AI Truck Startup Plus to Go Public via $3.3 Billion SPAC Deal

By Mariliana Fotopoulou Monday, May 10, 2021

Plus, an autonomous trucks startup previously known as Plus.ai, announced today an agreement to merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V.

A self-driving truck.

AI Truck Startup Attracts Huge Attention from Investors

Plus, which is developing the latest artificial intelligence (AI) truck technology, will go public via SPAC merger in a business deal valued at $3.3 billion. Once the business merger is finally closed, the AI truck business will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol “PLAV.”

“This transaction enables Plus to continue growing our business globally, so that fleets and drivers can benefit from our revolutionary technology and usher in a new generation of innovation. At the same time, the transaction introduces a partner in HCIC V that shares our focus on sustainable technology and infrastructure, is aligned on our growth and value creation objectives, and recognizes the challenges trucking companies face today,” David Liu, CEO and co-founder of Plus, said.

The new autonomous trucks company will receive business proceeds of $500 million from this SPAC deal, including a private investment of $150 million, coming from investors such as BlackRock and D.E. Shaw group, among others.

The SPAC deal will also receive a boost from a fully committed common stock PIPE at $10 per share, or $150 million. Under the terms of this business deal, Plus’s existing shareholders will convert 100% of their stakes into the combined entity and will gain roughly 80% of the combined company after the deal is closed.

Plus, a California-headquartered startup company founded in 2016, develops AI systems for heavy trucks known as PlusDrive. These systems can be both installed on trucks or attached as an additional feature to vehicles in production.

The AI technology developed by the startup company utilizes sophisticated sensing tools, including radar, LiDAR, and cameras, providing the vehicle with a 360-degree sensing system. The sensing technology gathers data from its surroundings and plans its course accordingly, anticipates the movement of nearby objects, and runs the vehicle to make its next move safely.

Plus is set to enter the mass production of PlusDrive this year in collaboration with the largest heavy-truck manufacturer FAW, a company that produced more heavy-duty trucks last year than both the US and European markets. Plus has also partnered up with several largest fleets in the US and China to navigate commercial freight operations.

CEO Liu confirmed his startup company is “on track” to start mass production of AI trucks this year.

A SPAC merger comes just three months after the AI truck startup company secured $200 million in February in a business funding round led by Guotai Junan International and private equity firm CPE. On the other hand, Hennessy Capital Investment secured $345 million in business funds after its public debut in January this year.

Summary

The AI truck startup company Plus announced it has agreed to merge with SPAC Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V in a business deal valued at $3.3 billion. The company is “on track” to start mass production of AI trucks this year, the CEO confirmed today.

About the Author


Headshot of Mariliana Fotopoulou

Mariliana has an MSC in Consumer Analytics and Business Strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and Big Data.

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