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Smart Glass Startup View To Begin Trading On The Nasdaq

Smart glass-maker View is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq Tuesday after going public through a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company.)

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View’s smart glass panels use artificial intelligence and machine learning to tint a building’s glass to optimize for light, heat and glare. 

The company combined with the SPAC CF Finance Acquisition Corp. II, sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald and Co., in a $1.6 billion merger, which is expected to generate $800 million in proceeds from the deal, per Reuters.

“Typically, a lot of companies go public when they see their value is well recognized and they can have some liquidity event, that’s typically a motivation … our motivation is this is really a financing event, not a liquidity event,” View’s CEO Rao Mulpuri said in an interview with Crunchbase News.

Company leadership was building View to ultimately be a public company in terms of its governance and structure, Mulpuri said. View was founded 12 years ago to address climate change and  the amount of energy buildings were using.

Although a traditional IPO was always the default plan, the popularity of SPACs changed things. Investors began inquiring about taking View public through a SPAC, and View settled on that route after meeting with several different ones.

The company’s products are in commercial buildings, hospitals, universities and airports like Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. View’s smart glass can also be found in multifamily residential buildings (the company hasn’t announced any residential single-family products).

Following the company’s official public debut, View will turn to building out its sales and marketing team, its support capabilities in the field, and hiring more people in its manufacturing facilities, Mulpuri said. 

Real estate one of the the biggest asset classes, and that makes for a large market for the company to go after.

The company’s backlog makes for a high growth rate for the future, with View projecting that in the next five years it will roughly double its business every year compounded, Mulpuri said.

Even with many people still working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mulpuri expects the demand for smart glass to remain high. The expectation is that people will spend fewer hours in the office per employee, but companies will need more room per employee, given how ingrained social distancing has become. There will also be a greater focus on the quality of air and space, Mulpuri said.

“The other thing that will happen around the asset class (real estate), especially if there’s a little bit of oversupply, there’s a bit of flight to quality,” Mulpuri said. “If buildings have to compete with each other, they compete on amenities.” 

The company last raised a $1.1 billion Series H funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund in November 2018, per Crunchbase. Other investors in the company include BlackRock and Madrone Capital Partners. 

We’ll update this story with View’s opening and closing trade prices when the market opens.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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