Embark-ing On the Public Markets

By Matt Ocko 06.25.21

Each year in the United States, trucks move roughly 73% of the nation’s freight across interstate highways. The movement of these goods is critical to our economy, delivering food to our grocery stores and supplies to our doors. When we met Alex Rodrigues and Embark Trucks four years ago, we saw a company with a vision to make this critical industry – commercial trucking – safer and more efficient through autonomous driving. We believed so strongly in the Embark team and its vision that we were the largest Seed investor in the company, led its Series A financing, and have been enthusiastic supporters ever since.

As Embark announces an agreement to go public through a deSPAC transaction, the company’s trucks have driven more than a half million autonomous miles while maintaining a perfect CSA score. Embark now counts Anheuser-Busch Inbev S.A, HP and Werner Enterprises among its partners and it’s perfecting Level 4 high autonomy software that can handle most driving functions, including negotiating highway construction zones.

Embark is the 8th DCVC company to announce its intention to become a public company or debut on the public markets since December, joining AbCellera (Nasdaq: ABCL), Rocket Lab, Evolv Technology, Recursion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: RXRX), Zymergen (Nasdaq: ZY), SentinelOne (NYSE:S, filed) and Lucira Health (Nasdaq: LHDX). These companies, which we have supported since the days when they were just promising ideas, are all offering valuable solutions that transform industries and make the world better around us. And they’re creating these transformative solutions using relatively little capital – Embark has raised just over $100 million building its autonomous trucking platform compared to the billions poured into other autonomous driving companies.

This combination of capex and opex efficiency, where compute and scientific breakthroughs replace brute-force spend to attack even the most complex real-world problems, is a hallmark of DCVC companies – it’s what I defined as Deep Tech more than 20 years ago. Deep Tech is the common thread among these companies that enables them to efficiently and cost-effectively tackle challenges across industries that others simply cannot. For Embark, marrying the novel science, proprietary data and compute-driven insight emblematic of Deep Tech with many years of expertise in cutting-edge robotics helped the company log hundreds of thousands of autonomous miles, major partnerships and a coming public market debut.

As we look forward to the close of this transaction, we’re excited for the continued development of Embark’s platform and what that could mean for both our economy and driver safety across the interstates. Congratulations to the entire team!