AppHarvest Inc., a green tech agriculture startup backed by former hedge fund investor Jeff Ubben, said Tuesday that it plans to list on the Nasdaq through a special purpose acquisition company.
AppHarvest, which plans to build the world's biggest greenhouse later this year in Morehead, Kentucky, will complete its listing transaction via Novus Capital Corp., a so-called special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that is already listed on the tech-focused exchange. Gross proceeds from the deal are expected to hit $475 million, AppHarvest said, taking the implied market value of the tie-up between it and Novus to around $1 billion.
"We are excited to transition AppHarvest to a public company and raise nearly a half a billion dollars in the process,” said AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb. “This will allow us to pursue our mission of transforming agriculture. A mission that’s become even more important since the global pandemic exposed how a rapidly increasing reliance on imports jeopardizes food security."
"We now know that, to build a more resilient food system that meets our growing population demands, we must immediately start building controlled environment agriculture facilities, as these farms use far fewer resources to grow far more produce," he added. "We believe that this partnership with Novus Capital is a transformative transaction which will allow us to both rapidly scale our agriculture facilities, in pursuit of our goal to redefine American agriculture, and build the country’s AgTech capital within Appalachia."
Novus Capital shares were marked 26.2% higher in early trading following news of the AppHarvest merger to change hands at $12.72 each.
AppHarvest, which includes board members such as home living style icon Martha Stewart and Impossible Foods CFO David Lee and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, completed their last round of funding in early August, raising $28 million to take their pre-listing total to around $150 million.
AppHarvest is looking to drive more sustainable farm production techniques in order to compliment delivery into the U.S. food system by reducing both the greenhouse emissions needed to transport produce and eliminating the need to stress local water supplies.
Located within what the company says is a one-day's drive to around 70% of the American population, the Morehead, Kentucky base will first hire around 300 workers and aims to improve its first access to fresh non-GMO fruits and vegetables by early next year.