Briefing

The Briefing: Trucking Startup Plus, Benson Hill Going Public Via SPAC, GoJek Raises $300M, And More

Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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Self-driving truck startup Plus going public via SPAC

Cupertino, California-based Plus, a startup developing technology for self-driving trucks, announced it has inked an agreement to go public through a merger with a blank-check acquirer, or SPAC.

Under terms of the agreement, Plus will merge with a SPAC called Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V in a transaction providing a post-combination market capitalization of approximately $3.3 billion.

Founded in 2016, Plus, formerly Plus.ai, plans to begin mass production of an autonomous driving solution, starting in 2021, with heavy-truck manufacturer FAW. The company says it is also working with  some of the largest fleets in the U.S. and China to pilot commercial freight operations.

— Joanna Glasner

Benson Hill go public via SPAC

Benson Hill, a St. Louis-based crop design platform, announced its intention to merge with Star Peak Corp. II, a sustainability SPAC formed by Magnetar Capital, in a transaction valued at $2 billion and would result in Benson Hill being a public company.

Founded in 2012, Benson Hill raised a total of $282.3 million in known venture capital funding. It most recently landed $150 million Series D funding led by GV and Wheatsheaf Group Limited. Other backers include iSELECT FUND, Lewis & Clark Ventures, Mercury Fund and S2G Ventures.

The combined company, to be led by Benson Hill’s CEO Matt Crisp, will be named Benson Hill Inc. and is expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BHIL. The transaction is expected to provide $625 million in gross proceeds and to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Benson Hill is the latest agriculture company to announce it would go public via a SPAC. In March, AeroFarms said it would merge with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp. in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. Experts said to expect at least four to seven more ag SPAC deals like AeroFarms this year.

— Christine Hall

Transportation

GoJek raises another $300M: Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant GoJek reportedly pulled in $300 million in fresh investment from Telkomsel, a unit of Indonesia’s largest telecom operator Telkom. The financing comes as Gojek continues working to finalize a proposed $18 billion merger with e-commerce platform Tokopedia.

Edtech

StuDocu secures $50M: Amsterdam’s StuDocu, a student-to-student knowledge exchange platform, raised $50 million in a funding round backed by Partech. The platform is popular for sourcing and sharing class notes.

— Joanna Glasner

Health care

AmVentureX brings in $1M: AmVentureX, a Minneapolis-based direct-to-consumer in vitro diagnostic testing company, announced $1 million in funding from SecretLab to continue developing its health care management platform and expand its nutrition product lines that have more than 100,000 users.

— Christine Hall

Fintech

FinLync banks $16M: Fintech company FinLync closed on a $16 million equity funding round led by Point72 Ventures to continue developing software products for corporate finance and treasury offices. The funding will support growth, including technology development, expanding the firm’s global reach, and rounding out its executive leadership team.

— Christine Hall

New fund

Sixty8 Capital raises $20M fund: Sixty8 Capital, an Indianapolis-based seed-stage venture capital firm, announced the first close of its $20 million venture fund. Founded in 2019, Sixty8 supports Black-, Latinx-, woman- and LGBTQ+-led startups. Investors in the fund include the Next Level Indiana Fund, 50 South Capital, Bank of America, Eli Lilly and Co., First Internet Bank and the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Sixty8 Capital is industry agnostic and intends to invest in 25 to 30 pre-seed and seed-stage companies with initial equity checks of $250,000 to $500,000 per company, reserving additional funds for follow-on rounds.

— Christine Hall

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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