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Lidar Startup Innoviz Technologies to Go Public in a $1.4 Billion SPAC Deal, Shares Will be Listed on the NASDAQ

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【Summary】Lidar startup Innoviz Technologies is set to become the third lidar company to go public in recent months in a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Collective Growth Corporation. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. The combined company is expected to have an estimated equity value of approximately $1.4 billion and to be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “INVZ”.

Eric Walz    Dec 11, 2020 12:30 PM PT
Lidar Startup Innoviz Technologies to Go Public in a $1.4 Billion SPAC Deal, Shares Will be Listed on the NASDAQ

Lidar startup Innoviz Technologies is set to become the third lidar company to go public in recent months in a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), following Velodyne Lidar Inc. and Luminar Technologies Inc.

Innoviz plans to become a publicly listed company through business combination with Collective Growth Corporation (NASDAQ: CGRO). The transaction sponsored by Antara Capital LP and Perception Capital Partners LLC. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

The combined company is expected to have an estimated equity value of approximately $1.4 billion and to be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol "INVZ".

The Transaction will provide up to $350 million in gross proceeds consisting of CGRO's $150 million in cash held in trust, assuming no redemptions, and $200 million from a fully committed ordinary share PIPE at $10.00 per share led by Antara Capital.

It deal also includes strategic investments from Magna International, Innoviz's Tier-1 partner. 

Other Innoviz partners and investors include Samsung-Harman, Aptiv, Magma Venture Partners, SoftBank Ventures Asia, China Merchants Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group and Israel's largest insurance group Harel Insurance Investments.

"Innoviz continues to push the boundaries of LiDAR performance and price. Our engineers, along with our partner Magna International, have been working tirelessly to bring a solution that automakers can adopt at scale and trust to perform safely and reliably for the entire lifecycle of their vehicles. This milestone is pivotal for our continued growth and the advancement of the autonomous vehicle industry as a whole," said Omer Keilaf, Innoviz CEO. "The public listing is a major step on our path to becoming one of the dominant players in the global autonomous driving industry."

Innoviz was founded in 2016 and is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company is a global developer of high-performance, solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software for autonomous vehicles. The transaction will allow Innoviz to capitalize on significant growth opportunities in the auto industry, as well as expand its product roadmap.      

The term "lidar" is an acronym for "light detection and ranging". Lidar sensors send out pulses of laser light that bounce off objects to provide a 3D image of a vehicle's surroundings known as a lidar point cloud. The technology is considered an essential sensor for self-driving cars and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). It acts as the "eyes" of an autonomous vehicle and is often combined with cameras and radar.

Lidar is becoming an important technology for the world's automakers developing vehicles capable of autonomous driving or those equipped with ADAS, which includes such systems as Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).  As a result, the new crop of lidar startups are lining up to secure contracts with the world's automakers.

Newly listed public company Luminar for example, has secured a supply deal with Volvo Cars, while Silicon Valley-based Velodyne Lidar Inc. announced a three-year supply deal with China's Baidu in October for the company's Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform. Velodyne also supplies U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co with lidar. 

Innoviz Has a Supply Deal with BMW

Innoviz inked its supply deal with BMW back in 2018. The automaker chose the company's InnovizOne solid-state LiDAR sensor for its future series production vehicles. BMW's deal with Innoviz in 2018 was one of the first contracts for solid-state LiDAR, which is more reliable that conventional mechanical lidar sensors while still meeting the requirements for automakers for cost, range and resolution.

"Our goal is to offer safe driver assistance functions for our customers by using state-of-the-art sensors and creating a robust modular system. We are focusing on developing automated driving technology by using LiDAR sensors. Innoviz is one of our strongest partners that is enabling us to develop the future of automated driving," said Nicolai Martin, Senior VP Automated Driving and Driver Assistance at BMW.

BMW said it selected the company's InnovizOne for its unique micro-electro-mechanical system design (MEMs), as well as for its advanced computer vision capabilities for object detection and classification, which is necessary to support safe level 3 to 5 autonomous driving.

Innoviz was also one of the first lidar companies to develop perception software to accompany its lidar sensors. Many other industry participants followed Innoviz's approach, including Velodyne, which offers its own ADAS software solution for its Velarray lidar sensor.

The perception software is designed to complement other Innoviz hardware offerings. It includes advanced AI and machine learning-based classification, detection and tracking features, the company said. Innoviz is working on computer vision, HD mapping and other technology to better support an entire autonomous driving stack. 

The InnovizOne is being manufactured by Magna International, one of the world's largest automotive component suppliers. Magna supplies parts to BMW, Tesla, Mercedes Benz, GM and others.

"Working with companies like Innoviz to transform innovative technologies into game-changing automotive-grade products is a win for our customers and the industry as we tackle challenges that come with autonomous vehicle development," said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna International President and incoming Chief Executive Officer.

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In addition to Magna International, Innoviz has established several partnerships with other Tier 1 automotive suppliers, such as U.S. company HARMAN, Aptiv and China's HiRain

Innoviz recently announced the InnovizTwo, a lower cost, yet technologically advanced lidar sensor for OEM customers at a mass-market price point.

The InnovizTwo offers a significant cost reduction and performance improvement compared to InnovizOne, the company said. It's designed to meet the price target so car manufacturers can offer level 2 autonomous capable vehicles today while paving the path to full L3 automation through data collection and software updates. 

Innoviz has been named one of the Top Three Startups at Automobility LA, as well as being a two-time CES Innovation Award winner. The company also received an Atlas Award in 2018 for best Israeli startup.

Innoviz said it's focused on the consumer vehicle market, since its the largest market for lidar technology, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the total addressable market.

Gaining a foothold in the consumer vehicle market is expected to help Innoviz expand into broader LiDAR applications, such as robotaxis and autonomous delivery vehicles. Lidar also has many applications outside of the auto industry, for drones, security and surveillance applications, Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021 and is subject to regulatory and stockholder approvals and other customary closing conditions.  

Following completion of the transaction, Innoviz will retain its experienced management team. Founder Omer Keilaf will continue to serve as CEO.

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