Flying Car Startup Joby To Go Public Under SPAC of LinkedIn, Farmville Founders

Joby Aviation aims to launch its urban air taxi service in 2024. Joby Aviation

Despite the tech stock rout this week, the electric vehicle SPAC boom shows no sign of slowing down. On Wednesday, Reinvent Technology Partners, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) launched by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus announced a reverse merger with Joby Aviation, the startup that acquired Uber’s flying car division late last year to take the company public.

The reverse merger will value the combined company at $6.6 billion, including about $1.6 billion in cash proceeds to fund Joby through the launch of its urban air-taxi service. The deal is expected to finalize in the second quarter of 2021. The merged company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Joby makes electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft aimed at flying passengers in urban settings. Along with the merger announcement on Wednesday, Joby released a video showcasing one of its electric planes in flight. The company said its aircraft can reach a top speed of 200 mph and travel 150 miles on a single charge.

“While traveling is central to human existence, it’s often painfully inefficient and is only getting worse,” Joby’s executive chairman Paul Sciarra said in a statement. “Aerial ridesharing will drive a generational shift in how we travel this century, just as the railroad and the jet aircraft did in previous centuries.”

 

Also on Wednesday, Joby announced the appointment of current Ford CFO Matthew Allen Field as its new financial chief, effective March 5. Field has spent the past two decades at Ford in a variety of roles, including the auto giant’s chief auditor and CFO of Lincoln.

“Advances in technology are breaking down long-standing industry barriers and opening up remarkable new opportunities for traveling by air,” Field said in a statement. “The team at Joby is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the untapped potential to take transportation vertical, and I’m humbled to be joining them at such an exciting moment in their history.”

Since its founding in 2016, Joby has raised over $700 million from investors including Toyota, Intel and JetBlue. Its Uber deal in December involved the ride-sharing giant investing $75 million in the merged company. Uber had invested $50 million in Joby in an undisclosed funding round in January 2020.

Joby aims to launch an operational air taxi service by 2024. Another young Silicon Valley startup, Archer Aviation, is aiming a similar time frame for a similar service. Archer recently scored a SPAC deal worth $3.8 billion with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. to go public.

“In Joby we see a remarkable founder-led team that has quietly delivered the most advanced technology we’ve seen in this sector,” Reid said on Wednesday. “Through our venture capital at scale approach, we are committed to Joby’s long-term success as it continues on its journey to revolutionize commutes and drive decades of innovation in human movement.”

Flying Car Startup Joby To Go Public Under SPAC of LinkedIn, Farmville Founders