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Exclusive: Troubled EV company Canoo loses another 4 senior employees

September 20, 2022, 12:57 PM UTC

Another handful of senior employees has parted ways from the troubled electric vehicle company Canoo as the startup attempts to bring its first vehicle to market and build its own manufacturing facilities.

The recent wave of departures include Branden Coté, vice president of product management and sales; Kate Lengyel, Chief Human Resources Officer; John Sotello, senior director of IT and cloud engineering; and Pawel Zoneff, director of PR and corporate communications, Fortune has learned. John Mocny, the company’s head of manufacturing, and Rich Schmidt, a senior vice president of manufacturing, also left recently, as was first reported by Bloomberg.

Zoneff confirmed he had left the company, but declined to comment. Others didn’t respond to a request for comment. “In a company of more than 900 people – people are joining, leaving and people are also asked to leave, and that’s the nature of every business this size,” a Canoo spokeswoman said in a statement.

The electric vehicle market—with players like Rivian Automotive and Lucid Motors—has captivated investors looking for the next Tesla. While the technology is capital-intensive, EVs promise to help corporates meet their lofty emission reduction goals, and several startups have managed to successfully rally the excitement of retail investors. 

Cash-burning EV companies have taken investors on quite a bumpy ride, but, as I have written about previously, Canoo stands out for its tumultuous history, high executive turnover, various legal battles, and complaints lodged around its CEO, Tony Aquila, who started running the company right around the time it went public at the end of 2020. Canoo’s stock has become a lucrative bet for some short sellers. By market close yesterday, Canoo’s shares were trading nearly 70% below their January price. 

In July, Canoo was handed what could potentially become a lifeline. Global retailer Walmart agreed to buy a few thousand of Canoo’s vehicles and made an investment in the company (with several strings attached). But that deal doesn’t appear to be doing much to appease the high turnover at the startup.

Canoo’s next big milestone will be to get its vehicle into production. For the time being, Roush, a third-party car manufacturer, is building Canoo’s “Gamma” version of its lifestyle vehicles, according to an internal presentation seen by Fortune. Eventually, Canoo plans to build out its own facilities in Oklahoma and Arkansas, though they are far from completion, and the company is in dire need of ongoing capital, as it has made abundantly clear from its own SEC filings.

You can read all about the chaos at Canoo in a feature story I published recently, which you can find here.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- Swiftly, a Seattle-based delivery platform for retailers, raised $100 million in Series C funding led by BRV Capital Management

- Sievo, a Helsinki-based procurement analytics SaaS provider, raised $44 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity

- Pano AI, San Francisco-based wildfire detection and management platform, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Initialized Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Congruent Ventures, Convective Capital, DCVC, January Ventures, and Quiet Capital.

- InnerPlant, a Davis, Calif.-based company that uses plant physiology to make global farming more efficient and sustainable, raised $16 million in Series A funding. John Deere led the round and was joined by investors including MS&AD Ventures, Bee Partners, UpWest, and TAU Ventures

- ImmunoScape, a San Diego and Singapore-based TCR-T-cell therapeutics discovery and development biotech, raised $14 million in funding. Anzu Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Amgen Ventures and EDBI.

- Datamaran, a London-based ESG risk management software platform, raised £11.7 million ($13.38 million) in Series B funding. Fortive led the round and was joined by American Electric Power

- Mojo, a New York-based sports stock market app, raised $11 million in additional funding. NFL Players’ Association, Fin Capital, and others invested in the round. 

- Fondue, a New York and Tel Aviv-based e-commerce incentive platform, raised $10.5 million in seed funding. Quiet Capital and Hanaco Ventures co-led the round and were joined by investors including Infinity Ventures, Ground Up Ventures, Sugar Capital, Starting Line, R Squared Ventures, Gaingels, Verismo Ventures, Samsung Next, and JAM Fund.

- Calumino, a Sydney-based thermal sensor technology and A.I. developer and manufacturer, raised $10.3 million in Series A funding. Celesta Capital and Taronga Ventures co-led the round and were joined by investors including Egis Technology and others. 

- CNote, an Oakland-based investment platform, raised $7.25 million in Series A funding. American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact led the round and was joined by investors including Astia Fund, BankTech Ventures, Commerce Ventures, H/L Ventures, CityRock Venture Partners, and others. 

- Zócalo Health, a Seattle-based health care service provider focused on Latino communities, raised $5 million in seed funding. Animo Capital, Virtue VC, and Vamos Ventures co-led the round and were joined by investors including Necessary Ventures, Able Partners, and others. 

- Boundless Rider, a Boston-based insurtech for riders of motorcycles, e-bikes, ATVs, and snowmobiles, raised $4.75 million in seed funding. American Family Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including The Cross Country Group, SiriusPoint, and Belmont Capital

- Humankind, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based digital concierge and conversational commerce platform for e-commerce brands, raised $4.2 million in seed funding co-led by High Alpha Capital and Strand Equity

- Tuned, a New York-based hearing health company, raised $2.5 million in seed funding co-led by Idealab NY and Elements Health Ventures

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Stonepeak agreed to acquire the safety business of Intrado Corporation, an Islandia, N.Y.-based critical public emergency telecommunications services provider, for $2.4 billion.

- Bregal Sagemount acquired a minority stake in Solo, a Lehi, Utah-based solar sales, proposal, and design software provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Nonantum Capital acquired LJP Waste Solutions, a North Mankato, Minn.-based waste disposal and trash collection company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Super Star Car Wash, backed by TSG, acquired Wave Wash, a Dallas and Fort Worth-based car wash operator. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

EXITS

- General Atlantic acquired a 15% stake in Kahoot!, an Oslo-based learning and engagement platform, from SoftBank. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

OTHER

- Acrisure acquired B2Z Insurance, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based insurance company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Due North acquired MTL Cool, a Chambly, Quebec-based commercial refrigerated showcases company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- Resurgens Technology Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, raised $500 million for a fund focused on majority investments in lower middle-market application and IT infrastructure software businesses.

PEOPLE

- Sumeru Equity Partners, a San Mateo, Calif.-based private equity firm, promoted Sanjeet Mitra to managing partner. 

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