The Daily Ten – Meet 25 yr old Billionaire transforming autonomous vehicles, Howard Lutnick’s SPAC “View”, Airbnb bans New Year’s Eve parties…
The Daily Ten
1. Meet The World’s Newest—And Youngest—Self-Made Billionaire: Luminar’s Austin Russell | Forbes
The race to commercialize self-driving car technology has attracted billions of dollars of investment but not created many billionaires. Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell is among the rare exceptions. With the Nasdaq listing of the laser sensor company he founded at age 17, the optics prodigy is one of the first billionaires to emerge from the autonomous-vehicle world—and the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.
“It’s been insanely intense, grueling . . . everything through every day that we’ve had to go through, scaling this up. And of course it’s incredibly rewarding to have an opportunity to be able to get out there now and get into the public markets and scale through this IPO SPAC,” 25-year-old Russell tells Forbes in a video interview from his office in Palo Alto, California. “I’m still relatively young, but … a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it. And I was fortunate enough to be able to retain a good enough stake.”
Good enough, indeed. Russell’s 104.7 million shares, about a third of Luminar’s outstanding equity, was worth $2.4 billion at the close of Nasdaq trading on Thursday. The listing, announced in August, resulted from a merger with special purpose acquisition company Gores Metropoulos, a unit of Beverly Hills-based finance firm The Gores Group, and raised Luminar’s estimated market value to $3.4 billion prior to the start of trading.
Investors in the newly public company include fellow billionaire Peter Thiel (net worth: $4.6 billion), who helped get Russell started with Luminar by making him a Thiel Fellow in 2012; Volvo Cars Tech Fund; Alec Gores of The Gores Group, another billionaire ($2.2 billion), who is also a Luminar board member; and billionaire Dean Metropoulos, the company’s chairman.
2. Howard Lutnick’s SPAC is taking smart-glass company public | The Real Deal
Cantor Fizgerald’s deal values View at $1.6B
Smart-glass company View is set to go public through a special purpose acquisition company merger.
The company announced Monday it had reached an agreement with a SPAC sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald. The deal values View at $1.6 billion, according to Bisnow.
The company, which is expected to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, will reap about $800 million.
It has been a boom year for SPACs, which have raised more than $30 billion as of September, compared to $13 billion in 2019, according to the New York Times. The mergers offer a quicker way for companies to get to the stock market, avoiding a lengthy IPO process.
3. Trump Administration Claims Facebook Improperly Reserved Jobs for H-1B Workers | WSJ
Justice Department lawsuit says social-media company didn’t sufficiently advertise open positions, overlooked U.S. residents
The Trump administration has sued Facebook Inc., FB -1.97% accusing the social-media company of illegally reserving high-paying jobs for immigrant workers it was sponsoring for permanent residence, rather than searching adequately for available U.S. workers who could fill the positions.
The lawsuit reflects a continuing Trump administration push to crack down on alleged displacement of American workers.
In a 17-page complaint filed Thursday, the Justice Department’s civil-rights division said Facebook inadequately advertised at least 2,600 positions between 2018 and 2019 that were filled by foreign professionals on H-1B visas when the company was looking to sponsor them for permanent residency permits, known as green cards.
4. Airbnb is making it tougher to rent homes on New Year’s Eve | New York Post
Airbnb, the home rental company that will make its market debut next week, is making it harder to book apartments on New Year’s Eve in Paris, New York, London and other top destinations to limit the risks of illegal parties in the time of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, travelers who don’t have positive reviews on their Airbnb profile won’t be able to rent a place for a single night on Dec. 31 in the United States, France, Britain, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Spain, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement.
People planning to spend the last day of the year in properties let through Airbnb will also have to pledge they won’t organize any parties on New Year’s Eve and they are aware of the legal charges they might face if they fail to abide by the rule, the company said.
5. Tenants Sue Trump Over Scheme That Drove Up Their Rents | The New York Times
The latest legal front against the outbound president involves a maneuver that earned him and his siblings millions while lowering their taxes.
President Trump will face a raft of potential legal challenges when he leaves office — from, among others, the Manhattan district attorney, the New York attorney general and perhaps the United States Justice Department.
Now add to that Leonie Green of the Westminster Apartments in Brooklyn.
Ms. Green is among a group of tenants in rent-regulated apartments once owned by Mr. Trump’s father who have filed a lawsuit against the president and his siblings, accusing the Trumps of a decade-long fraud to win artificially high rent increases through an invoice-padding scheme.
The scheme, first revealed in a 2018 investigation by The New York Times, involved tacking at least 20 percent onto the cost of materials purchased for the apartments, with Mr. Trump, his siblings and a cousin splitting the extra proceeds. The maneuver generated millions of dollars for each sibling, with no work required. While the siblings were still liable for income taxes, the maneuver allowed them to evade far-higher gift and estate taxes on part of the fortune they received from their father.
6. Shayp raises €1.9 million for proptech that helps reduce water usage by 20 percent | techeu
Belgian proptech (and sustainability) startup Shayp has raised €1.9 million to scale its intelligent water monitoring system, which it says is helping the City of Brussels save over 50 million litres of water per year. Berlin’s Signa Innovations led the seed round while AMAVI Capital and previous investors finance&invest.brussels joined, as well.
Founded in 2017, the startup assessed that one in three buildings suffer from costly leakages all year round, due to faulty plumbing, leaky toilets and other ‘compromised’ systems.
7. A dollar can’t buy you a cup of coffee but that’s what NASA intends to pay for some moon rocks | Washington Post
“You’d be surprised at what a dollar can buy you in space,” Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations, said in a call with reporters.
But the modest financial incentives are not the driver of the program. Nor to a large extent is the actual lunar soil. NASA is asking for only small amounts — between 50 and 500 grams (or 1.8 ounces to about 18 ounces). While there would be scientific benefits to the mission, it’s really a technology development program, allowing companies to practice extracting resources from the lunar surface and then selling them.
It would also establish a legal precedent that would pave the way for companies to mine celestial bodies in an effort blessed by the U.S. government to help build a sustainable presence on the moon and elsewhere.
To do that, NASA says it needs its astronauts, like the western pioneers, to “live off the land,” using the resources in space instead of hauling them from Earth. The moon, for example, has plenty of water in the form of ice. That’s not only key to sustaining human life, but the hydrogen and oxygen in water could also be used as rocket fuel, making the moon a potential gas station in space that could help explorers reach farther into the solar system.
8. LIC will soon house the nation’s largest passive house office | The Real Deal
JNY Capital and United Hoisting Co. developing eco-friendly 425K building
Long Island City is getting what developers say will be the nation’s biggest office building designed to passive house standards.
JNY Capital and United Hoisting Company will build their 425,000-square-foot spec office at 38-42 12th Street to the eco-friendly standards, the developers told The Real Deal.
First developed in Germany, passive house specifications require buildings to use ultra-low levels of energy, usually through the use of insulation systems that require less heating and cooling.
The $175 million development, dubbed the Oasis, will have solar panels, a green-roof system and a high efficiency mechanical system, among other features.
9. Starcity Acquires Another Co-Living Startup | Crunchbase News
Co-living startup Starcity said Thursday that it’s acquiring another co-living company, Ollie.
Starcity CEO Jon Dishotsky said he met Ollie co-founder Chris Bledsoe on a panel several years ago and has long admired the Ollie brand, so kept the company on his radar as Starcity and Ollie each expanded.
Ollie went through a leadership transition toward the end of last year and experienced a lot of the same challenges others in the real estate world were going through during the pandemic, Dishotsky said. Starcity entered serious talks with Ollie over the summer.
Starcity was a West Coast and Western Europe-focused company, whereas Ollie had a presence on the East Coast. The acquisition gave Starcity the opportunity to expand its footprint.
10. Reuben Brothers to Buy New York City’s Surrey Hotel | Bloomberg
Billionaire British brothers David and Simon Reuben are buying New York City’s upscale Surrey Hotel in their latest push into U.S. real estate, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The deal is set to value the five-star Manhattan property at less than the $215 million asking price, the person said, asking not be identified discussing private information. The Reubens plan to hire a top hospitality management company to operate the 189-room hotel, according to the person.
The tony hotel near Central Park is a recreation of the original Surrey, which was built in 1926 and hosted famous people including John F. Kennedy and Bette Davis. The Reubens, famous for their London property holdings, made a significant push into Manhattan this year by buying a retail condo from SL Green Realty Corp. for about $170 million, Bloomberg News has reported.