.ai.


First up, we have CarIQ, founded in 2001, and located in Oakland, California.


CarIQ is the first payment solution developed for fleet vehicles, enabling vehicles to autonomously initiate and complete payments for services such as fuel, tolls, parking and more.


Our second Company to Watch this week is BlueSpace.ai, founded in 2019 and located in Santa Clara, California.


BlueSpace.ai is a software company that was founded to solve the “black box” problem of perception and prediction in autonomous driving.


Their software uses an innovative approach to perception and prediction that captures the full motion of any object.


So that’s your weekly FRIDAY FIVE, a quick wrap-up of the big deals in automotive technology over the past week.


If you’re an early stage automotive technology entrepreneur looking to raise money, or an entrepreneur who wants to chat about the best timing and process to sell your company to achieve the best outcome, I’d love to discuss with you. Visit https://www.automotiveventures.com for more information.

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