03 Jan 2024
Canadian firm now focused on sensor fusion software for autonomous driving consummates merger with blank-check partner.
LeddarTech, the Quebec City, Canada, company that originally pioneered automotive lidar but has since pivoted to focus on sensor fusion software, has raised $59 million in a Nasdaq listing.
Its deal with the special-purpose acquisitions company (SPAC) Prospector Capital, originally announced in June 2023, was consummated in late December.
While the initial agreement anticipated $66 million in gross proceeds, LeddarTech CEO Charles Boulanger revealed the final total as $58.6 million - comprising $44 million via a convertible “private investment in public equity” (PIPE) arrangement, plus $14.6 million from the SPAC trust.
Completion of the deal, with net proceeds of $37 million, means that LeddarTech shares are now traded on the Nasdaq Global Market, under the ticker symbols “LDTC” and “LDTCW”.
Boulanger, who has since stepped down as CEO and replaced by company COO Frantz Saintellemy, commented: “The company’s partnership with Prospector, combined with this increased working capital, will help to further solidify our position in the automotive software sector.”
Founded back in 2007 as a spin-out from Canada’s National Optics Institute, LeddarTech raised C$6.5 million in venture funding in 2010 to support its 3D detection and ranging technology, and in 2016 revealed details of low-cost solid-state lidar hardware for potential use in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) applications and autonomous vehicles.
Lighting giant Osram subsequently bought a 25 per cent share in the firm, before a December 2020 partnership with software specialist dSpace looked to combine simulation software with LeddarTech’s lidar sensors.
Following its shift in focus from hardware to software, in February 2022 LeddarTech announced $140 million in a series D funding round, a figure that included a $24 million debt facility. Then in June 2022 it opened a development center dedicated to sensor fusion and perception Development in Tel Aviv, Israel, complementing sites in Montreal and Toronto.
The firm’s “LeddarVision” products, capable of combining camera imagery with data from radar and lidar sensors, are touted for a range of applications including park assist, adaptive cruise control, collision warning systems, automated emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and more.
New CEO Frantz Saintellemy said following his promotion: “I am delighted to take on the additional responsibility of becoming CEO of LeddarTech and to lead our team into the future. The market opportunity is tremendous, and the reception that our exciting automotive software continues to receive from various Tier 1 and OEM customers convinces me that LeddarTech will become a predominant automotive software supplier in the future.”
Derek Aberle, a former Qualcomm executive who has now shifted positions from CEO of Prospector to chairman at LeddarTech, added:
“Based on my experience at Qualcomm, I believe LeddarTech is poised to be a disruptive leader in supplying safer, higher-performing and less expensive software-based solutions for ADAS and AD [autonomous driving].
“I am very excited about the opportunity to work closely with Frantz and the rest of the leadership team to establish LeddarTech as a global leader in ADAS and AD software as we seek to capture a significant portion of this large and growing market.”
Next week, the firm will be taking part in the CES 2024 event in Las Vegas, where it will be unveiling its new “LeddarVision Surround” software, described as a “premium fusion and perception stack”.