Aeva, The Lidar company, started by two former Apple engineers, has made an additional $ 200 million in private investment from Hong Kong hedge fund Sylabra Capital prior to its debut as a publicly traded company.
The Mountain View, California-based startup announced in fall 2020 that it was merging with special purpose acquisition company Interpretive Acquisition Corp., which had a post-market valuation of $ 2.1 billion. The new investment from Sylebra, a current holder of interpersonal common stock, brings total gross income that exceeds once it starts. $ 560 million according to the company.
Aeva previously raised $ 120 million in private investment in public equity or PIPE, including investments by Adage Capital and Porsche SE. Its combined company gross income, a figure that includes $ 243 million, was held in trust by Interpret, with additional investment at $ 363 million before Sylebra moved forward.
Crucially, Sylebra has entered into a one-year lock-up agreement on the majority of its investment and will vote all eligible shares in favor of the transaction. Aeva said the merger is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.
Aeva co-founder and CEO Sorus Salehian called the investment a “key vote of confidence” in the company’s business model and development plans. Aeva will use the additional $ 200 million to further invest in R&D and expand its programs in key verticals in automotive, consumer electronics and industrial applications, Salehian said in an emailed comment to TechCrunch.
“We have seen an increase in customer interest in the last few months for our unique 4D LiDAR technology in all these areas and additional resources will allow us to rapidly overcome this increased demand,” he said.
Lidar, measuring light and radar, measures distances using laser light to generate a highly accurate 3D map of the world around the car. Avia’s founders Salehian and Mina Rezak developed what they call the “4D LIDAR”, which can measure accelerated velocity as well as distance without losing distance, all while preventing interference from the Sun or other sensors. The company’s FMCW technology also uses less power, converting this perception to software.
LIDAR sensors are widely considered important for commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles. However, the sensor has several other use cases that Lidar companies have begun to pursue as the road to commercialization of autonomous vehicles has become longer than expected. Over the past two years, the automaker has begun to see LIDAR as an important sensor used to boost the capabilities and safety of its advanced driver assistance systems in new cars, trucks, and SUVs available to consumers . Aeva’s technology has been developed primarily for use in autonomous vehicles as well as advanced driving assistance systems, Salehian said, adding that its technology is also increasing the interest of those in consumer electronics.
Aeva is one of a handful of LIDAR companies to avoid the traditional IPO path and go public through SPAC mergers. Velodine and Luminaire has also merged To become publicly traded companies with SPACs. Lidar startup Oster announced in December that it had agreed to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Colonelnad Acquisition Corp.