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Chamath launches SPAC, SPAC and SPAC as he SPACs the world with SPACs – TechCrunch

SPACs are going to rule the world, or at least, Chamath’s future portfolio. Chamath Palihapitiya, the founder of Social Capital, has already tripled down on SPACs, the so-called “blank check” vehicle that takes private companies and flips them onto the public markets. His first SPAC bought Virgin Galactic last year, and his second SPAC bought Opendoor this week in a blockbuster deal valuing the instant home sale platform at $4.8 billion, less cash. His third SPAC officially fundraised in April, and has yet to announce a deal. Now, it looks like he’s going to double down on his triple down. After the bell rung on Wall Street this Friday, the venture capitalist filed three new SPAC vehicles with the SEC. Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. IV has a headline value of $350 million, Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. V has a headline value of $650 million and Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. VI has a headline value of $1 billion. Those headline values are targets: each SPAC will need to go through an investor roadshow process and officially raise capital before they can begin trying to find an acquisition target. Each SPAC is independent, and may share investors or have entirely independent investors around the table. The three new SPACs share similar managers: Palihapitiya himself; Ian Osborne, who manages Hedosophia; Steven Trieu, the CFO of Social Capital; and Simon Williams, the chief administration officer of Hedosophia. However, each has a different fifth director, who perhaps sheds some light on how…Continue readingChamath launches SPAC, SPAC and SPAC as he SPACs the world with SPACs – TechCrunch

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Social Capital Hedosophia just filed for its fourth SPAC, says new report – TechCrunch

According to a new report in Bloomberg, Social Capital Hedosophia has filed plans confidentially with the SEC to raise $500 million for its newest blank-check company. It will be the fourth special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, to be raised by the outfit, which is headed up by Chamath Palihapitiya and his longtime investment partner, Ian Osborne. Astonishingly, dozens more may be in the works. On the “All-In Podcast,” co-hosted by Palihapitiya, he revealed recently that has reserved the symbols from “IPOA” to “IPOZ” on the New York Stock Exchange. He also said he has $100 million of his own involved in each deal to demonstrate his alignment with potential investors. What’s the play? In the podcast, Palihapitiya pointed to the Federal Reserve’s economic and interest rate forecasts and its plans to keep interest rates at zero for years to come. “I mean, quite honestly,” Palihapitiya said, “there’s no path to any near-term inflation of any kind whatsoever.” It’s why he thinks investors are going to “get paid to be long [on] equities, because your risk-free rate is zero and will soon be negative. And what are you supposed to do if you’re an asset manager?” Here’s how he framed it: “Let’s say you’re the California pension system, you have hundreds of billions of dollars, and you need to generate five or 6% a year to make sure that your pension isn’t insolvent, and the government is paying you zero. When everybody is in that situation, you’re overwhelmingly long equities…Continue readingSocial Capital Hedosophia just filed for its fourth SPAC, says new report – TechCrunch

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Edtech funding surges, Poland VC survey, inside Shift’s SPAC plan, more – TechCrunch

I live in San Francisco, but I work an East Coast schedule to get a jump on the news day. So I’d already been at my desk for a couple of hours on Wednesday morning when I looked up and saw this: As unsettling as it was to see the natural environment so transformed, I still got my work done. This is not to boast: I have a desk job and a working air filter. (People who make deliveries in the toxic air or are homeschooling their children while working from home during a global pandemic, however, impress the hell out of me.) Not coincidentally, two of the Extra Crunch stories that ran since our Tuesday newsletter tie directly into what’s going on outside my window: As this guest post predicted, a suboptimal attempt I made to track a delayed package using interactive voice response (IVR) indeed poisoned my customer experience, and; Sheltering in place to avoid the novel coronavirus — and wildfire smoke — is fueling growth in the video-game industry, perhaps one factor in Unity Software Inc.’s plan to go public ahead of competitor Epic Games. In a two-part series, we looked at how the company has expanded beyond games and shared a detailed financial breakdown. We covered a lot of ground this week, so scroll down or visit the recently redesigned Extra Crunch home page. If you’d like to receive this roundup via email each Tuesday and Friday, please click here. Thanks very much for reading Extra…Continue readingEdtech funding surges, Poland VC survey, inside Shift’s SPAC plan, more – TechCrunch

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Luminar takes the SPAC path and Voyage lifts the hood on its next-gen robotaxi – TechCrunch

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox. Hello and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter dedicated to all the present and future ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B. I’ll skip the typical wind up and get right to things this week. We’ve got SPACs, venture deals and micromobility news along with a peek at one AV company’s newest vehicle. I wanted to mention one item before we launch because it speaks to a larger issue of safety and how some shared mobility startups are turning to tech in an attempt to improve it. Shared electric moped startup Revel resumed operations in New York City a month after shutting down its service following several deaths. The startup’s blue mopeds (3,000 of them) that had become a familiar sight in New York City are back, but with a number of new protocols and features aimed at boosting safety and assuaging city officials. Revel is leaning heavily on tech, and specifically its app, to improve safety, including training videos and tests, a helmet selfie feature that requires photographic evidence the user is wearing a helmet and a community reporting tool. The question is, will this effort be sufficient? Image credits: Getty Alright, let’s go! Email me anytime at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticisms, offer up opinions or tips. You can also send a direct message to me…Continue readingLuminar takes the SPAC path and Voyage lifts the hood on its next-gen robotaxi – TechCrunch

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What’s an IPO to a SPAC? – TechCrunch

Coinbase is expected to go public in 2020 or 2021, with most expecting its filing early next year. Though given how hot the IPO market is today (more here), perhaps we’ll see the document sooner rather than later. Regardless of when, the Coinbase debut will be a big deal, providing a booster shot of cash to investors who put over $500 million into the startup and crypto as a thesis. For you and I, the IPO will also mean an S-1 filing chock full of notes about how the crypto space looks for a mature trading platform. But there’s another company in Coinbase’s space that doesn’t intend to go public: Binance. The Exchange caught up with its voluble founder, CZ, on Friday to chat about the possible Coinbase IPO. According to the CEO, a Coinbase debut would be “very good for the [crypto] industry,” which makes sense; if Coinbase can go public it would lend credibility to its market in a way that few other business transactions can. But Binance, which funded itself partially through a 2017 ICO, plans on staying private. CZ says because his company has largely not raised capital from traditional sources, it doesn’t have to answer to investors. This means it isn’t pressured to go public or make money folks happy in other ways. Like charging more for its products, CZ posited. Companies that raise extensive external capital have an “ethos” to maximize their rates so that they can “maximize shareholder value,” he said. In CZ’s view, Binance doesn’t have…Continue readingWhat’s an IPO to a SPAC? – TechCrunch

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Go SPAC yourself – TechCrunch

Are we allowed to make rude financial jokes in headlines? Hello everyone, it’s a busy week with TechCrunch Early Stage underway and a slew of tech earnings to parse through. But that didn’t stop the Equity crew from sitting down to chat about the recent wave of SPAC commentary Danny and I wanted to talk about what a SPAC is — the acronym stands for special purpose acquisition company — and why everyone seems to be chatting them up. Why do you care? Here’s some context, in simple bullet-point format: Yesterday, after raising its IPO price range, Jamf priced at $26 per share, selling more shares than it had previously anticipated. Today it opened trading around $48, and is currently worth $40.18 per share, far above its IPO price. Recent first-day gains, like Jamf’s own, have peeved elements of the venture classes who think that the gap between an IPO price and where a company first trades is money that Wall Street bankers, and the IPO process itself, have stolen. Enter SPACs, which could offer a way for unicorns and other venture-backed companies to go public through a different pricing mechanism. If that alternative method of pricing the company would be better is not clear, but we tried to talk it through. Equity is back Friday morning, of course. And please bear in mind that when I referred to “Robinhood dipshits,” I was talking about all retail investors as a cohort, not merely the folks at any one particular trading platform. Thanks…Continue readingGo SPAC yourself – TechCrunch

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Summer of the SPAC, Adam Neumann returns and the Nissan Ariya debuts – TechCrunch

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox. Hello and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter dedicated to all the present and future ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B. The dog days of summer are almost upon us. Technically, we won’t enter this period until July 22. In normal times, vacation season would be well underway and the hit song of the summer would be established and a regular guest at every beach party, barbecue and dance club. That’s not exactly what’s going down this summer. However, we do have ourselves a hit financial instrument of the season. The SPAC, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company, is this summer’s “Seniorita.” Everywhere you turn, there it is. More on the SPACs and other fun stuff below. Vamos! Reach out and email me anytime at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticisms, offer up opinions or tips. You can also send a direct message to me at Twitter — @kirstenkorosec. Micromobbin’ We know that COVID-19 has changed the way we work and move around cities when we do leave our homes. Public transit ridership has dropped in many dense urban areas. And so did shared scooter and bike ridership, although there is evidence that these two modes of transportation are rebounding. Micromobility company Lime looked at its ridership data the month before the lockdown began  and compared it with the…Continue readingSummer of the SPAC, Adam Neumann returns and the Nissan Ariya debuts – TechCrunch

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Velodyne becomes latest tech company to go public using a SPAC, eschewing the traditional IPO path – TechCrunch

Velodyne Lidar, the leading supplier of a sensor widely considered critical to the commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles, said Thursday it has struck a deal to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Graf Industrial Corp., with a market value of $1.8 billion. The company said it was able to raise $150 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from new institutional investors as well as existing shareholders of Graf Industrial. Through the transaction, Velodyne will have about $192 million in cash on its balance sheet. Velodyne’s founder David Hall along with backers Ford, Chinese search engine Baidu, Hyundai Mobis and Nikon Corp. will keep an 80% stake in the combined company. Hall will become executive chairman and Anand Gopalan will keep his CEO position. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020. The combined company will remain on the NYSE and trade under a new ticker symbol VLDR following the close of the business combination, Velodyne said. The agreement marks the latest company to turn to SPACs in lieu of a traditional IPO process. Earlier this week, online used car marketplace startup Shift Technologies announced an agreement to merge with SPAC Insurance Acquisition Corp. The newly combined company will be listed on NASDAQ under a new ticker symbol. Nikola Motor also went public via a SPAC earlier this year. Velodyne will become a publicly traded company amid a period of consolidation in the broader autonomous vehicle industry. Startups, automakers and tech giants have extended their…Continue readingVelodyne becomes latest tech company to go public using a SPAC, eschewing the traditional IPO path – TechCrunch