ChargePoint acquires Amsterdam-based electric fleet manager ViriCiti

ChargePoint has made its second acquisition since going public in March, purchasing European electric fleet management company ViriCiti for €75 million ($88 million) in cash. The news comes just a few weeks after the EV charging network operator announced the purchase of European charging software company has·to·be.

Like the has·to·be buy, this newer deal will beef up ChargePoint’s portfolio of hardware and vehicle management software for electric fleet customers, as well as add another 2,500 networked ports and 3,500 connected vehicles to its growing portfolio. ViriCiti customers include Chicago Transit Authority, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, British public transportation company Arriva and Berlin’s main public transport service Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe.

Beyond this customer base, ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano told TechCrunch the acquisition of ViriCiti will give the company access to a much larger software feature set for customers beyond ChargePoint’s core offerings of charger management and vehicle charger scheduling, like battery health monitoring, vehicle operations data and greater vehicle telematics capabilities.

“It’s really important for us here to make it easy for fleets to electrify and this [acquisition] is all about making us continually having the most complete offering for fleets,” Romano said.

ChargePoint operates the largest vehicle charging network in North America, with more than 115,000 charging points globally. The company also offers customers access to another 113,000 public charging spots through network roaming agreements. While the company might be best known for this extensive branded network, it also has a cloud subscription platform, as well as a considerable commercial and fleet division. The company went public in March after merging with blank-check company Switchback Energy Acquisition Corporation.

Some of ViriCiti’s services, like battery health monitoring, could be applicable for residential customers, or even simply for fleet customers that let employees take home or use a company vehicle full-time. “If you have vehicles that go home with the driver […] it would stand to reason that what you need to do in the take-home scenario is, your infrastructure needs to look like a logical extension of the infrastructure that you would have in your depots. So we’re pleasantly surprised at how much commercial and residential relevance there is.”

Crucially, ChargePoint will also be absorbing ViriCiti’s more than 50-person workforce, a whole team of mostly software engineers that will transfer their expertise to the new company. “If you just want to see evidence of where our mindset is, look at how many software engineers [are] in the sum total of those two acquisitions,” Romano said. “It’s the majority of both of those companies’ staffs are engineers, and they’re all software in general […] You can see where our focus is in terms of in terms of investment.”

#automotive, #chargepoint, #electric-vehicles, #ev-charging-network, #hastobe, #ma, #tc, #transportation, #viriciti

#DealMonitor – Jokr sammelt 170 Millionen ein – ChargePoint übernimmt has.to.be – LivePerson schluckt e-bot7


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 21. Juli werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Jokr
+++ GGV Capital, Balderton Capital, Activant Capital, Greycroft, Kaszek, Monashees und FJ Labs sowie die Altinvestoren Tiger Global und HV Capital investieren 170 Millionen US-Dollar in Jokr. Hinter dem Quick Commerce-Dienst, der Lebensmittel in 15 Minuten liefert, steckt insbesondere Foodpanda-Gründer Ralf Wenzel, zuletzt Managing Partner bei SoftBank. Zum Gründungsteam gehören zudem Benjamin Bauer, Sven Grajetzki, Konstantin Sorger und Aspa Lekka. Jokr setzt anders als goPuff, Getir, Gorillas und Flink auf sogenannte Emerging Markets. Derzeit ist das Unternehmen etwa in Mexiko City, Sao Paulo, Warschau und Wien unterwegs. Mit diesem Konzept sammelte Gorillas aus Berlin zuletzt 244 Millionen ein und stieg nicht einmal ein Jahr nach dem Start zum Unicorn auf. In der Szene kursierte schon vor Wochen in Bezug auf Jokr eine Investmentsumme von rund rund 100 Millionen Dollar. “We are building an Amazon on steroids”, sagte Jokr-Gründer Wenzel der Nachrichten-Agentur Reuters vor einigen Wochen zum offiziellen Start des Unternehmens. Mehr über Jokr

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

has.to.be
+++ Der amerikanische Ladeinfrastrukturanbieter ChargePoint übernimmt has.to.be, eine Jungfirma, die auf Software zum Thema E-Mobilitäts-setzt.  “Aus der Vereinbarung geht hervor, dass ChargePoint has·to·be für einen Gesamtkaufpreis von etwa 250 Millionen Euro, vorbehaltlich einer Anpassung übernimmt und der Kaufpreis sowohl in bar als auch Aktien gezahlt wird. Die offizielle Übernahme wird voraussichtlich bis zum Ende des Kalenderjahres 2021, vorbehaltlich aller behördlichen Genehmigungen und anderer üblicher Abschlussbedingungen stattfinden”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. has.to.be, 2013 von Martin Klässner und Alexander Kirchgasser gegründet, beschäftigt derzeit rund 125 Mitarbeiter:innen in Radstadt im Land Salzburg und Niederlassungen in München und Wien. Seit 2019 ist Volkswagen an has.to.be beteiligt – mit 25 %. Der Verkauf von has.to.be gilt als der größte Exit in der österreichischen Startup-Geschichte.
Jubiwee
+++ Coyo übernimmt die französische People-Analytics-Plattform Jubiwee. “Durch die Integration von Jubiwee beschleunigt COYO seine Internationalisierung außerhalb der DACH-Region und fügt der eigenen Plattform ein weiteres mächtiges Tool hinzu”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Hamburger Unternehmen Coyo wurde 2010 von Jan Marius Marquardt gegründet – zunächst als IT-Beratungsagentur (Mindmash). Seit 2012 bietet Coyo eine Social-Intranet-Software an. Bis zum vergangenen Jahr setzte Gründer Marquardt komplett auf Bootstrapping. Dann investierte die amerikanische Investmentfirma Marlin Equity Partners eine zweistellige Millionensumme in das Unternehmen. Mehr über Coyo

e-bot7
+++ Das amerikanische Unternehmen LivePerson, eine Cloud-basierte Plattform, die es Unternehmen ermöglicht, in Echtzeit mit ihren Kunden über Chat, Voice oder Content aktiv in Kontakt zu treten, übernimmt e-bot7. Das Münchner Startup, das 2016 von Fabian Beringer, Xaver Lehmann und Maximilian Gerer gegründet wurde, entwickelt und integriert künstliche Intelligenz und Deep Learning in bestehende CRM-Kundenservice-Systeme. RTP Global, 42CAP, main incubator und Co, investieren 2019 rund 5,5 Millionen Euro in e-bot7. Zuletzt war eine neue Investmentrunde geplant. “Die Übernahme bietet für beide Unternehmen die Möglichkeit, ihr Engagement in den Schlüsselmärkten Deutschland, Frankreich, Großbritannien und den Benelux-Ländern zu erhöhen”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. e-bot7 bleibt auch nach der Übernahme als Marke erhalten. Die e-bot7.Gründer “werden das Unternehmen weiterhin führen, in enger Zusammenarbeit mit Jerry Haywood, SVP EMEA bei LivePerson”.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #chargepoint, #coyo, #e-bot7, #hamburg, #has-to-be, #jubiwee, #liveperson, #munchen, #radstadt, #venture-capital

ChargePoint to buy European charging software startup for $295M

ChargePoint struck a deal to buy European charging software company has.to.be for €250 million ($295 million) in cash and stock, the electric vehicle charging network’s first acquisition since it became a publicly traded company.

Through the deal, ChargePoint gains more than just 125 employees and the company’s operating software, which manages more than 40,000 networked ports in Europe. The acquisition will give ChargePoint a boost in its pursuit to gain market share beyond North America and VW Group as a strategic partner.

VW Group was an early investor in has.to.be, which was founded in 2013, and will continue a relationship with ChargePoint along with other customers of the software company such as Ionity, Audi, Porsche, BP, Total, Lidl and GP Joule. ChargePopint will also add has.to.be offices in Munich, Salzburg and Vienna to its operations. 

ChargePoint designs, develops and manufactures hardware and accompanying software, as well as a cloud subscription platform, for electric vehicles. The company might be best-known for its branded public and semi-public charging spots that consumers use to charge their personal electric cars and SUVs, as well as its home chargers. However, ChargePoint also has a commercial-focused business that provides hardware and software to help fleet operators manage their delivery vans, buses and cars.

In all, the company has more than 115,000 charging spots globally. ChargePoint also offers access to an additional 133,000 public places to charge through network roaming integrations across North America and Europe.

“Our continued investment in Europe is critical to our stated growth strategy,” ChargePoint President and CEO Pasquale Romano said in a statement, later adding that the companies combined assets “should position us to accelerate our leadership as electrification continues to take hold across continents.”

ChargePoint agreed in September to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Switchback Energy Acquisition Corporation, with a market valuation of $2.4 billion. ChargePoint was able to raise $225 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE, led by institutional investors including Baillie Gifford and funds managed by Neuberger Berman Alternatives Advisors.

ChargePoint said at the time that it planned to use the new capital to expand in North America and Europe, improve its technology portfolio and significantly scale its commercial, fleet and residential businesses.

#automotive, #chargepoint, #electric-vehicles, #has-to-be, #tc, #transportation

GM partners with 7 charging networks ahead of electric vehicle push

GM revealed Wednesday a four-part plan meant to handle all the steps of charging an electric vehicle, including finding a public charger and paying for the power, as the automaker seeks ways to attract customers to the 30 EVs it plans to launch by 2025.

The so-called Ultium Charge 360 plan — named after the underlying electric vehicle platform and batteries of its upcoming EVs — aims to handle the access, payment and customer service components of charging an electric vehicle at home and on the road. As part of the plan, which the company’s chief EV officer Travis Hester said will be rolling out over the next 18 months, GM has signed agreements with seven third-party charging network providers including Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots and SemaConnect. Using their GM vehicle brand mobile app, EV drivers will be able to see real-time information, including location and whether a charger is being used, from nearly 60,000 charging plugs throughout the U.S. and Canada. These functions will be rolled into the existing brand apps GM has created for owners of its Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC vehicles.

The first GM and EVgo sites are now live in Washington, California and Florida. GM said each site is capable of delivering up to 350 kilowatts and averages four chargers per site. GM and EVgo are on track to have about 500 fast charging stalls live by the end of 2021, according to the automaker.

Hester noted the plan isn’t just about how many third-party networks it partners with. (Although it should be noted that Electrify America is not on its list of partners announced Wednesday).

“We know how critical the charging infrastructure is to our customers and how it plays a hugely significant role in EV adoption and experienced EV owners know that this is much more complicated than just a simple network quantity issue,” said Hester, GM’s chief EV officer said in a media briefing Wednesday.

For instance, the GM app will provide information on how to find stations along a route and initiate and pay for charging, Hester said. GM will continue to update the mobile app. GM is also planning to offer charging accessories and installation services for their home charger. The company Wednesday it will cover standard installation of Level 2 charging capability for eligible customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV in collaboration with Qmerit.

There were some gaps in the announcement, notably whether there would Plug and Charge capabilities. Plug and Charge is a technology standard that allows the driver of an EV to pull up to a station, plug in and power up their EV without having to launch an app to begin the charging process or to pay for it. Instead, the vehicle is able to communicate with the charging infrastructure and the payment is integrated into that process. Alex Keros, the lead architect for EV infrastructure at GM, said the company wasn’t making any announcements around Plug and Charge, but noted that the company knows “that enabling that seamless experiences is going to be an important part of that customer experience.”

#automotive, #chargepoint, #electric-vehicles, #evgo, #general-motors, #gm, #lithium-ion-batteries, #ultium

Polestar, ChargePoint introduce seamless charging in new partnership

A new alliance between Swedish electric performance automaker Polestar and EV infrastructure startup ChargePoint takes aim at the charging experience with the debut of an in-car app that will let customers seamlessly charge their Polestar 2 model vehicles.

Seamless charging—being able to pull up to a charging station, plug in and let the vehicle handle billing and payment—has been dominated by Tesla through its branded Supercharger network. Most other EV drivers have to pay for charging using an RFID card or smartphone, and the convenience level is on-par with a traditional gas station. The partnership eliminates the need for these extra items at ChargePoint’s more than 130,000 stations. The app will embed directly into Polestar 2’s in-car “infotainment system,” which runs on Google’s Android Automotive OS.

There have been some inroads into seamless charging elsewhere, most notably by Electrify America, the entity established by Volkswagen as part of its settlement with U.S. regulators over its diesel-emissions scandal. It introduced an in-car payment technology dubbed Plug&Charge last November that will allow 2021 models of the Porsche Taycan, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Lucid Air to seamlessly charge at its stations.

The partnership also takes aim at the buying experience, another area that Tesla’s cornered with its branded Wall Connector home charger. Polestar 2 drivers will now be able to order the $699 ChargePoint Home Flex home charger alongside the purchase of a Polestar 2 and arrange for home installation prior to vehicle delivery.

It’s a blueprint for future collaboration between the two companies, ChargePoint senior VP Bill Loewenthal said in a statement. The partnerships may be the start of many more alliances between automakers and EV infrastructure companies who see user experience as a key part of their value proposition.

#android, #automotive, #cars, #chargepoint, #charging-stations, #ecotality, #electric-vehicles, #electrify-america, #ev, #ford, #gas-station, #greentech, #li-auto, #mobility, #mustang, #polestar, #smartphone, #tc, #tesla, #transport, #transportation, #united-states

ChargeLab raises seed capital to be the software provider powering EV charging infrastructure

As money floods into the electric vehicle market a number of small companies are trying to stake their claim as the go-to provider of charging infrastructure. These companies are developing proprietary ecosystems that work for their own equipment but don’t interoperate.

ChargeLab, which has raised $4.3 million in seed financing led by Construct Capital and Root Ventures, is looking to be the software provider providing the chargers built by everyone else.

“You’ll find everyone in every niche and corner,” says ChargeLab chief executive Zachary Lefevre. Lefevre likens Tesla to Apple with its closed ecosystem and compares Chargepoint and Blink, two other electric vehicle charging companies to Blackberry — the once dominant smartphone maker. “What we’re trying to do is be android,” Lefevre said.

That means being the software provider for manufacturers like ABB, Schneider Electric and Siemens. “These guys are hardware makers up and down the value stack,” Lefevre said.

ChargeLab already has an agreement with ABB to be their default software provider as they go to market. The big industrial manufacturer is getting ready to launch their next charging product in North America.

As companies like REEF and Metropolis revamp garages and parking lots to service the next generation of vehicles, ChargeLab’s chief executive thinks that his software can power their EV charging services as they begin to roll that functionality out across the lots they own.

Lefevre got to know the electric vehicle charging market first as a reseller of everyone else’s equipment, he said. The company had raised a pre-seed round of $1.1 million from investors including Urban.us and Notation Capital and has now added to that bank account with another capital infusion from Construct Capital, the new fund led by Dayna Grayson and Rachel Holt, and Root Ventures, Lefevre said.

Eventually the company wants to integrate with the back end of companies like Chargepoint and Electrify America to make the charging process as efficient for everyone, according to ChargeLab’s chief executive.

As more service providers get into the market, Lefevre sees the opportunity set for his business expanding exponentially. “Super open platforms are not going to be building an EV charging system any more than they would be building their own hardware,” he said.

#abb, #android, #apple, #chargelab, #chargepoint, #charging-stations, #companies, #construct-capital, #dayna-grayson, #electric-vehicles, #electrical-engineering, #electrify-america, #inductive-charging, #north-america, #notation-capital, #rachel-holt, #reef, #root-ventures, #siemens, #smartphone, #software, #tc

With a reported deal in the wings for Joby Aviation, electric aircraft soars to $10B business

One year after nabbing $590 million from investors led by Toyota, and a few months after picking up Uber’s flying taxi businessJoby Aviation is reportedly in talks to go public in a SPAC deal that would value the electric plane manufacturer at nearly $5.7 billion.

News of a potential deal comes on the heels of another big SPAC transaction in electric planes, for Archer Aviation. If the Financial Times‘ reporting is accurate, then that would mean that the two will soon be publicly traded at a total value approaching $10 billion.

It’s a heady time for startups making vehicles powered by anything other than hydrocarbons, and the SPAC wave has hit it hard.

Electric car companies Arrival, Canoo, ChargePoint, Fisker, Lordstown Motors, Proterra and The Lion Electric Company are some of the companies that have merged with SPACs — or announced plans to — in the past year.

Now it appears that any company that has anything to do with the electrification of any mode of transportation is going to get waved onto the runway for a public listing through a special purpose acquisition company vehicle — a wildly popular route at the moment for companies that might find traditional IPO listings more challenging to carry out but would rather not stay in startup mode when it comes to fundraising.

The investment group reportedly taking Joby to the moon! out to public markets is led by the billionaire tech entrepreneurs and investors Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, and Mark Pincus, who launched the casual gaming company, Zynga.

Together the two men had formed Reinvent Technology Partners, a special purpose acquisition company, earlier in 2020. The shell company went public and raised $690 million to make a deal.

Any transaction for Joby would be a win for the company’s backers including Toyota, Baillie Gifford, Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures (the investment arm of the US-based airline), and Uber, which invested $125 million into Joby.

Joby has a prototype that has already taken 600 flights, but has yet to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. And the success of any transaction between the company and Hoffman and Pincus’ SPAC group is far from a sure thing, as the FT noted.

The deal would require an additional capital infusion into the SPAC that the two men established, and without that extra cash, all bets are off. Indeed, that is probably one reason why anyone is reading about this now.

Alternatively powered transportation vehicles of all stripes and covering all modes of travel are the rage right now among the public investment crowd. Part of that is due to rising pressure among institutional investors to find companies with an environmental, sustainability, and good governance thesis that they can invest in, and part of that is due to tailwinds coming from government regulations pushing for the decarbonization of fleets in a bid to curb global warming.

The environmental impact is one chief reason that United chief executive Scott Kirby cited when speaking about his company’s $1 billion purchase order from the electric plane company that actually announced it would be pursuing a public offering through a SPAC earlier this week.

“By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation,” Kirby said. “With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground.”

It’s also an investment in a possible new business line that could eventually shuttle United passengers to and from an airport, as TechCrunch reported earlier. United projected that a trip in one of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50% per passenger traveling between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport.

The agreement to go public and the order from United Airlines comes less than a year after Archer Aviation came out of stealth. Archer was co-founded in 2018 by Adam Goldstein and Brett Adcock, who sold their software-as-a-service company Vettery to The Adecco Group for more than $100 million. The company’s primary backer was Marc Lore, who sold his company Jet.com to Walmart in 2016 for $3.3 billion. Lore was Walmart’s e-commerce chief until January.

For any SPAC investors or venture capitalists worried that they’re now left out of the EV plane investment bonanza, take heart! There’s still the German tech developer, Lilium. And if an investor is interested in supersonic travel, there’s always Boom.

#adam-goldstein, #airline, #baillie-gifford, #canoo, #chargepoint, #co-founder, #corporate-finance, #e-commerce, #economy, #evtol, #federal-aviation-administration, #finance, #fisker, #intel-capital, #investment, #jet-com, #jetblue-technology-ventures, #joby, #joby-aviation, #lilium, #linkedin, #lordstown-motors, #marc-lore, #mark-pincus, #private-equity, #proterra, #reid-hoffman, #reinvent-technology-partners, #software-as-a-service, #spacs, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #tc, #the-adecco-group, #the-financial-times, #toyota, #transportation, #uber, #united-airlines, #vettery, #walmart, #zynga

Planning 500,000 charging points for EVs by 2025, Shell becomes the latest company swept up in EV charging boom

Shell’s plan to roll out 500,000 electric charging station in just four years is the latest sign of an EV charging infrastructure boom that has prompted investors to pour cash into the industry and inspired a few companies to become public companies in search of the capital needed to meet demand.

Since the beginning of the year, three companies have been acquired by special purpose acquisition vehicles and are on a path to go public, while a third has raised tens of millions from some of the biggest names in private equity investing for its own path to commercial viability.

The SPAC attack began in September when an electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint struck a deal to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Switchback Energy Acquisition Corporation, with a market valuation of $2.4 billion. The company’s public listing will debut February 16 on the New York Stock Exchange.

In January, EVgo, an owner and operator of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, agreed to merge with the SPAC Climate Change Crisis Real Impact I Acquisition for a valuation of $2.6 billion— a huge win for the company’s privately held owner, the power development and investment company LS Power. LS Power and EVgo management, which today own 100% of the company will be rolling all of its equity into the transaction. Once the transaction closes in the second quarter, LS Power and EVgo will hold a 74% stake in the newly combined company.

One more deal soon followed. Volta Industries agreed to merge this month with Tortoise Acquisition II, a tie-up that would give the charging company named after battery inventor Alessandro Volta a $1.4 billion valuation. The deal sent shares of the SPAC company, trading under the ticker SNPR, rocketing up 31.9% in trading earlier this week to $17.01. The stock is currently trading around $15 per-share.

 

Not to be outdone, private equity firms are also getting into the game. Riverstone Holdings, one of the biggest names in private equity energy investment, placed its own bet on the charging space with an investment in FreeWire. That company raised $50 million in new round of funding earlier this year.

“The writing is on the wall and the investors have to take the time. There’s been a flight out of the traditional investment opportunities in markets,” said FreeWire chief executive, Arcady Sosinov, in an interview. “There’s been a flight out fo the oil and gas companies and out fo the traditional utilities. You have to look at other opportunities… This is going to be the largest growth opportunity of the next ten years.”

FreeWire deploys its infrastructure with BP currently, but the company’s charging technology can be rolled out to fast food companies, post offices, grocery stores, or anywhere where people go and spend somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour. With the Biden Administration’s plan to boost EV adoption in federal fleets, post offices actually represent another big opportunity for charging networks, Sosinov said.

“One of the reasons we find electrification of mobility so attractive is because it’s not if or how, it’s when,” said Robert Tichio, a partner at Riverstone in charge of the firm’s ESG efforts. “Penetration rates are incredibly low… compare that to Norway or Northern Europe. They have already achieved double digit percentages.”

A recent Super Bowl commercial from GM featuring Will Farrell showed just how far ahead Norway is when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. 

“The demands onc capital in the electrification of transport will begin to approach three quarters of a trillion annually,” Tichio said. “The short answer to your question is that the needs for capital now that we have collectively, politically, socially economically come to a consensus in terms of where we’re going and we couldn’t say that 18 months ago is going to be at a tipping point.”

Shell already has electric vehicle charging infrastructure that it has deployed in some markets. Back in 2019 the company acquired the Los Angeles-based company Greenlots, an EV charging developer. And earlier this year Shell made another move into electric vehicle charging with the acquisition of Ubitricity in the UK.

“As our customers’ needs evolve, we will increasingly offer a range of alternative energy sources, supported by digital technologies, to give people choice and the flexibility, wherever they need to go and whatever they drive,” said Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President, New Energies for Shell, in a statement at the time of the Greenlots acquisition. “This latest investment in meeting the low-carbon energy needs of US drivers today is part of our wider efforts to make a better tomorrow. It is a step towards making EV charging more accessible and more attractive to utilities, businesses and communities.”

 

#biden-administration, #chargepoint, #charging-station, #corporate-finance, #economy, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #evgo, #food, #greenlots, #inductive-charging, #los-angeles, #norway, #nrg-energy, #oil-and-gas, #partner, #private-equity, #riverstone-holdings, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #super-bowl, #tc, #ubitricity, #united-kingdom, #united-states

What’s behind this year’s boom in climate tech SPACs?

There’s no denying that 2020 has been the year of the special purpose acquisition company.

Since the beginning of the year, 219 SPACs have raised $73 billion, according to widely reported market research from Goldman Sachs. That’s a 462% jump from 2019 and more than traditional public offerings raised by about $6 billion. By some counts, roughly one quarter of the SPACs that have been announced will target climate-related businesses.

Since the beginning of the year, 219 SPACs have raised $73 billion.

Already, of the 78 deals that have either completed or announced a merger since 2018, just over one-third have been climate-related, as tallied by Climate Tech VC. And these SPACs have outperformed the broader technology market, with the 10 climate tech companies that have completed mergers averaging a 131% return on investment versus the 50% return of the total SPAC market (assuming average offering prices of $10 per share).

Clearly this has been a banner year for companies that are tackling the climate crisis across a number of verticals, but can it last?

There are a few reasons to think that it can — led chiefly by the demand for these kinds of public offerings from institutional investors, including the pension funds, mutual funds and asset managers handling trillions of investment dollars.

“[The] current wave [of SPACs] is because over the past 24 months the institutional investor universe has come fully into believing that climate solutions are going to be a major growth area in the 2020s and beyond, but they weren’t seeing options available to them for investing into,” wrote longtime clean technology investor, Rob Day, in a DM.

“The available publicly traded ‘green’ companies were already getting really bought up, and the private equity options were underwhelming as well (smallish in the case of VC, low returns in the case of large-format projects). Throw in a Robinhood market of retail investors with a lot of enthusiasm for EVs and such, and you have a nice recipe for this to happen.”

#blackrock, #canada-pension-plan, #chargepoint, #greentech, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #tc

Chargepoint’s charging app now works with Apple CarPlay

It’s fair to say I got excited when Apple first revealed its plan to let users cast iOS apps to a car’s infotainment screen via CarPlay. But it’s also fair to say that four years after it first arrived in the wild, CarPlay still feels pretty spartan.

A lot of that is down to the categories of apps that Apple will allow crossing the phone-car barrier. To begin with, this feature was limited to audio playback apps like Spotify or Audible. The list of permissible apps remained heavily locked down until earlier this year with the release of iOS 14, which opened up your infotainment screen to parking, takeout, and EV charging apps. And ChargePoint is one of the first charging networks to take advantage of it.

Like always with CarPlay, the ChargePoint app runs on your phone, casting a second screen to the infotainment display. As you can see from the screenshots, the app will show you nearby chargers on a map, let you query what kinds of chargers they are, and then navigate you there, all powered by Apple Maps. The app also allows you to authenticate and begin charging once you’re at the charger.

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#apple-carplay, #cars, #chargepoint

Arrival becomes latest electric vehicle startup to test the public markets with a SPAC

Arrival has gone from stealthy electric vehicle startup to prospective public company in a span of a year. The UK-based company, which operated in relative secrecy for several years until January when it announced a $110 million investment from Hyundai and Kia, said Wednesday it has agreed to merge with special purpose acquisition company CIIG Merger Corp.

Arrival was already considered one of the UK’s most valuable startups before Wednesday’s SPAC merger announcement.  This deal, which when completed will make Arrival a publicly traded company listed on the Nasdaq exchange, will push its valuation up to $5.4 billion. Arrival said it raised $400 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from investors that included Fidelity Management & Research Company, Wellington Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management Energy Transition Fund and funds managed by BlackRock. Arrival will have about $660 million in cash proceeds.

Arrival’s aim is to produce electric vehicles that are competitive in price with traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles and lower than other EVs. Arrival says its modular electric “skateboard” platform, which can be used on a range of different vehicle types, along with its use of microfactories set up near major cities are the key ingredients to its price competitive sauce.

The company already has working prototypes of two major vehicle lines — an electric bus and electric van. The plan is to have four vehicles in the market by 2023, Arrival Automotive CEO Mike Ableson said.

“We are building a strong order book for these products, including 10,000 electric vans from UPS with the additional option to order more thereafter,” Abelson said in an email to TechCrunch. “We are in the process of fitting out microfactories in the UK and the US to fulfill orders, with more in the pipeline.”

Going public via a SPAC will give Arrival the access to capital to achieve its “vision of reimagining the auto industry and accelerating the transition to zero emissions,” he said, noting that the company is now focused on executive and ramping up full production of vehicles with production of its buses starting in the fourth quarter 2021 and its vans in 2022.

“The capital raised from this transaction will go towards delivering on these plans and supercharging the business so we can continue to scale and fulfill the market potential,” Ableson said.

Arrival, which was founded and led by Denis Sverdlov, already has a considerable footprint and order book. Arrival says it has received $1.2 billion in orders. The company employs more than 1,200 people and has five engineering facilities and two microfactories, including its first U.S. location in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

What was the summer of the SPAC — a bevy of companies announcing mergers with publicly traded shell companies between June and mid-September — has extended into the fall. Dozens of companies, including those that have yet to generate revenue or launch a commercial product, have announced SPAC deals in the past few months. A growing number of them are companies in the capitally intensive transportation sector.

EV startups Canoo,  Fisker Inc., Lordstown Motors and Nikola Corp., eschewed the traditional path of becoming a public company.  ChargePoint as well as lidar companies Luminar and Velodyne have also merged, or in the process of merging, with SPACs. Even troubled electric automaker Faraday Future is seeking a SPAC deal.

Arrival, like its EV SPAC brethren, is keen to take advantage of the shift towards electrification. Arrival is homing in on the commercial vehicle market, which is quickening its pace of EV adoption thanks to increasingly strict emissions regulations and other public policy changes.

“Arrival believes that it is well positioned to capitalize on this market opportunity with its technology driven approach to a traditionally underserved market,” Abelson said.

The newly combined company will be listed on the Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol “ARVL.” The combined company will add Peter Cuneo, CIIG’s Chairman and CEO, as the non-executive chairman of Arrival’s board of directors.

#arrival, #automotive, #canoo, #chargepoint, #fisker, #tc, #transportation

EV charging network ChargePoint to go public via SPAC

Several electric vehicle startups, including Canoo, Fisker Inc., Lordstown Motors and Nikola Corp., have gone public this year by merging with a special purpose acquisition company. Now, an electric vehicle charging company is joining the growing list of SPACs.

ChargePoint, an electric vehicle charging network, has struck a deal to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Switchback Energy Acquisition Corporation, with a market valuation of $2.4 billion. ChargePoint will continue to be led by President and CEO Pasquale Romano and the existing management team. The combined company will be named ChargePoint Holdings Inc. and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company expects the transaction will close by the end of the year.

ChargePoint said it was able to raise $225 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE, led by institutional investors including Baillie Gifford and funds managed by Neuberger Berman Alternatives Advisors. ChargePoint will have about $683 million in cash. The cash proceeds raised in the transaction will be used to repay debt, fund operations, support growth and for general corporate purposes.

“The EV charging industry is accelerating and it is expected that charging infrastructure investment will be $190 billion by 2030,” Switchback CEO, CFO and director Scott McNeill said in a statement, adding that ChargePoint is well positioned to deliver the infrastructure that will be needed.

ChargePoint designs, develops and manufactures hardware and accompanying software, as well as a cloud subscription platform, for electric vehicles. The company might be best known for its branded public and semi-public charging spots that consumers use to charge their personal electric cars and SUVs, as well as its home chargers. However, ChargePoint also has a commercial-focused business that provides hardware and software to help fleet operators manage their delivery vans, buses and cars. In all, the company has more than 115,000 charging spots globally. ChargePoint also offers access to an additional 133,000 public places to charge through network roaming integrations across North America and Europe.

The company, which was founded in 2007, said it plans to use this new capital to expanding North America and Europe, improve its technology portfolio and significantly scale its commercial, fleet and residential businesses.

The SPAC merger comes just a month after ChargePoint raised $127 million in funding from a mix of existing investors from the oil and gas, utilities and venture industries, including American Electric Power, Chevron Technology Ventures, Clearvision and Quantum Energy Partners.

#automotive, #chargepoint, #electric-vehicles, #tc, #transportation

Android Auto gets Google Calendar integration

Google today announced a number of updates to Android Auto (which runs on the user’s phone) and Android Automotive (which car manufacturers can natively build into their cars) that will affect both users and developers on these platforms. In addition, Google today announced that it expects Android Auto to be available in more than 100 million cars in the coming months.

The most obvious user-facing update is the integration of Google Calendar into Android Auto thanks to the new calendar app. There are very few surprises here as the app lets you see your upcoming appointments (and get directions to them or make a call right from the app).

Image Credits: Google

Another new feature is a new settings app, which now lets you manage your Android Auto preferences right from your in-car car display without having to go back to your phone to make major changes.

The company today also said that it is working with a number of partners like SpotHero, Chargepoint and Sygic to bring more navigation, parking and electric charging apps to the platform. Google expects that some of these companies will be able to beta test their new apps by the end of the year.

Image Credits: Google

Currently, there are about 3,000 apps in the Google Play store that support Android Auto. To expand this set of apps — which have to pass a number of tests to ensure that they don’t distract drivers — Google is launching a new Cars App Library that developers can use to ensure that tasks within their apps will only take a few taps and minimal glances.

Image Credits: Google

 

“To mitigate driver distraction, we collaborated with government, industry and academic institutions to develop our own best practice guidelines that we apply to every aspect of our product development process,” Google says in today’s update. “With our standard templates and guidelines, developers have the tools to easily optimize their apps for cars, without needing to become an expert in driver distraction.”

On the Android Automotive side, Google is working with developers and car manufacturers to help them bring more media apps to the platform. Currently, the Polestar 2 is the first car that uses the new system, but Volvo, Renault and General Motors have announced plans to launch infotainment systems that will use it.

For these developers, Google is launching an update emulator that now includes the Google Assistant, Maps and Google Play — and the Google Play Console now accepts Android Automotive APKs. Developers can also test their apps against the Polestar 2 system image.

#android, #artificial-intelligence, #assistant, #chargepoint, #computing, #driver, #general-motors, #google, #google-assistant, #google-now, #google-play, #google-play-store, #google-calendar, #major, #mobile-app, #renault, #smartphones, #software, #spothero, #tc, #volvo

ChargePoint raises $127M as electric vehicle adoption grows among fleet operators

Electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint raised $127 million in funding in a bid to expand its platform for businesses and fleets in North America and Europe.

A mix of existing investors from the oil and gas, utilities and venture industries added to the round, including American Electric Power, Chevron Technology Ventures, Clearvision and Quantum Energy Partners.

This latest addition, which was an extension of its Series H round, pushes ChargePoint’s total funding to $660 million. The company didn’t provide a valuation.

An increasing number of businesses and municipalities are turning to electric vehicles as governments enact stricter emissions regulations. Meanwhile, an increasing number of new electric passenger cars, SUVs and soon pickup trucks are coming to market. In the next 18 months, GM, Ford, Nissan, Volvo along with startups Polestar and Rivian will have electric vehicles in production. Then there’s Tesla, which has continued to scale its existing portfolio while preparing to add new vehicles, including its Cybertruck.

The upshot: ChargePoint is aiming to keep up with the pace of electric vehicle adoption. But it’s not all about expanding the network for privately owned passenger vehicles.

ChargePoint designs, develops and manufactures hardware, and accompanying software as well as a cloud subscription platform, for electric vehicles. The company might be best known for its branded public and semi-public charging spots that consumers use to charge their personal electric cars and SUVs as well as its home chargers. However, ChargePoint also has a commercial-focused business that provides hardware and software to help fleet operators manage their delivery vans, buses and cars. In all, the company has more than 114,000 charging spots globally. 

ChargePoint President and CEO Pasquale Romano said the shift towards electrification is intensifying for mainstream businesses and fleet operators. The new capital will help the company’s expansion plans keep on pace with the market, he added. Specifically, the funds will be used to commercial and fleet portfolio in North America and Europe and continue to scale policy, marketing and sales efforts.

#automotive, #chargepoint, #electric-vehicles, #transportation

Electric Cars and the Lack of Charging in Cities

For city dwellers who would love an E.V., the biggest hurdle might be keeping it juiced up without a garage or other convenient charging stations.

#automobile-service-and-charging-stations, #chargepoint, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electrify-america-llc, #united-states, #urban-areas