Category Archives: Technology

Houston Space Infrastructure company to go public

Intuitive Machines (‘IM’), a Houston space infrastructure company, has agreed to be taken public by Inflection Point Acquisition Corp, a Manhattan-based SPAC.

The company is located near NASA and has recently been awarded a number of contracts with NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.



IM is involved in 4 main segments

  • Lunar landing vehicles
  • Lunar data services
  • Orbital services (e.g. satellite servicing, debris removal)
  • Space infrastructure (power plants, human habitation systems)

IM was founded in 2013 by CEO Stephen Altemus, Kam Ghaffarian and Tim Crain.

  • Mr. Altemus is the former Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
  • Mr. Ghaffarian is the Chairman of IM and has co-founded a number of space companies, including NASA contractor Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, which was sold to KBR for $355 million in 2018.
  • Dr. Crain is IM’s Chief Technology Officer and worked at NASA for 12 years.
  • CFO Erik Sallee joined in April 2021 and was formerly the Corporate Controller at Blue Origin.

The company expects to have $102 million of revenue this year and has $153 million in backlog for 2023. The big jump is in 2024 when revenues are projected to be $759 million and the business will make a small EBITDA profit.

The transaction values the business at $815 million enterprise value (2.8 x 2023 revenue) and will leave the business with $338 million cash on hand to fund growth.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.

Just last week, Nauticus Robotics, another Houston company with strong NASA connections, was taken public by a SPAC.

Intuitive Machines – Investor Presentation

 

 

 

Nauticus Robotics closes SPAC deal to go public

Nauticus Robotics, a Houston-based marine robotics company, is now a public company. Back in December 2021, it agreed a deal with CleanTech Acquisition Corp, a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation). The deal valued Nauticus at $377 million enterprise value.



The company used to be called Houston Mechatronics. It was founded in 2014 by Nicholaus Radford, who previously worked at NASA and Oceaneering. The company has its head office in Webster, two miles from the NASA Johnson Space Center and employs about 25 former NASA robot engineers.

Currently, manned service vessels are used to service the offshore energy sectors. Nauticus is developing tetherless, autonomous electric-powered robots that can be controlled by staff onshore. The company plans to rent out its Aquanaut robot for around $40,000 a day, less than half the cost of a deepwater rig.

Pre-production units are projected to be deployed in later this year. The company recently sold its first unit to IKM Subsea in Norway.

Investors in the business included Schlumberger (who now own 20%) and Transocean (19%).

Mr. Radford is the CEO. Rangan Padmanabhan was appointed CFO in May 2022. He spent many years at Solaris Asset Management and is a graduate of Rice University.

The company will trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker ‘KITT’.

SEC filing – 8-K

Microvast appoints new CFO

Microvast has appointed board member, Craig Webster, as its new CFO. He replaces Leon Zheng, who has been CFO since 2010.



The company went public via a SPAC in July 2021. It now trades at $5.80 a share ($1.7 billion market cap). Microvast is a leading provider of vehicle battery technology for all types of vehicles. The company claims its batteries have longer range, quicker charging and longer lifespan than its competitors. It had initial success with electric buses, especially in China.  Its products operate in 160 cities in 19 countries.

The company was formed in Houston in 2006 by Yang Wu. Nominally, the company has its headquarters in Stafford where it has a 4,000 sq. ft. office. The main operations have been in Huzhou, China where the company has a manufacturing plant with 1.7 million sq.ft.  Mr. Wu had previously founded a water treatment company in Huzhou that he sold to Dow Chemical in 2006.

Mr. Zheng will stay on in a consulting capacity for 18 months. He will receive a fee of $25,000 a month.

Mr. Webster has served as a director of Microvast since 2012. Between 2005 and 2018, he worked for Ashmore Group, an emerging markets Investment manager. He is a UK citizen and currently resides in New Zealand. Mr. Webster will receive a base salary of $400,000 and will be required to relocate to the US to a region mutually agreeable between him and the company. (According to LinkedIn, CEO Mr. Wu lives in Hawaii, while the company has a new R&D facility in Orlando and a large manufacturing plant in Tennessee).

The company also announced the promotion of Mr. Sasha Rene Kelterborn to President. He will lead the day-to-day operations of the company. Currently based in Berlin, he will also relocate to the US, to a region mutually agreeable between him and the company.

SEC filing – Microvast CFO

Houston robotics company to be taken public by SPAC

Nauticus Robotics, a Houston-based marine robotics company, is to be taken public by a CleanTech Acquisition Corp, a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation). The deal values Nauticus at $377 million enterprise value. CleanTech completed its $150 million IPO in July 2021.



Until recently, the company was called Houston Mechatronics. It was founded in 2014 by Nicholaus Radford, who previously worked at NASA and Oceaneering. The company has its head office in Webster, two miles from the NASA Johnson Space Center and employs about 25 former NASA robot engineers . Existing investors in the business include Schlumberger and Transocean. Angie Berka, the Director of Finance and Administration, is also a shareholder.

Currently, manned service vessels are used to service the offshore energy sectors. Nauticus is developing tetherless, autonomous electric-powered robots that can be controlled by staff onshore. The company plans to rent out its Aquanaut robot for $25,000-$50,000 a day, less than half the cost of a deepwater rig.

Nauticus also believes the technology can be used for other industries and applications such as ports (to monitor ship traffic), aquaculture (fish farming), offshore wind and data centers, and defence.

For 2021, the company has revenues of $8 million. This is projected to grow to $90 million in 2023 (4x enterprise value) and $202 million by 2024.

Existing shareholders including Schlumberger and Transocean are rolling over their shares. After the deal closes (expected in the second quarter of 2022) the company will have $222 million of cash on hand. $50 million of this will be used to execute the business plan, the rest will be placed in trust for future growth opportunities, including acquisitions.

SEC filing – 8-K

 

Sports Technology blank check company goes public

Sportsmap Tech Acquisition, a blank check company, has completed its $100 million Initial Public Offering (IPO). The company is based in the Galleria area of Houston.



The business aims to make an acquisition in sports technology such as wearables, data analytics, new methods of fan engagement, and new esports and gambling platforms.

The CEO of the company is David Gow. In 2007, Mr. Gow formed Gow Media, a multi-platform media company that included ESPN Radio Houston and digital content sites such as CultureMap. He was also the CFO and later CEO of Houston-based Ashford.com which went public in 1999. At one point, the company was the largest luxury retailer online. Prior to that, Mr. Gow was the Director of Corporate Strategy at Compaq.

A couple of names well known to Houston sports fans are also Directors;

  • Reid Ryan, former President of the Houston Astros. He is the son of Nolan Ryan.
  • Oliver Luck, former General Manager of the Houston Dynamo and former CEO of the Houston Sports Authority.  He is the father of Andrew Luck, the number one draft pick in 2012.

Jacob Swain serves as the CFO. Between March and November 2019, he was the CFO and Chief Technology Officer at Bellatorum Resources, a mineral rights investment firm that later shut down due to fraud. Prior to that, he worked at BBB Tank Services between 2009 and 2016, first as CFO, later as CEO.

S-1 filing – Sportsmap Tech Acquisition

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211018006029/en/SportsMap-Tech-Acquisition-Corp.-Announces-Pricing-of-100000000-Initial-Public-Offering

Houston Ecommerce blank check company completes $175 million IPO

Mercury Ecommerce Acquisition Corp has completed its $175 million Initial Public Offering. The Special Purchase Acquisition Corporation (SPAC), otherwise known as a blank check company, is seeking companies offering Software-as-a-Service (‘SaaS’) to enterprise customers.



The company has its head office in the Greenway Plaza area of Houston. The company is led by Chairman Blair Garrou, the co-founder and Managing Director of Mercury Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm. Previously, he was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center and led the formation of the Houston Angel Network.

CEO Andrew White currently serves as a Special Limited Partner for Mercury Fund. He also his own investment vehicle where he has grown and sold a couple of businesses. He is the son of former Texas Governor, Mark White (1983-1987) and ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018, losing in the run-off to Lupe Valdez.

CFO Winston Gilpin is the founding CFO of Mercury Fund. He also is the co-founder of GSqr Consulting where he provides both fund administrative services to small venture funds and accounting services to Houston startups.

S-1 filing – Mercury Ecommerce

 

Good Works management team completes its second SPAC IPO

Good Works II Acquisition Corp, a Houston-based SPAC or blank check company, has completed its $200 million Initial Public Offering. It priced 20 million units at $10 each. The company will  trade on the Nasdaq.



The Company’s management team consists of Messrs. Fred Zeidman, Chairman, Douglas Wurth, Chief Executive Officer, and Cary Grossman, President. It’s the same team that completed a $150 million IPO in October 2020 for Good Works Acquisition Corp.

In March 2021, Good Works I announced it would take Cipher Mining Technologies, a bitcoin miner, public. It is still in the process of trying to close that deal, which has an enterprise value of $2 billion. Good Works I looked at a nanotechnology company and a genomic diagnostic lab before deciding on Cipher.

As with Good Works I, three officers have agreed to make available 750,000 founder shares (3% of the initial allotment) to be contributed to non-profit organizations, including those involved in the arts, human rights and the advancement of life sciences. These shares will be donated within six months of the IPO closing.

With Good Works I, it was Zeidman, Wurth and David Pauker, a non-exec director, who donated shares. This time it is Zeidman, Wurth and Grossman.

S-1 filing – Good Works II Acquisition Corp

Houston SPAC to take space technology company public

Credit: Made in Space (a Redwire company)

[UPDATE: Sept 2, 2021 – Deal has now closed]

Genesis Park, a Houston-based Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), has agreed to take Redwire, a space technology company, public.



Genesis Park went public in November 2020 in a $150 million IPO.

Redwire, is based in Jacksonville, FL and manufactures space-capable robotics, solar arrays and antennas, and other equipment used in space. It plans to manufacture and assemble components in-space using 3D printing. The company was formed in June 2020 from the merger of two companies, with backing from AE Industrial Partners. Since then, it has made five more acquisitions.

Redwire becomes the seventh space venture in the past year to announce a SPAC deal. It had revenues of $120 million in 2020 and is currently cash flow positive. By 2025, it expects to grow to $1.4 billion. The transaction values the company at $615 million enterprise value.

Its CEO, Peter Cannito, was previously the CEO of Polaris Alpha, a high-tech solutions provider that developed systems for the Department of Defense. He’s also spent 12 years working for PE-backed companies in the defense, technology and government services market.

Jonathan Baliff, the CFO of Genesis and former CFO at Bristow Group, will join the Board of Redwire as a non-executive director.

The deal is expected to close by June 2021.

Investor Presentation – Genesis Park Redwire

Houston blank check company to take security screening company public

 

NewHold Investment Corp will take Evolv Technology public in a transaction that values the business at $1.25 billion. Evolv is a leader in AI touchless security screening with its head office in the Boston area.



The technology uses artificial intelligence and data science to screen people for weapons and other threats. The company says its platform eliminates the need for devices like metal detectors and physical security checks. It is used at venues such as Six Flags amusement parks, the Lincoln Center in New York and at the stadiums of the New England Patriots, Chicago Cubs and Manchester City.

Evolv has some high profile backers. Bill Gates is a shareholder and the $300 million stock private investment (PIPE) will include investments from Peyton Manning, Andre Agassi, Steffi Grafi, Joe Torre and Theo Epstein.

Customers pay a monthly subscription for using the service, rather than buy hardware. In 2020 the company had 209 units deployed, generating revenues of $4.3 million. It lost $26 million at the EBITDA level. However, the company projects it will have over 8,000 units deployed by 2025 and revenues of $595 million.

NewHold raised $150 million in an IPO in July 2020. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Evolv Investor Presentation

Houston blank check company to take bitcoin miner public

Good Works Acquisition Corp has agreed to a reverse takeover of Cipher Mining Technologies. Cipher is a newly-formed US-based Bitcoin mining company that is being carved out of New York-based Bitfury Group. Bitfury provides Bitcoin mining hardware and other blockchain software and services.



Good Works went public in October 2020 with an initial public offering of $150 million.

The transaction values the combined group at $2 billion. In addition, the business will have $500 million of cash on hand (and no debt). That will allow Cipher to build out its operations.

Currently there are about 18.6 million Bitcoins in circulation out of a maximum supply of 21 million. That was set in 2008 by its inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto (probably a pseudonym for unknown persons). As part of its records creation process, more and more computing power is needed to create new Bitcoins. Currently China accounts for about 65% of all Bitcoins mined globally.

Cipher intends to initially build 4 data centers (3 in Texas, 1 in Ohio) with a power capacity of 445 MW. These will be built in 2021 and 2022. The business plans to expand these data centers between 2023-2025 with an additional 300 MW of power. By 2025, the business intends to mine 21,000 Bitcoins.

The company states that it has 5 year supply contracts with CloudHQ and Vistra for Texas at an average price of 2.7 cents per kWH. However, the small print in the investor presentations state these are letter of intent prices. It will be interesting to see if proposed solutions to the recent Texas power grid problems will significantly impact the rate.

SEC filing – Good Works Cipher merger