Joby Aviation, the flying taxi company that aims to fill the skies with quieter and greener planes, debuted on the stock exchange today.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is Joby?
Based in Santa Cruz, California, Joby (one of Fast business‘s Most Innovative Companies of 2021) is a venture capital-backed aerospace company that manufactures electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. EVTOLs, which look like a cross between a multi-propeller helicopter and a large drone, are pretty self-explanatory: they can take off and land vertically, unlike traditional airplanes which need long horizontal runways to launch, making the most ideal eVTOLs for moving things and people through dense and congested urban centers.
So now is it public?
Joby began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, under the symbol JOBY. It was made public through a deal with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), an increasingly popular avenue for companies looking to accelerate their stock market debuts. The SPAC it merged with, Reinvent Technology Partners, is a blank check company run by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.
The shares climbed as much as 40% above their set price of $ 10.03 after the open, and were hovering up about 39% at noon on Wednesday.
Its backers include Toyota, JetBlue, and Uber. As a result of its PSPC deal, Joby now claims a valuation of $ 4.5 billion, the highest in the industry, and around $ 1.6 billion in cash to market its taxis by 2024.
Is this his goal?
Joby is aiming high: The company wants to create a whole new form of transportation with its flying taxis, which means your morning commute to work could eventually happen in the air. It also involves designing a grid of skyports and charging stations across the United States. As Hoffman described in a press release before Joby’s debut, it’s “Tesla meets Uber in the air.”
How is he unique?
All eVTOLs are more environmentally friendly than traditional airplanes – they are electric, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But Joby could also tackle another kind of pollution – noise pollution, because he designs a vehicle that takes off with a gentle gust of wind rather than the loud buzzing and buzzing we are used to. According to company tradition, founder JoeBen Bevirt has spent more than a decade secretly tinkering around his quiet ranch nestled in the redwood forests of northern California to achieve this feat.