Robocar LiDAR startup Ouster is going public through a SPAC at $1.9 billion valuation
Ouster is one of the early promising startups we’ve been following since 2017. In December 2017, Ouster made our list of the top 5 promising early-stage startups to watch. So what’s the big deal about Ouster? The San Francisco-based self-driving startup develops hardware and software for robotics and computer vision. Its OS1 sensor represents a step-change in LIDAR sensing technology that is available on the market today.
Also in December 2017, the robocar LiDAR startup started to sell its spinning 64-laser OS1 LiDAR for self-driving cars for $12,000 directly from its website. It was a steal back then considering the high-end LIDAR sensor from Google was selling at $75,000.
Now five years after launch, Ouster is planning to go public at about $1.9 billion valuation through a merger with a blank-check acquisition firm Colonnade Acquisition Corp, according to a report from Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter. This SPAC deal makes it the fifth lidar manufacturer this year to agree a SPAC merger to go public, following on from Velodyne Lidar Inc, Luminar, Innoviz and Aeva.
Founded in 2016 by CEO Angus Pacala, co-founder and former head of engineering of Quanergy Systems, and CTO Mark Fricht, Ouster builds high-resolution lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles, robotics, and many other applications. Ouster has raised at least $142 million from private market investors, including Cox Automotive, Silicon Valley Bank, and Fontinalis Partners, which is co-owned by Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
“The vision of the future that we’re pushing towards is lidar on every vehicle on earth, every moving object on earth and every piece of intelligent fixed infrastructure on earth, in the same way, that camera technology has propagated and become ubiquitous in the last 20 years,” Pacala said in an interview, speaking with Colonnade Chief Executive Remy Trafelet.
Ouster sees its digital lidar sensor technology as having practical applications beyond just self-driving vehicles and extending to areas such as drones, smart cities, and robotics, according to company co-founder and Chief Executive Angus Pacala.