As It Opens Electric Vehicle Reservations, Canoo Announces It's Under SEC Investigation

Zac Estrada

Zac Estrada is a reporter covering transportation, technology and policy. A former reporter for The Verge and Jalopnik, his work has also appeared in Automobile Magazine, Autoweek, Pacific Standard, and BLAC Detroit. A native of Southern California, he is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. You can find him on Twitter at @zacestrada.


Electric vehicle startup Canoo is under investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for the SPAC deal that took it public last year, as well as recent company dealings and the departure of several key executives, according to filings dated Monday.

"We recently received a notice from the SEC that they are conducting an investigation," said Canoo's recently appointed CEO and Chairman Tony Aquila. "They characterize it as a fact-finding inquiry," adding that company officials would not take questions from reporters about it, and that Canoo was, "committed to providing timely updates," about the probe. Canoo's filing stated the SEC is looking into the company's operations, business model, revenue strategy and customer agreements.

The company told investors Monday during its quarterly earnings call that it has cut losses and announced its lifestyle vehicle van, set to start production next year, will start at $34,750 and be one of the least-expensive new electric vehicles available in the United States. The premium model will go up to $49,950 for the Premium model of the van. Canoo also opened reservations for another van model and its pickup truck derivative.

Canoo's lifestyle vehicle van will start at $34,750.Image courtesy of Canoo

Canoo reported net losses of $15.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to $30.9 million in the same period last year. Net operating cash rose to $53.9 million from $23.7 million, while capital expenditures jumped to $12.1 million in the first quarter compared to less than $1 million during the same time in 2020. Aquila said Canoo also repaid a $6.9 million Paycheck Protection Program loan from July 2020.

Share prices for Canoo closed on Monday at $7.55, up 3.42%, before falling by nearly as much in after hours.

After a relatively uneventful public debut in December following an SPAC agreement with Hennessy Capital Acquisition and $2.4 billion valuation, Canoo shares nearly halved by March before its pickup truck prototype was revealed and bumping up the stock. But those gains were erased by the end of that month when the company announced several high-level departures from its executive lineup. Co-founder Ulrich Kranz, previously of BMW, vacated the CEO post in April and was replaced by Aquila.

A deal with Hyundai Motor Group was also declared dead this spring. Canoo agreed in 2020 to develop an EV platform for vehicles that would be derived from the startup's own vehicle designs and be available for use on future Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The announcement caught Canoo investors and the South Korea-based company off-guard.

Prices for the MPDV delivery van unveiled last fall and the pickup truck announced in March will also be revealed later this year, but Canoo opened up reservations Monday to all three vehicles through its website. Customers are required to put down a refundable deposit of $100.

While the company announced back in March it would refocus on the commercial vehicle market and away from the initially planned consumer model, Aquila said Canoo will still offer a subscription model, although it would make up less than 20 percent of sales.

Canoo also said Monday it plans to produce between 500 and 1,000 vehicles by the end of 2022, with 15,000 units projected for 2023. Aquila says Canoo is taking a conservative approach with these estimates.

The company is entering the final rounds of securing a contractor for its first phase of manufacturing and plans to announce a company partner next quarter. It's also in the process of narrowing down a site for a U.S. production facility and will select two finalists by the end of June.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis ( Please send job changes and personnel moves to

Read moreShow less