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An electric vehicle startup with a troubled past seeks a SPAC

October 6, 2020, 2:27 PM UTC

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Electric-vehicle startups have been tying up with Special Purpose Acquisition companies. Faraday Future, a prominent startup in the space that fell from grace after blowing through billions, now says it too plans to go public via merger with a blank check company.

In an interview with Reuters, Faraday Future’s CEO Carsten Brietfeld says the company is working on a deal that will be announced “hopefully quite soon.”

Founded in 2014, the electric vehicle startup was hyped as a rival to Tesla with lofty promises of investing $1 billion in Nevada to build a car factory as well as a Batmobile-esque car. But it turned out Faraday’s future was more far away than anticipated. In 2017, the company abandoned plans for the factory as top executives left the company, and its debut car, the FF 91, remains elusive. In late 2019, Faraday Future founder Jia Yueting resigned as CEO and later filed for bankruptcy in the hopes of clearing himself of some $3.6 billion in debt that he had accrued while building up Faraday and other enterprises that had once valued him as the 17th richest man in China.

Even though Jia is no longer leading the company, his stake still remained a lingering issue, with Breitfeld telling Reuters that it has been an obstacle in onboarding new investors. Jia, he added, no longer owns stock in Faraday.

New owners or not, with the pandemic looming, Faraday Future has yet to come through with its first and flagship product: In October of last year, my colleague Eamon Barrett reported that the company planned to release the FF 91 SUV model by September. Now, the company is slated to deliver its flagship product nine months after securing funding through a SPAC. 

Who knows how that timeline will turn out. 

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- Ÿnsect, a Paris-based insect farming startup, raised $224 million in funding. Investors include Upfront Ventures and Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition.

- Unqork, a New York-based  no-code platform, raised $207 million in Series C funding, raising the company’s valuation to $2 billion. BlackRock led the round and was joined by investors including Eldridge, Fin Venture Capital, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Schonfeld Strategic Advisors and Sunley House Capital Management. Existing investors including CapitalG,, Goldman Sachs, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Aquiline Technology Growth and World Innovation Lab also participated.

- Tipalti, a San Mateo, Calif.-based account payables automation solution, raised $150 million at a valuation of more than $2 billion. Durable Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Greenoaks Capital and 01 Advisors.

- Dialpad, a San Francisco-based cloud business phone and contact center provider, raised $100 million in Series E funding. OMERS Growth Equity led the round and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, GV, ICONIQ Capital, Felicis Ventures, Section 32 and Work-Bench. 

- GrubMarket, a California-based produce delivery company, raised $60 million in Series D  funding. Investors include BlackRock, Reimagined Ventures, Trinity Capital Investment, Celtic House Venture Partners, Marubeni Ventures, Sixty Degree Capital, and Mojo Partners. Read more.

- Skilljar, a Seattle-based customer on-boarding platform, raised $33 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the funding round and was joined by investors including Mayfield, Trilogy Equity Partners, and Shasta Ventures.

- Airkit, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based customer engagement platform, raised $28 million in funding. Investors include Accel, Emergence Capital, and Salesforce Ventures

- AccessFintech, a New York-based fintech focused on data and workflow collaboration, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Dawn Capital led the round.

- Cornelis Networks, a spinout of Intel’s Omni-Path Architecture Business, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Downing Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Intel Capital and Chestnut Street Ventures.

- Uni, an India-based credit card fintech, raised $18.5 million in  seed funding. Lightspeed and Accel led the round. Read more.

- Abridge, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based platform for medical care and follow through on doctors’ advice, raised $15 million across seed and Series A funding. Investors include Union Square Ventures and UPMC.

- Mandolin, an Indianapolis, In.-based provider for artists, venues, and fans, raised $5 million in seed funding. Investors include High Alpha Capital and Marc Benioff.

- HUVRdata, an Austin-based maker of products that help industrial companies integrate data from inspections, raised $5 million in funding. Cottonwood Venture Partners led the round. Read more.

- Strike Graph, a Seattle-based compliance automation startup, raised $3.9 million in seed funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round and was joined by investors including Amplify.LA, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Green D Ventures. 

- Walnut, a San Francisco-based platform for sales representatives to manage sales demos, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. NFX led the round and was joined by investors including Avishay Abrahami, CEO at Wix.

- Doppler, a San Francisco-based security platform for developers, raised $2.3 million in seed funding. Sequoia Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins, Abstract Ventures and Soma Capital.

- Empowerly, a San Francisco-based startup for college admissions, raised $1.6 million from investors including TransLink Capital, Scrum Ventures, Azure Capital Partners, and Spero Ventures.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Icon Health & Fitness, a Logan, Ut.-based maker of connected fitness equipment and software, raised $200 million. L Catterton led the round and was joined by investors including Pamplona Capital Management.

- Blackstone acquired ZO Skin Health, a California-based skincare brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Integrity Growth Partners invested in MBS Highway, a Holmdel, N.J.-based provider of mortgage technology solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Featheringill Capital acquired a majority stake in InvestEdge, a Philadelphia-based provider of compliance software to financial institutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Novacap acquired an interest in AGA Financial Group, a Quebec-based employee benefits advisory firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Premier Steel Doors, a portfolio company of OpenGate Capital, acquired MegaMet Industries, a Birmingham, Ala.-based company that designs and fabricates specialty and custom hollow metal door systems for government, medical, and commercial end-markets. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Quorum Software, a portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, acquired Landdox, a Dallas-based cloud-based land management company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Smile Brands, backed by Gryphon Investors, invested in Reflections Dental, a Seattle-based general dentistry practice. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) agreed to acquire MyoKardia, (Nasdaq: MYOK), which focuses on cardiovascular diseases, for $13.1 billion. 

- Avalara (NYSE: AVLR) acquired Transaction Tax Resources, a provider of tax advice and software, for about $377 million in cash. 

- ECI Software Solutions acquired BOLT Software, a cloud-based construction business management solution. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- Investindustrial VII acquired the European and international bakery ingredients business of CSM Bakery Solutions, backed by Rhône Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- STERIS (NYSE: STE) agreed to acquire Key Surgical, a provider of consumable products to hospitals and surgical facilities, from Water Street Healthcare Partners for $850 million.

IPOs

- AppLovin, the U.S. mobile app and gaming company, is preparing for an IPO that could come in 2021. KKR backs the firm. Read more. 

- Sequoia Solucoes Logisticas, a Brazilian logistics firm, raised 1 billion reais ($179.39 million) in an IPO. Warburg Pincus backs the firm. Read more.

- Root, a Columbus, Oh.-based auto insurance tech company, filed to raise $100 million. It posted revenue of $290 million in 2019 and a loss of $283 million. Drive Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Tiger Global back the firm. Read more.

- Telos, an Ashburn, Va.-based provider of security software, filed to raise $242 million. Read more.

- MediaAlpha, a Los Angeles-based provider of customer acquisition services for insurance companies, filed to raise $100 million. White Mountain Investments backs the firm. Read more.

SPACS

- Clover Health Investments, an operator of Medicare Advantage plans, plans to go public via merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. III, a SPAC. The deal values the firm at about $3.7 billion.

- Gores Holdings VI, a blank check company created by The Gores Group, filed to raise $300 million. Read more.

F+FS

- Plexus Capital closed Plexus Fund V with $502 million in commitments.

- Sweetwater Capital Partners received $350 million in commitments for its second fund.

- ACME Capital raised $246 million for its 10th fund. 

- Alta Growth Capital received $150 million in commitments for Alta Growth Capital, Mexico Fund III.

- Catalio Capital Management raised $100 million for its second fund.

- Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) announced a $100 million second impact fund.

PEOPLE

- CAVU Venture Partners named Alexandre Cohen as a partner.