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How did Lucid Motors perform its first day on the NASDAQ? How much did Rivian raise in a recent funding round?

Welcome to another edition of The Friday 5 with Steve Greenfield, Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an auto technology advisory firm that helps entrepreneurs raise money and maximize the value of their companies.

The Electric Vehicle SPAC and IPO market continue to be very hot and we’ve had a number hit the public markets this past week.

Lucid Motors

Shares of Lucid Motors climbed 11% during their first day of trading after the electric-vehicle company completed a blank-check merger ahead of plans to launch production later this year.

The company announced the SPAC deal in February amid a wave of investor enthusiasm for blank-check mergers, which allow businesses to go public through combinations with shell companies while avoiding a traditional initial public offering. The transaction injected $4.4 billion dollars into Lucid on terms that valued the company at $24 billion dollars.

Lucid Motors hopes to start selling its Lucid Air, a luxury electric sedan built at Lucid’s factory in Arizona, in the second half of this year.

Faraday Future

Electric vehicle maker Faraday Future debuted on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

The California-based EV startup has no product offerings yet and plans to produce a limited-edition $180,000 EV in the next 12 months

Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting, who filed for bankruptcy in 2019, founded Faraday in 2014 and now serves as its chief product and chief user officer.

REE Automotive

REE Automotive completed its merger with 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp. REE’s Class A ordinary shares and warrants started trading last Friday on Nasdaq.

REE has developed a modular, fully-flat skateboard chassis with more room for passengers, cargo and batteries that will be highly adaptable to customers. Platforms using REE can fit any vehicle size and design, power-source and driving mode, enabling REE to target a $700 billion dollar total addressable market and help OEMs, delivery fleets, Mobility-as-a-Service providers and new mobility players get to market faster and at a fraction of the cost.

Olive.com & PayLink Direct

In other SPAC news, Vehicle protection plans provider Olive.com and its affiliate PayLink Direct have agreed to go public in a deal with Franklin McLarty’s MDH Acquisition Corp. that will give the combined business a valuation of about $960 million dollars including debt.

McLarty, who has links to three prominent U.S. dealership groups, is chairman of MDH, which launched in February.

Olive.com sells extended vehicle warranties online to replace manufacturer guarantees once they expire. It mostly covers cars that are from six to 12 years old.

Rivian

Rivian has closed a $2.5 billion dollar private funding round led by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, D1 Capital Partners, Ford Motor Company and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price.

Third Point, Fidelity Investments, Dragoneer Investment Group and Coatue Management also participated in the round.

Rivian has raised roughly $10.5 billion dollars to date. The company did not share a post-money valuation.

The electric automaker, which now employs 7,000 and is preparing to deliver its R1T pickup truck in September, last raised funds in January. That round brought in $2.65 billion dollars, which pushed Rivian’s valuation to $27.6 billion dollars.

Rivian recently announced a decision to delay deliveries of its R1T truck and R1S SUV from this summer to September due to delays in production caused by “cascading impacts of the pandemic,” particularly the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips.

Magna International

Canadian auto supplier Magna International will buy Swedish rival Veoneer for about $3.8 billion dollars in cash, in a deal that would help expand its driver assistance technologies business.

Stockholm-based Veoneer — which spun off from longtime safety equipment supplier Autoliv in 2018 — will be combined with Magna’s existing advanced driver assistance systems business.

Magna ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $32.6 billion dollars in 2020.

Relay Payments

Relay Payments, an Atlanta financial technology startup for logistics, is raising a $60 million dollar round of financing.

The startup provides instant electronic payments for the trucking industry, allowing for a similar experience as Venmo or PayPal. That makes transactions more efficient and reduces the spread of germs.

The electronic platform became more attractive in the trucking industry, strained by demand and safety concerns over the past year and a half.

Navmatic

Electric scooter operator Superpedestrian has acquired Navmatic, a startup that helps micromobility operators locate vehicles and correct their movements in real time.

The companies did not reveal the details of the acquisition, which was finalized last month. Those close to the deal say the number is not far off from Navmatic’s last funding round, which was $4 million raised in seed funding last June.

The Navmatic purchase means Superpedestrian can apply the startup’s Super Fusion technology to enhance its vehicle safety systems. Pedestrian Defense, as the new system is called, can detect unsafe riding behaviors — like riding the wrong way down a one-way street, aggressively swerving, sidewalk riding or repeated hard braking — and either notify the rider or correct the rider’s behavior in real time by slowing or stopping the scooter. Riders receive a safety rating at the end of the ride that is used to deliver customized safety training, to incentivize good behavior via discounts or to blacklist chronically unsafe riders.

Rodo

Rodo announced that it closed an $18 million dollar Series B financing round led by Holman Enterprises and Evolution VC Partners. The round also includes participation from existing investor IAC along with Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Productions Ventures and auto industry veterans Mack McLarty, Vice Chairman of RML Automotive Inc, and Franklin McLarty, Chairman and CEO of McLarty Diversified Holdings and Ken Schnitzer, former Chairman of Park Place Automotive Group.

The latest round brings Rodo’s total funding to $45 million dollars as the company prepares to scale its dealership network nationwide and invest in marketing and customer acquisition.

Rodo claims to be the only end-to-end solution where a consumer can lease or purchase a new car (or sell an old one) in minutes with same-day delivery service. Rodo does not buy or maintain expensive fleets or inventory, instead it partners with local dealers across the US, extending dealerships’ digital reach while offering consumers an on-demand experience to instantly lease, purchase, and finance a new vehicle, entirely from their mobile device.

Onto

In international news this week, Onto has raised $175 million dollars in a combined equity and debt Series B round, capital the U.K.-based electric vehicle subscription startup plans to use to expand within the country as well as move into new markets.

This latest round brings Onto’s total funding to $245 million dollars. Swedish VC Alfvén & Didrikson is leading the round on the equity raise, and British investment company Pollen Street Capital is providing a senior-secured asset-backed debt facility.

The car-as-a-service company is finding that sweet spot between society’s growing adoration for subscription services and EV adoption driven by legislation. The U.K., like many other countries, is banning internal combustion engine new car sales by 2030, so more people are looking for ways to make the switch to electric.

Trade X

Trade X, the global cross-border B2B vehicle trading platform, announced a $44 million CAD (or $35 million USD) equity investment from Toronto-based holding company Aimia Inc.

TRADE X may issue an additional $10 million USD of convertible preferred shares to other strategic investors in a subsequent holding no later than Aug. 6. This would be meant for TRADE X to hit its target round size of $45 million USD.

TRADE X plans to use the investment for strategic acquisitions and for expanding its platform to dealers, fleet, rental and mobility solutions provider. The company also intends on using it the investment to expand its solution to importers and exporters throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

TRADE X completed this new financing round at a pre-money valuation of $314 million CAD (or $250 million USD).

WeRide.ai

Chinese driverless car start-up WeRide.ai has made its first acquisition, autonomous trucking company MoonX.ai, as it looks to commercialize self-driving technology.

The transaction details were not disclosed.

More than 50 engineers from MoonX.ai will join WeRide.

WeRide’s acquisition highlights the rapid push to commercialize driverless technology in China as competition intensifies. The company’s rivals include other start-ups like pony.ai and autoX, both based in south China, as well as technology giant Baidu.

Venti Technologies

Venti Technologies, who is developing self-driving cargo trucks for the Singapore seaport, raised $8 million dollar in a funding round led by LDV Research Partners and Alpha JWC Ventures.

Self-driving cars are still years away from being practical. So autonomous-vehicle startup Venti Technologies isn’t waiting around. Venti, based in Boston, is targeting the far less glamorous market for “yard trucks” — the tugboat-like vehicles that shuffle cargo inside seaports, rail yards, and factories.

Cobli

Brazil’s fleet management startup Cobli announced a $35 million dollarQualcomm Ventures Series B round led by SoftBank. The round also included and funds NXTP Ventures, Fifth Wall, and Valor Capital Group, which were already investors in the company.

The startup proposes to explore vehicle data to improve, for example, insurance pricing. Just as for individuals, in Brazil, insurance for company fleets takes into account socio-economic data, such as gender, location, and age of the driver, for product pricing.

Company 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 company to watch is Quantum5.

Quantum5

Quantum5 helps dealers to digitally transform the automotive buying experience by shifting to a lifetime value model versus the transactional model of the past.

Using a social advocacy learning platform, Quantum5 delivers training on the key people skills and behavioral tactics needed to succeed in today’s increasingly digital world. Once the initial training process is completed, AI-driven analysis continues to support and improve performance results through personalized delivery skills training.

All of this is supported by community managers who know automotive and are available to lead and support the team.

The result? An advocacy program that builds lifetime value for customers and enables dealership staff to learn how they live.

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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 is trying to decide whether and when they should raise money or sell their business, I’d love to speak with you.

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So that’s your weekly Friday 5, a quick wrap-up of the big deals in automotive technology over the past week.

It’s an exciting time to be in the automotive space, with a ton of deals going on. Make sure you stay tuned in each week to stay up to date on the auto industry’s technology M&A activity. I’ll keep my fingers on the pulse of deals being done, so I can share updates with you.

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 it with you at steve@automotive.ventures.

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Besides having an outstanding, extremely talented, and hardworking team up here at the studio, I greatly appreciate the valuable role that CBT News plays in the automotive industry.

Every day, I eagerly look forward to my morning email from CBT News to ensure I’m getting the most up-to-date and relevant information on the industry.

I encourage you to tune in to CBT News to ensure that you’re getting the automotive news that matters.


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Steve Greenfield
Steve Greenfield
Steve is the Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an automotive technology advisory firm that helps entrepreneurs raise money and maximize the value of their companies. They also assist PE firms to conduct due diligence on automotive technology acquisitions, advise technology CEOs on strategy, and help represent sellers at the time of sale.

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