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Lidar Startup Luminar Going Public through Reverse Merger

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read
Lidar Startup Luminar Going Public through Reverse Merger
Photo: Shutterstock

Luminar, a Florida-based startup that makes LIDAR sensors and other components essential for autonomous driving technology, is the latest transportation company to go public via a “reverse merger” with a special acquisition company, or SPAC.

Automotive sensor startup Luminar Technologies Inc said on Monday it plans to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Gores Metropoulos Inc (NASDAQ: GMHI) that has been valued approximately $2.9 billion.

The whole package incorporates $400 million of cash from Gores Metropoulos and $170 million financing by investors among which are tech billionaire Peter Thiel, GoPro Inc (NASDAQ: GPRO.O) founder Nick Woodman, Volvo Cars Tech Fund and VectoIQ, the firm that helped Nikola Corp (NASDAQ: NKLA) go public through a SPAC, also known as a blank-check firm. All of this makes Luminar deal worth $3.4 billion.

Luminar is a lidar sensor producer and it also makes software for vehicles. Lidar sensors use laser light pulses to provide exact images of the setting and overall situation around the vehicle and are seen as essential by many automakers in order to allow higher levels of driver assistance right up to making them capable of self-driving.

Luminar Chief Executive Austin Russell said:

“The level of certainty that it can provide as part of an IPO process is definitely very valuable in an interview of the SPAC deal.”

The combined company will retain the name Luminar Technologies Inc and list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “LAZR.”

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Luminar Going Public: Rare Opportunity to Invest

Alec Gores, CEO of Gores Metropoulos, stated that “Luminar represents a rare opportunity to invest in the leading player in autonomous driving technology for cars and trucks.” Gores will also join the Luminar board.

Last month Luminar revealed it plans the expansion of leadership as it enters its next phase of growth in automotive, onboarding five top industry executives. During the next 18 months, the company intends to scale its technology into series production, starting with Volvo in 2022, and will begin shipping its Iris sensing and perception platform in the next 12 months.

Tom Fennimore, previously global head of automotive for Goldman Sachs and most recently at Jefferies Group LLC, joined the company as its new CFO. Fennimore has previously led many financial enterprises within the industry, including Tesla and Mobileye’s IPOs.

Completely New Board of Directors

Matthew Simoncini, former president, CEO, and director at Lear Corp., also joined Luminar’s board of directors.

Marc Losewitz and Aaron Jefferson, former ZF Group executives in ADAS, joined Luminar as vice president of automotive business development and vice president of product, respectively. Losewitz led the global Active and Passive Safety product lines with direct responsibility for building and maintaining over a $1 billion P&L. Jefferson was a leader of the cross-functional product management organization with a focus on ADAS and related products. Jason Rudd also joined and that’s the man who served for 11 years as Mobileye’s senior director OEM and tier 1 sales. Rudd will be driving Luminar’s growing European business presence and programs.

Prior to these additions, Luminar also appointed Lonnie Bernardoni as vice president, supply chain, to boost the production of the company’s Iris sensing technology for 2022 series production. Bernardoni previously served as vice president of supply chain and operations at Magic Leap.

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Teuta Franjkovic

Experienced creative professional focusing on financial and political analysis, editing daily newspapers and news sites, economical and political journalism, consulting, PR and Marketing. Teuta’s passion is to create new opportunities and bring people together.

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