US-based lidar sensors maker Ouster plans to go public through a merger with Colonnade Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The deal’s value stands at about $1.9 billion.
Ouster expects to earn proceeds of up to $300 million from the deal as the company projects revenue of almost $19 million in 2020. Compared to companies in the space, Ouster is among the few generating revenues hence the interest from Colonnade.
The startup which has been in operation for five years previously raised $142 million from private market investors. The investment round attracted Cox, Silicon Valley Bank, and Fontinalis.
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The company is now the fifth lidar manufacturer to go public through a SPAC merger. Velodyne Lidar Inc, Luminar, Innoviz, and Aeva have all taken the same route.
Ouster which makes high-resolution 3D lidar sensors for self-driving vehicles and smart cities considers the technology to have more practical applications beyond autonomous vehicles hence the need to go public. The technology has found possible other uses in areas like drones and robotics. Ouster markets its sensors as affordable and reliable.
The potential of lid sensor technology
Colonnade Chief Executive Remy Trafelet views lidar technology as the next big thing and Ouster is on the right track. Trafelet states that:
“The vision of the future that we’re pushing towards is lidar on every vehicle on earth, every moving object on earth and every piece of intelligent fixed infrastructure on earth, in the same way, that camera technology has propagated and become ubiquitous in the last 20 years.”
Before the acquisition, Colonnade raised $200 million in an IPO in August. To acquire Ouster, Colonnade raised $100 million through private investment in public equity. Notable investors include Cox Automotive, Fontinalis Partners, and WWJ Enterprises.
Colonnade adds to the growing number of SPACs that are emerging as crucial investment platforms for companies to raise revenue through an IPO by buying private firms. The acquired company becomes public as a result of the merger. SPACs are an emerging alternative to the traditional IPO process.
Related video: Oustar’s lidar sensor OS1-128 demo, model placed on top of the vehicle