Autonomous vehicle company Aurora sells $820M worth of stock

Aurora Innovation, the self-driving technology company that aims to launch an autonomous trucking business in 2024, has completed a capital raise of $820 million from a public and concurrent private offering of its stock. The company expects the deal to close Friday.

The stock sale will help fund Aurora through commercial launch at the end of next year and “well into 2025,” according to the company. Aurora said in November 2022 that it had enough money to get to mid-2024. The pre-revenue company has repeatedly said it would need to raise again to make it to launch and beyond.

In September 2022, a leaked memo showed that Aurora’s CEO, Chris Urmson, had been weighing a range of options to preserve the company’s cash position, including spinouts, layoffs, acquisitions and, of course, raises. In the memo, Urmson said there was value in finding “a path to raise $300 million in the next year to add around six months to our runway.”

In April, Aurora filed for a proposed mixed shelf offering to raise $350 million.

“We’ve always been transparent and said that we’d need to raise more money before our commercial launch and profitability,” Rachel Chibidakis, a spokesperson for Aurora, told TechCrunch. “This sizable capital raise is expected to get us through the launch of our autonomous trucking business, which is targeted for next year, and well into 2025.”

Aurora, which has prioritized commercializing self-driving trucks, has pilot partnerships with FedEx, Paccar, Schneider, Werner and Xpress. The commercial launch will involve operating a fleet of about 20 trucks between Dallas and Houston, hauling freight for customers without a driver, a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Aurora did not say specifically what it hopes to do with the funds. The company’s prospectus is vague, stating that Aurora will use the money for “working capital and other general corporate purposes.” Some of the money will be invested in short- and intermediate-term investment grade instruments. It’s also possible a portion of the proceeds will go toward acquiring or investing in additional businesses, technologies, products or assets, the company wrote in a filing.

The raise is broken into two parts. Aurora is selling 73,333,333 shares of Class A common stock at the public offering price of $3 per share, or a value of $220 million. The company is also selling 222,222,216 shares privately at a price per share of $2.70, or a value of $600 million, per a prospectus that was filed Tuesday.

Shares were trading at $3.22 Tuesday at close before dropping sharply in after-hours trading to $2.87. Aurora’s stock price closed Thursday at $2.92.

Aurora has not yet stated when it will report second-quarter earnings, at which time they will hopefully outline its plans for the cash. The company said in a filing that it expects to report $785 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of June 30, 2023. That number does not include the $820 million from selling stock.

The names of the investors will come to light once the deal has closed Friday. Aurora only said that a number of existing institutional and strategic investors participated in the raise.

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