The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Joby Goes Public in $1.6 Billion SPAC Flotation with Reinvent

Joby Aviation aims to raise $1.6 billion in fresh capital through a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company is the latest eVTOL aircraft start-up to go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, in a deal announced today with Reinvent Technology Partners that it says will result in a post-money equity valuation of $6.6 billion.

According to Joby, the anticipated gross proceeds include $835 million in a fully committed private investment in public equity (PIPE) funding supported by strategic partners and institutional investors that include Uber Technologies, the Baupost Group, and funds managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research and Baillie Gifford.

In a prerecorded video statement, Joby CEO and founder JoeBen Bevirt said the funding raised from the flotation will allow the company to achieve its “audacious goal” of getting its five-passenger eVTOL into commercial service in 2024. With more than 1,000 flight tests already complete on the current and previous prototypes, Joby says, it is the first eVTOL developer to reach agreement with the FAA to use the G-1 basis for type certification.

Last year the company also received the U.S. Air Force’s first airworthiness approval for an eVTOL design. Bevirt said that its contract from the service’s AFWERX program is providing valuable operational experience and early revenue for the company.

Joby’s unnamed eVTOL aircraft is expected to deliver a range of up to 150 miles and speeds of 200 mph. In December 2020, the California-based company acquired Uber’s Elevate air taxi platform, and it intends to leverage this software and expertise to start its own commercial services in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

According to Bevirt, Joby will be profitable by 2026, when it believes it will be generating annual revenues of at least $2 billion. He said that each aircraft is expected to generate net annual revenues of $2 million with an anticipated service life of 10 years, based on an average of 2.3 passengers on each flight and 4,500 operating hours per year. The company estimates that each aircraft will cost $1.3 million to manufacture, but that it expects to be able to reduce that by around 50 percent once production volumes increase.

Reinvent was established recently by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman; Mark Pincus, founder of online gaming hub Zynga; and venture capitalist Michael Thompson. Hoffman is joining the board of the merged Joby/Reinvent venture, which also today announced the appointment of Ford Motor Company chief financial officer Matthew Field as its CFO.

In 2020, Toyota Motor Corporation was the main backer for Joby’s $620 million Series C funding round. The Japanese automotive group has assigned more than 50 engineers to support the Joby team. Later this year, construction is set to start on a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that is being developed in conjunction with Toyota.

According to Joby and Reinvent, they are ensuring long-term alignment between Joby’s existing backers and new shareholders through a five-year lock-up agreement and price-based vesting on some of the shares. This means that some of the equity is not vested until the company achieves a market capitalization of $30 billion.