Self-driving truck startup Embark Trucks to go public via $4.5bn SPAC deal

US-based self-driving truck startup Embark Trucks will merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II in order to become a publicly listed company.

The deal values the enlarged Embark Trucks at approximately $4.55 billion. Post-merger, the self-driving truck startup will have a market capitalization of around $5.16 billion.

The autonomous vehicle software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider was established in 2016 by Alex Rodrigues (CEO) and Brandon Moak (CTO). Its investors include Tiger Global, Sequoia, Data Collective, and Y Combinator.

Embark Trucks, which is based in California, develops purpose-built software to assist help in the navigation of Class 8 trucks on long-distance freight journeys.

The autonomous truck software provider has partnerships with shippers and carriers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Mesilla Valley Transportation, HP, Bison Transport, and Werner Enterprises. The companies under a per-mile subscription, use its autonomous driving technology for their trucks.

Self-driving truck startup Embark Trucks to merge with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II in a $4.5bn deal

Self-driving truck startup Embark Trucks to merge with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II in a $4.5bn deal. Photo courtesy of Embark Trucks, Inc.

Commenting on the Embark Trucks SPAC deal, Alex Rodrigues – Co-Founder and CEO of Embark Trucks said: “We have been solely focused on solving the problem of self-driving software for trucking since Embark’s CTO, Brandon Moak, and I founded the company in 2016.

“This singular and disciplined focus on the trucking market in the United States has allowed Embark to achieve many industry-first technology milestones – including the first self-driving truck to drive coast-to-coast – and positions Embark to be a leader in autonomous trucking software.

“The recent accomplishment of key technical milestones – including handling highway workzones on the fly – and the announcement of our Partner Development Program mark the start of Embark’s transition from research to commercialization. After many years of R&D on the world’s most mature self-driving truck software stack, we plan to enable carrier operation of self-driving trucks in the U.S. sunbelt beginning in 2024.

“Following the transaction with Northern Genesis we expect to have a war chest that fully funds this commercialization plan, and then some.”

Apart from going public, Embark Trucks will get nearly $614 million in gross cash proceeds from the merger. Northern Genesis 2 will contribute around $414 million through the cash held in its trust account while the remaining $200 million will be realized through a private investment in public equity (PIPE).

The PIPE investors are Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Knight-Swift Transportation, Mubadala Capital, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, and Northern Genesis’ management team and its associated institutional investors.

Ian Robertson – Director and CEO of Northern Genesis 2, commenting on the Embark Trucks SPAC deal, said: “The Northern Genesis team is enthused to partner with Embark as it continues to execute on its focused mission, a mission that began more than five years ago.

“Our respective teams share a conviction that success today demands alignment with the ongoing secular shifts towards sustainability and social responsibility; Embark’s commitment to autonomous trucking delivers that alignment through enhanced fuel efficiency, improved driver working conditions, and safer roads for everyone.

“We are committed to leveraging our deep owner-operator business building experience to assist Embark on its transition from great private company to great public company.”

The SPAC deal of the self-driving truck startup is likely to be closed in the second half of this year. The closing of the Embark Trucks SPAC deal will be contingent on Northern Genesis 2’s shareholders’ approval, receipt of regulatory approvals, and meeting of other customary closing conditions.

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