Joby Aviation founder JoeBen Bevirt has spent more than a decade developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing passenger aircraft — an effort that was largely shrouded in secrecy until January 2020 when the company announced a $590 million Series C round of funding that was led by Toyota Motor Corporation (that round later expanded to $620 million).
The buzzy announcements continued with Joby’s acquisition of Uber Elevate and then culminated in February with its bid to become a publicly traded company through a merger with Reinvent Technology Partners, a special purpose acquisition company from well-known investor and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.
Joby is just getting started. The company plans to use capital generated via its public listing to fund the launch of passenger service, which is expected to begin in 2024. And Joby still must complete certification of its aircraft and develop manufacturing facilities, but it is already on its way to achieving both. The company is also planning to begin construction on a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, designed in conjunction with Toyota, later this year.
The upshot: Bevirt has a lot to share. That’s why we’re excited to announced that Bevirt and Hoffman will join us on our virtual stage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021. The virtual event, which features the best and brightest minds in the world of mobility, will be held on June 9. Bevirt and Hoffman will discuss building a startup — and keeping it secret while raising funds — the future of flight and, of course, SPACs.
The pair will join other speakers TechCrunch has announced, a list that so far includes investors Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation Fund, Quin Garcia of Autotech Ventures and Rachel Holt of Construct Capital, as well as Starship Technologies co-founder and CEO/CTO Ahti Heinla. Stay tuned for more announcements in the weeks leading up to the event.
“We approach it (SPACs) as venture capital at scale,” Hoffman told TechCrunch in a February interview. So it’s not a ‘this-year thing,’ it’s a next three years, next five years, next 10 years.”
And yes, Hoffman believes SPACs are here to stay. Although we plan to check in on his stance in June. “I think that it’s valuable to the market and valuable to society to have multiple, different paths by which companies can go public,” Hoffman said.
As for Bevirt, the move to go public marks Joby’s readiness to be more open with the rest of the world.
“We think that this is a really exciting moment, where we stand on the threshold of really redefining mobility,” Bevirt said in a previous interview. “And we really want to bring the world along on our exciting journey. Previously, only a very exclusive set of investors has had access to be part of our journey, and it’s really exciting for us to be able to share that more broadly.”
We can’t wait to hear from Bevirt and Hoffman at TC Sessions: Mobility on June 9. Make sure to grab your Early Bird pass before May 6 to save $100 on tickets and join the fun!