With $4B raised, the largest Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) ever, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd, started trading on July 22, 2020. Having a shaky reputation historically, SPACs are becoming more popular than ever as they help private companies go public faster and easier. Additionally, SPACs provide greater certainty of access to public capital, which is particularly valuable during today’s highly volatile economic environment.

These are my takes as an ex-investment banker who helped companies file for IPO and currently as a VC investor with portfolio companies going through both De-SPAC and traditional IPO processes. …

2020 was the year where we saw the proliferation of SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies aka “blank-check companies”). As shown in the chart from the WallStreetJournal below, SPACs ended up raising far more money in 2020 than ever before. As of the date of this post, there are 220 SPACs with $70B+ in trust seeking acquisitions…

SPAC sponsors targeted companies in high growth industries, and some of these deals, especially in the EV (Electric Vehicles¹) space, have been particularly successful. According to our own deal tracker, 20+ startups in EV space raised more than $10B via SPAC deals (incl. …

If you are an entrepreneur, investor or executive in mobility space, it’s imperative to keep a close eye on SPACs. Given the positive public market reaction to earlier deals, mobility-related SPAC transactions are clearly proliferating and they have the potential to substantially impact the landscape. As a result, I’ve built a list tracking all Mobility-related SPAC deals and I’m hoping to keep this up-to-date. Please click on the Google doc link below for the latest details.

Please click on the Google Doc link below for the latest details

Additionally, in case you are curious about the de-SPAC process, below is the primer for going public via SPAC.

Also, below is my latest…

Mapillary is a street-level imagery platform, powered by collaboration and computer vision”. That’s how Jan Erik Solem pitched Mapillary late 2017. Being freshly done with our deep dive into high-definition mapping, we were convinced that Mapillary’s ambitious mission aligned well with our investment thesis. We were impressed with Mapillary’s world-class team, unique data acquisition strategy and powerful business model, creating a data network effect that extracts more value for each participant of the ecosystem in a data-hungry industry as shown below (by Mapillary).

It is no secret that the internet has brought in transparency to car prices, just like anything else. Within a matter of minutes, you can easily see how car prices compare in different locations and shop around. Driven by this, despite the fact that average car prices are going up, average dealer profit from a new vehicle sale has gone down quickly over time. According to Wall Street Journal, it has led dealers to lean more heavily on the financing component. This could be surprising for many, but we’ve reached a point where dealers make more money on loans than…

The couple, eager to buy a new car, take their seats in the office of the car dealer. Being used to a simplified digital purchasing experience à la Apple store or Amazon, the couple would be surprised to see, on the other side of the desk, their dealer may have 10 or more different log-ons and windows open on the computer, including some reminiscent of a black DOS screen with block letters and blinking cursor. Our research found car dealers typically rely on on-prem software packages some might call archaic. As many of these solutions can’t address the comprehensive needs…

If you ever talk to engineers or product designers working on autonomous vehicles, space capsules, rockets or engine components, you would hear them mentioning how difficult and time consuming it is to find optimal manufacturing process for their needs. On the other hand, if you have a chance to talk to machine shops, you would feel their frustration about finding new customers and the amount of the time and energy spent responding to customer inquiries. This is exactly where Xometry comes to play. Operating its own machine shop and leveraging machine learning algorithms, Xometry has built a proprietary manufacturing platform…

Lyft just published its S-1, throwing the hat into the ring. Thanks to their invigorated interest in a future public offering, we now have for the first time such a rich trove of publicly available data to compare the ride-sharing juggernauts head-to-head. As an investor in the mobility space, I crunched the numbers, and here is my take on the newly publicly available data. Please note that we are using all publicly available data (Lyft S-1, Uber data from WSJ, Bloomberg and TechCrunch, please see the sources at the bottom for more details) to do a quick analysis. This is…

Roughly half a million school buses transport more than 25 million students to and from school each day in the US, where the majority of buses are still state-owned and operated. The cost of transportation has increased rapidly over years, and this results in a public expense of close to $25 billion per year. As the cost of providing bus service increases, this challenges public entities’ ability to invest in updating and upgrading bus fleets. Only 3 states across the country have fully funded their public school transportation budgets. It is estimated that there are about 250,000 school buses still…

High definition maps play a key role for autonomous driving, yet there are many challenges to tackle. Our investment in Mapillary, an independent provider of street-level imagery and map data, can help address these and make autonomous driving a reality.

Why are maps important?

Baris Guzel

Principal @BMWiVentures. Proud @DukeU, @UNC (yes, both!) and @vcic alumnus. Engineer with top-tier investment banking and VC experience. Views are mine.

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