features Archer rings NYSE bell as latest eVTOL company to go public

We were on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as eVTOL developer Archer Aviation celebrated its public listing this week.
Avatar for Will Guisbond By Will Guisbond | September 22, 2021

Estimated reading time 6 minutes, seconds.

Archer Aviation on Monday celebrated the commencement of public trading after successfully listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) last week. After completing its business combination with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Atlas Crest Investment Corp., shares of the company began trading on Sept. 17 under the new combined ticker ACHR.  

Archer NYSE bell ringing
Archer co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein celebrate with their team after ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell on Monday. The company began trading publicly late last week. Will Guisbond Photo

This latest milestone comes at an exciting and pivotal time for the eVTOL industry, as Archer joins a growing list of companies that are placing the future of advanced air mobility technology into the hands of public investors. Last month, Joby Aviation completed a similar combination to go public on the NYSE, and German eVTOL developer Lilium started trading on the Nasdaq as LILM just two days before Archer went public. A business combination for Vertical Aerospace with Broadstone Acquisition Corp. is still pending. 

Archer announced its SPAC plans in February of this year with a pre-money valuation of around $2.7 billion, having raised a fully committed private investment in public equity (PIPE) offering of $600 million in addition to Atlas Crest’s $500 million cash held in trust. However, earlier this summer, Archer and Atlas Crest decided to slash the valuation by nearly 40% (about $1 billion), as more investors across a broad range of speculative technology SPACs began redeeming their shares at the time of the companies’ business combinations. 

Now, with Archer’s deal complete, it appears that decision has paid off for the company, as redemptions held at 48.5% — still high, but significantly lower than the roughly 65% redemptions seen by both Joby and Lilium. 

The ceremony celebrating all of this — which concluded with Archer co-founders Adam Goldstein and Brett Adcock ringing the opening bell at the NYSE on Monday — showcased what appeared to be an energized team ready to push the company into a new chapter. Similar to Archer’s splashy “Maker” reveal event in Los Angeles earlier this summer, fanfare surrounding the company’s vision for a world in which passengers are “untethered” from traffic-ridden cities dominated the halls of the NYSE on a host of television screens.  

Archer team NYSE
Archer Aviation flew out most, if not all, of their team from their headquarters in Palo Alto, California to watch the bell ringing celebration. Will Guisbond Photo

That concept is one that Adcock believes that the world is ready to hear. “The reason I wanted to start this business was to help in the areas of sustainable transportation, but also to help rework the major traffic problems we’re having in cities,” he said. “We now have a new opportunity to invite a new set of investors into the company to help achieve that mission.” 

Already on board with Archer’s mission are multiple strategic partners including United Airlines — which has declared its intention to order $1 billion of Archer’s Aircraft — as well as REEF Technologies, a parking garage developer that will help build out Archer’s infrastructure network of vertiports.  

However, it’s not all bliss for the company, at least not yet. For the better part of this year, Archer has been in the midst of battling a lawsuit with eVTOL developer Wisk Aero, which has claimed that Archer is profiting off of stolen Wisk trade secrets. Archer, in turn, has filed a counterclaim against Wisk, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for what it has described as an “extra-judicial smear campaign.” 

A successful conclusion to the lawsuit could have positive market-boosting effects — or, if it goes the other way, devastatingly negative ones — for a company trying to claim a leadership position in an already crowded space. Most recently, Archer prevailed over Wisk when the ruling judge denied Wisk’s request for a preliminary injunction.  

Archer Experience Square
Archer Aviation, like many companies that list on the NYSE, had a banner and static display in Experience Square, right outside the exchange’s main building. Will Guisbond Photo

Looking forward, Adcock said the Archer team has their sights set on future goals for the now publicly traded company. This includes a scaling up of manufacturing capabilities and, at the end of this year, a first flight of their Maker technology demonstrator. In an interview with eVTOL.com, Adcock made clear his goal to remain transparent in all the company’s activities. 

“Public markets seem to have a sense of clarity in terms of where these companies are going,” he said. “So, Archer is taking a very active approach to transparency.”  

Now, with retail investors having multiple options for investing in the emerging eVTOL industry, Archer is joining a dynamic and volatile space. Time will tell whether the company will “untether” itself from the challenges associated with its ongoing litigation, or fail to achieve take-off.  

For Archer’s co-founders, the way ahead is clear. “We’re excited about having a real path to fulfill our mission,” Adcock said. “It’s a future we want to live in, now we have to go build it.” 

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