26-year-old CEO completes SPAC deal and brings his autonomous trucking start-up Embark public

25 year old Embark CEO and co-founder Alex Rodrigues

According to Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark Trucks, the congestion in US ports, the shortage of trucks and the rise in e-commerce have created a unique opportunity for autonomous trucking has completed its SPAC merger and is trading on Thursday under the ticker EMBK on the Nasdaq.

“What we’ve heard from investors is that people really understand the need here and there’s a lot of excitement about the potential to revolutionize the way logistics work,” Rodrigues told CNBC. “We’re really at a tipping point now where it really starts to affect everyday people and when people don’t get their Christmas presents the need for a solution becomes much more urgent.”

Embark was founded in 2016 by 20-year-old Rodrigues and Brandon Moak and focuses on software and assistive technology for autonomous trucking. Embark can convert existing truck fleets into autonomous fleets and works with hauliers and truck manufacturers instead of developing their own vehicles. According to the Embark website, The company’s autonomous technology can improve fuel efficiency by 10%, reduce delivery time by 40%, and increase sales per truck by 300%.

In June, Embark announced that it would be using Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp II, a special purpose acquisition company, in a $ 5.2 billion deal.

As of Thursday, Embark expects to generate gross cash proceeds of approximately $ 614 million, including a private investment of $ 200 million from Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, the largest trucker in the country, along with venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global. Rodrigues also becomes one of the youngest CEOs of a US public company at the age of 26.

Embark is the latest in a wave of autonomous freight forwarders to go public in 2021. TuSimple‘s IPO was in April, and it works with now UPS on railways for autonomous parcel delivery. Aurora innovation went public this month in a SPAC merger.

Wedbush predicts that approximately $ 750 billion will be spent on autonomous commercial vehicles over the next five years. Embark is partnered with AB InBev, Budweiser brewer, Werner company, a trucker for large retail stores, Ryder and DHL, and others, as all industries are looking to reduce supply chain spending.

“I think we are really excited that the industry recognizes that we are here as a quality partner and that we have been able to partner with some of the best in the business,” said Rodrigues.

Walmart announced this week it is with fully autonomous trucking to move online food orders through a partnership with the start-up Gatik.

Rodrigues believes it is another tailwind for his company and its autonomous logistics. “Large established players understand the urgency and necessity of this technology. We see that as a big plus. “

Correction: Plus and Hennessy Capital Investment Corp V have terminated their merger agreement. In a previous version, the status of the deal was incorrectly stated.