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

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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Pejman Nozad, a founding managing partner at Pear VC, joins this episode of LA Venture to discuss Pear VC's current initiatives, including its accelerator and fellowships. He's seen as one of the most successful angel investors in the area, and for good reason: he has made more than 300 investments in his lifetime.

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Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
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In a year upended by crisis after crisis — the ongoing pandemic, the climate emergency, an insurrection in the capital — tech startup financing is not just bouncing back but altogether booming, and Los Angeles-based angel investors are a big part of that equation.

Angels usually take a stake in an emerging business using their own funds, before institutional investors are willing to throw more substantial resources behind an idea. Often, they start off as entrepreneurs or engineers themselves.

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Harri Weber

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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