Fintech firms continue to take the SPAC route to going public, with Acorns announcing a deal on Thursday that values the savings and investing app at about $2.2 billion.
The SPAC boom has shown signs of cooling amid heightened regulatory scrutiny. In April, only 10 new issuances came to market versus 109 a month earlier.
But Acorns said it had agreed to merge with Pioneer Merger, a special-purpose acquisition company affiliated with the hedge funds Falcon Edge Capital and Patriot Global Management.
As part of the transaction, Pioneer will contribute about $400 million in cash, with another $165 million coming from a related private placement involving funds managed by BlackRock, Wellington Management, and other investors. When the deal is finalized, Acorns will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbols OAKS.
“Now was the time to go public to accelerate our growth and get the tools of responsible wealth-making in everyone’s hands as fast as possible, when they need it most,” Acorns CEO Noah Kerner said.
The company, last valued at less than $1 billion, has attracted venture investments from the likes of PayPal Ventures, BlackRock, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Lopez, and Dwayne Johnson.
Unlike investing startup Robinhood, Acorns currently doesn’t allow users to buy or sell individual stocks, instead providing a platform that allows customers to automatically invest the spare change from debit or credit card purchases into index funds.
“The Acorns listing comes on the heels of record growth for investing apps during the pandemic,” CNBC said, noting that passive investment apps Wealthfront and Betterment both posted their best quarters in history to start the year.
Kerner said Acorns’ first quarter was its best on record, with subscribers doubling from the fourth quarter to 4 million. The company is projecting $126 million in revenue this year and $309 million in 2023, up from $71 million in 2020, and that its user base will exceed 8 million subscribers by 2023.
Other fintech startups that have agreed in recent months to multibillion-dollar deals with SPACs include banking startup Social Finance, real-estate platform Better Holdco, and trading app eToro Group.