Joby, Air Taxi Startup Backed by Uber and Toyota, Will Go Public via $6.6 Billion SPAC Merger

By Mariliana Fotopoulou Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Joby Aviation, an electric air taxi startup company, will go public in a $6.6 billion SPAC deal, or special acquisition purpose company, with Reinvent Technology Partners.

Businessman signing a contract.

Another SPAC Deal

The aerospace business startup, which is backed by Toyota Motor Corp and Uber Technologies, will make its public debut via a reverse merger with a SPAC, led by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, and veteran investor Michael Thompson.

The SPAC merger, which is expected to close in the second quarter, will arm Joby with $1.6 billion in cash. The post-equity business valuation of the company is reported at $6.6 billion. Startup Savant reported last month that Joby Aviation had plans for an initial public offering (IPO) for 2021.

“Today’s transaction lets us look ahead to the next decade and provides us with the resources we need to bring our vision to life. Since our very first meeting it was clear that Reinvent shared our fundamental desire to have a positive, long-term impact on the world and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them onboard,” said JoeBen Bevirt, a founder and CEO of the company.

The air taxi startup plans to start the commercial passenger service in 2024 with its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) airplane. Other noteworthy air taxi rivals include German startups Volocopter and Lilium.

The California-based company has so far secured $800 million in funding from VCs, including the Series C round headed by Toyota last year when the company raised $620 million and reached a valuation of over $2 billion. Other early backers included JetBlue, Intel, and investment management firm, Baillie Gifford.

“We did months of due diligence -- we got the same universal signal. These guys have got everything (to) redefine this new space...I think of Joby as Tesla meets Uber in the air,” Hoffman said.

Joby Aviation has partnered up with Toyota to build a production facility in California to design its four-passenger eVTOL aircraft. Last year, the air taxi startup acquired Uber Elevate. Under the terms of this partnership, the rideshare business is set to provide data to Joby Aviation’s air taxi business.

“Toyota’s involvement has really accelerated our manufacturing ramp — they are the key to unlocking global scale for us,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and chief executive of Joby Aviation.

The blank-check company Reinvent raised $835 million from asset management giants, including BlackRock, Fidelity, and Baillie Gifford. Those three companies have also invested in other transportation startups such as Tesla, Uber, and Rivian.

Furthermore, the air taxi business startup also announced it is hiring Matthew Allen Field, who joins from Ford, as a chief financial officer (CFO).

Summary

Air taxi startup Joby Aviation says it will go public via a SPAC deal with Reinvent, which provides the company with a business valuation of $6.6 billion.

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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