More SPAC Action: Tech Company Using Gravity to Store Energy Inks $1.6 Billion Deal

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to

More SPAC Action: Tech Company Using Gravity to Store Energy Inks $1.6 Billion Deal

Energy Vault, a startup that uses gravity and composite blocks heavier than a school bus to store renewable energy, plans to go public in a $1.6 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The combined entity — consisting of the Westlake Village, Calif.-based clean energy startup and a shell company called Novus Capital Corp. II — aims to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "GWHR." The companies expect the deal to close during the first quarter of 2022.

Energy Vault's tech was developed to help utilities "solve the problem of power intermittency that is inherent with wind and solar energy generation," said Robert Piconi, the clean energy company's CEO and co-founder in an announcement of the deal.

In its search for a business to take public, Novus CEO Robert Laikin said the blank-check firm "looked at over 100 companies."

Earlier this year, another SPAC set up by Laikin took AppHarvest public. The firm builds gigantic greenhouses and was at one point valued at $1 billion. AppHarvest's market cap currently hovers around $770 million.

These mergers are part of a larger trend that has drawn scrutiny from regulators, shareholders and lawmakers alike. Sen. John Kennedy introduced a bill earlier this year that would force SPACs to be more transparent with investors. "It's right and fair that a SPAC should disclose how its sponsors get paid and how that affects the value of its public shares," the Senator argued. "The Sponsor Promote and Compensation Act would require this kind of transparency," he added.

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Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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