The merger will enable Wejo to become a publicly listed company in the US

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Wejo to merge with blank cheque company Virtuoso. (Credit: Zach9222 from Pixabay)

Wejo has agreed to merge with blank cheque company Virtuoso Acquisition in a deal that values the British connected car data start-up at $800m.

The auto data provider’s pro forma equity value is estimated at $1.1bn.

The merger will enable Wejo to become a publicly listed firm in the US. The combined company will retain the name of the connected car data start-up.

Virtuoso Acquisition chairman and CEO Jeffrey Warshaw said: “Wejo is uniquely positioned to set the industry standard and realise the extraordinary potential in connected vehicle data, and we are confident that Wejo’s innovative platform, strong leadership and proprietary data sets will set the company apart as the market for connected vehicles and their data continues to grow.”

Founded in 2014, Wejo organises billions of data points from millions of connected cars. Backed by General Motors and other investors, the start-up partners with automotive manufacturers from various parts of the world to stream data at scale and speed.

Currently, it claims to collect 14.6 billion data points in near-real-time and analyses 66 million trips across a network of 10.7 million live vehicles belonging to a supply base of over 50 million connected vehicles.

By the end of this decade, the company hopes to significantly expand its connected vehicle network given that almost 50% of all vehicles in the world are expected to be connected vehicles.

Wejo’s cloud-based data exchange platform dubbed ADEPT organises big data on a global scale. The secure, compliant and flexible platform enables sharing and accessing of connected vehicle data.

In the combined company, Wejo’s original shareholders will have ownership of about 64%.

The merger is expected to give the combined entity proceeds of nearly $330m. This includes Virtuoso Acquisition’s $230m cash held in trust and $100m through a private investment in public equity (PIPE).

The PIPE investors include strategic investors such as General Motors and Palantir Technologies.

Wejo will be able to use the cash proceeds from the transaction to fully cover its five-year plan and carry out its objectives.

Some of the plans of the company include onboarding of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), launching new offerings and services for connected vehicle customers, and growing further into in-demand marketplaces and new regions.

Wejo CEO and founder Richard Barlow said: “The team at Virtuoso champions our vision to transform connected vehicle data into data for good, and we are proud to establish the market standard for collecting and aggregating that data.

“Insights developed by our data will make mobility safer, smarter, and more sustainable.

“Driven by our marketplace solutions for customers and SaaS solutions for OEM and Tier 1 partners, we expect rapid growth in revenues over the next several years.”

Subject to Virtuoso Acquisition’s shareholders’ approval and customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close during the second half of this year.