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Sunday, 08/28/2022 10:52:06 AM

Sunday, August 28, 2022 10:52:06 AM

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Last month, we started our search for a robotics stock to replace the robotics ETF in our Nanalyze Disruptive Tech Portfolio. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) stock is undoubtedly the best option for investors interested in the robot-assisted surgery theme, but we’re not yet convinced that’s the robotic automation market with the most potential, though there’s plenty of upside when it comes to the market for minimally invasive surgery. We think the grass could be even greener when it comes to self-driving cars. Yes, yes, we know: It’s one of those emerging technologies we’re always waiting for to emerge, outside of some San Francisco techno-hipster enclave where a few startups are testing robotaxis. That’s why we’re interested in a pick-and-shovel stock that would give real exposure to autonomous vehicles now before the big boom. And that’s why we continue to return to the idea of LiDAR stocks.

So far, though, we’ve steered clear of LiDAR stocks since they started to pop up in the public markets in 2020 by merging with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). The frenzy over SPACs has largely subsided, and we’re left with eight LiDAR stocks from which to choose. Here’s how they’ve performed since all debuted at the same price – $10 a share.
Company Ticker Price Performance
Luminar Technologies LAZR $14.42 +44%
AEye Inc LIDR $4.61 -47%
Aeva Technologies AEVA $5.52 -57%
Cepton Inc CPTN $4.12 -59%
Ouster Inc OUST $4.11 -59%
Innoviz Technologies INVZ $3.65 -64%
Velodyne Lidar VLDR $2.28 -77%
Quanergy QNGY $2.02 -80%
Credit: Nanalyze

As beaten down as most these stocks are, we need to watch out for value traps, something we talked about in our recent piece on Avoiding Value Traps in Beaten Down SPACs. Three of these SPACs have pre-SPAC valuation rounds (courtesy of PitchBook) we can compare against today’s valuations.
Company Name Round Valuation
(USD Millions) Date Market Cap
(USD Millions) Premium / Discount
Aeva Technologies Series B $400 Aug-19 $927 +132%
Innoviz Technologies Series C $344 Jun-19 $500 +5%
Velodyne Lidar Series B $1780 Dec-18 $456 -74%
Source: Pitchbook

While Aeva and Innoviz are trading at a premium to their 2019 venture round valuations, Velodyne’s valuation has dropped nearly 75% since their Series B in late 2018 (more on this in a bit).

When it comes to the largest company by market capitalization, Luminar is currently 5X the size of their nearest competitor, Aeva Technologies, and worth more than all their competitors combined.
Bar chart showing Market cap comparison for 8 LiDAR stocks


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