January 27, 2021

story

  • Henrik Fisker has bounced back from the demise of his first car company, Fisker Automotive, with Fisker, Inc. 
  • Fisker, Inc. recently went public at a $3 billion valuation that quickly shot up to over $4 billion.
  • The deal used a once-derided but now popular investment vehicle called a SPAC to execute a reverse-merger and list Fisker on the NYSE.
  • The SPAC deal has given Fisker $1 billion to bring its Ocean SUV to market by 2022.
  • Here’s the inside story of how Fisker and Apollo Global Management made the deal happen, in record time.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Henrik Fisker is a study in resiliency. 

The demise of his first company, Fisker Automotive, in 2013 was a major setback, but it didn’t prevent the Danish-born designer and entrepreneur from staging a second act in the auto industry. In 2016, he founded Fisker, Inc. and started raising funds to build an all-electric sports sedan, the EMotion.

By 2019, Fisker, Inc. had evolved into a different kind of startup, with a new vehicle under construction: the Ocean SUV. But Fisker knew he was going to need to raise a lot of money to build it — a billion dollars more.

Fisker had already gone the traditional venture capital route, with Fisker Automotive, and wasn’t eager to do it again. “You raise the $100 million, but you still have to raise the billion,” the CEO, 57, said of the quest to round up private funders.

Instead, he began to concentrate on the revival of a formerly spurned type of deal, a reverse-merger with a “special purpose acquisition company”, or SPAC that could generate the big money that getting the Ocean to market would require.

A major player comes into the game

Leon Black

Leon Black founded Apollo Global Management.

LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters


Enter Apollo Global Management. The investment colossus, co-founded in 1990 by Leon Black and a group of Drexel Burnham Lambert refugees, has more than $430 billion under management, so in the grand scheme of things, the roughly $550 million that the firm organized in 2019 to capitalize its SPAC fund, dubbed “Spartan 1,” wasn’t eye-catching.

But in the realm of electric-vehicle startups, the SPAC captured plenty of attention when it announced in July that it would combine with Fisker, Inc., establishing a $3 billion valuation for the company. More importantly, it would raise the funds that the startup would need to bring the Ocean to market by 2022.

The reverse-merger was engineered by what finance insiders call a “blank check” firm that’s basically a team of investors looking for something to buy. Apollo initially set up Spartan as an energy SPAC, but investor enthusiasm in that space was lacking.

In early 2020, however, there was considerable momentum in the auto sector, with GM announcing an ambitious electrification strategy and unveiling is new Ultium battery technology, and with Tesla’s share price going ballistic, eventually making it the most valuable automaker in the world, worth $400 billion and winning CEO Elon Musk’s company

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Hi Folks,

After six years of written interviews and stories and blog posts and one year of podcasting, it’s time to close the book on The Bicycle Story. I launched this project on Nov 1. 2010 with an interview with Stevil Kinevil. I wasn’t sure exactly what the path forward would be for the site, but the late 2000s bike culture boom was reaching its peak and there were a seemingly endless number of fascinating characters in the bike world about whom I wanted to know more. Luckily, it turned out there were lots of readers who were also interested in the lives of bike racers, adventurers, advocates, industry insiders, dirt bags and wild women and men.

Over the years, the site grew beyond my expectations and gave me the opportunity to interview so many awesome individuals. Adonia Lugo, Oboi Reed, Ed Ewing and many others illuminated how race and class can remain barriers to cycling. Jeremy Powers and Stephen Hyde and Mo Bruno Roy gave readers a glimpse into what it takes to perform at the highest levels of the sport. Artists and artisans such as Brian Vernor and Martina Brimmer shared their craft. Adventurers such as Nick Carman, Jill Homer, and Alastair Humphreys took us along on their rides to the far corners of the globe.

When I launched the podcast last year, my intentions were threefold: breath some new life into the site, give myself an opportunity to experiment with podcasting, and create a revenue-generating product. The first two items were grand successes. The latter, much less so. In order for podcast sponsorship to work, the podcast needs a fairly large listenership. My hope was to sustain the podcast through listener support via Patreon pledges while building up a sponsorship-worthy audience. Unfortunately neither really happened. There were a handful of extremely generous listeners who made pledges and helped keep the project going for as long as it did. I am eternally grateful for their kindness and support! But ultimately the Patreon base and the overall audience remained fairly stagnant over time and never reached the sort of sustainability I needed.

I realize this might sound like sour grapes, but I promise you it’s not! I recognize there were plenty of things I did (or didn’t do) to help the podcast reach its full potential. More importantly, I am deeply humbled and have nothing but gratitude for all The Bicycle Story’s readers and listeners and supporters and interviewees over the years. It’s been a fantastic and satisfying ride.

Though there won’t be any new interviews or episodes on The Bicycle Story from here on out, the site will remain online. You can help me offset hosting costs (and clear out my closet!) by picking up a Bicycle Story tee from the shop. They’re deeply discounted right now and shipping is free anywhere in the U.S.

So once again, thank you to all the amazing people who shared their stories over the years. And thank you to

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I
am Tim Travis, an
ordinary American who decided to live out my dreams.  I saved my money,
quit my job, sold my possessions and set off to travel around the world by
bicycle.  I left my home in Arizona, USA on March 2002 and traveled on
a bicycle for many years. 

 

 

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Places I have visited


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Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.


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  (6-3-03 to 6-17-04) Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia,
Argentina, and Chile.


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Asia
  (11- 22, 04 to 9-15-06) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam,
China, Laos, Thailand again, Malaysia, and Singapore.


Australia
(9-15-06 to 9-15-07) The states of South Australia, Victoria,
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