Globally, deal activity in the mobility technology sector for the fourth quarter of 2022 was going flat into 2023, Jonathan Geurkink, a senior analyst at PitchBook, told Automotive News.
“We are seeing investment shift away from the activity in and around autonomous driving and the ride-hailing and last mile stuff seems to be tailing off as well,” Geurkink said. “I think there are areas certainly in battery technology that look interesting. We’re probably going to put out an analyst note in the next month or so on sodium battery technology and some of the investments there.”
Of the 47 investments tracked from January to April thus far, 14 were in battery or fuel cell technology companies, three were in electric vehicle charging firms and seven were in logistics and trucking startups.
From January to March, investment in transportation technology startups plummeted 66 percent.
Investorss funded 15 US-based companies in January.
Headlining January was General Motors’ $650 million investment in Lithium Americas Corp. to develop Nevada’s Thacker Pass mine with the company jointly. Lithium Americas Corp. is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, but focuses its lithium extraction operations on the US and Argentina.
The US automaker’s investment in the joint company, Lithium Nevada Corp., is contingent on the outcome of a lawsuit brought by a Nevada rancher, conservation groups and Native American tribes in the US District Court of Nevada. The plaintiffs claim the mine’s creation would cause irreversible environmental damage. The court is expected to issue a decision by the end of 2023. Thacker Pass is the largest known source of lithium in the US and the third largest in the world.
That same month, Ritchie Bros., a heavy truck and equipment auctioneer in Chicago, received $500 million from New York hedge fund Starboard Value LP via stock purchases.