Graf Industrial will buy Velodyne Lidar, a company that supplies 3D mapping for self-driving car capabilities.
In late 2018, Graf Industrial initiated an IPO effort with the specific intention of being a SPAC—a Special Purpose Acquisition Company; that is, a shell company deliberately created to raise cash with an IPO, then use it to acquire a company and effectively take that company public through the merger.
Graf Industrial’s deal to acquire Velodyne is the culmination of the SPAC effort. The merger paperwork values the combined company at USD $1.6bn, and Graf Industrial will be renamed Velodyne Lidar.
Velodyne are pioneers in lidar technology. Founded in 2005 by David Hall, the company have brought down the cost of lidar so it can be commercialised in the automotive industry.
Velodyne have licensed their lidar technology through long-term developmental contracts with leading manufacturers including Ford, Nikon, and Hyundai, amongst over 300 customers they’ve served over the years.
Last year, the company generated over $100m in revenue. With the rising interest in autonomous technology, Velodyne expect sales to rise sixfold and exceed $600m by 2024. Velodyne also have extensive non-automotive applications for their lidar technology, including mapping, robotics, and driver assistance systems.