Air Taxi Startup Joby Aviation, Backed by Toyota, Uber, and Intel, Considers IPO

By Adriaan Brits Friday, January 22, 2021

Air taxi startup Joby Aviation, backed by Toyota Motors, Uber Technologies, and Intel Corp., is considering going public via a merger with a blank-check acquisition company at a valuation of roughly $5 billion.

Man looking out the window of an airplane.

Business Valued at Around $5 Billion

The company has reportedly hired investment banks to seek interest from special purpose acquisition companies, or SPAC, about a potential merger.

Joby is a Santa Cruz-based all-electric, zero-emissions aircraft developer, which plans to become an air taxi service by 2023. Since its launch in 2009, the business has secured over $800 million in private funding and reached a market valuation of $2.6 billion last year.

Rather than going public via a traditional IPO (initial public offering), the business is considering making its public debut through a SPAC, which is becoming an increasingly popular option. A SPAC refers to a shell company that secures funding in an IPO in a bid to acquire a private company, which after the merger becomes a public company.

The company’s competitor, Blade Urban Air Mobility, went public via SPAC last month when it merged with Blade, Experience Investment Corp.

Last month, the business took over Uber’s flying taxi branch Elevate. In exchange, Uber acquired a stake in Joby. The rideshare business agreed to invest $75 million in the aircraft developing startup.

Uber’s investment in the air taxi startup comes on top of the previously undisclosed $50 million investment made during the company’s Series C fundraising round in January last year. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2021, bringing Uber’s total investment in Joby to $125 million.

“We were proud to partner with Uber Elevate last year and we’re even prouder to be welcoming them into the Joby team today, while deepening our cooperation with Uber. The team at Uber Elevate has not only played an important role in our industry, they have also developed a remarkable set of software tools that build on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility. These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch,” JoeBen Bevirt, a founder and chief executive of Joby, said in a statement.

Summary

Joby Aviation, the startup that works to develop an all-electric air taxi, is exploring a deal to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which would take its business valuation to roughly $5 billion.

About the Author


Headshot for author Adriaan Brits
As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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