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IPO roundup: These 3 tech exits will yield big gains for Pittsburgh

Following Duolingo's IPO, public offerings are on the way for Aurora and Cognition Therapeutics, and Stronghold Digital Mining launched one this week. Here's what we know so far.

The Aurora Pacifica autonomous vehicle. (Courtesy photo)
Update: The day after this story published on Oct. 12, 2021, Stronghold Digital Mining announced the launch of its IPO. Details have been added below. (10/13/21, 1:25 p.m.)
After Duolingo’s hugely successful initial public offering in July, Pittsburgh tech leaders shared predictions of a chain of similar exits to follow soon after. And they were right.

Only a few short months later, another Pittsburgh tech company has gone public in the life sciences sector, while an autonomous vehicles firm and bitcoin mining company both have plans to carry out their own public exits by the end of the year.

To keep track of all of these deals, rounded them up to highlight the most significant aspects, and what each will mean for the future success of Pittsburgh tech.

Aurora announces planned date for SPAC deal

Autonomous vehicle company Aurora announced today that it hopes to complete its deal with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Reinvent Technology Partners Y by November if shareholders vote to approve at the Nov. 2 meeting. This news comes after Aurora’s announcement of Pittsburgh as its sole headquarters, and following a string of partnerships and other updates as the company readies for its public offering. Should the merger be approved, both companies will operate under the name Aurora Innovation Inc., and common stock will be listed on the Nasdaq under the AUR and AUROW ticker symbols, with trading set to begin on Nov. 4.

Going public will be the most significant business move for Aurora since acquiring Uber’s self-driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group, at the end of last year. The expected valuation when Aurora and Reinvent first made the announcement of their SPAC deal in July was $13 billion, which was due in large part to that Uber purchase. If successful in its public offering, Aurora will likely use the new funding and consumer support to further pursue work in commercial development, including the launch of its first autonomous product, the Aurora Driver, by the end of 2023.

Cognition Therapeutics sees good start to last week’s IPO

Last week, biopharmaceutical firm Cognition Therapeutics launched its IPO, which was initially expected to raise $40 million, as shared in an amendment to the company’s S-1 filing. But on its first day of trading last Friday, Cognition raised over $45 million after increasing its pricing to $12 per share. By the end of the day, that price was up to $12.77 per share, an increase of 6.42%, though the company had reached an even higher price of $13.78 earlier in the day.

The proceeds from Cognition’s IPO will go toward its pipeline of Alzheimer’s treatments, which are in the middle of Phase II clinical trials right now. As reported last week, Cognition has a steep challenge to face against big pharma companies hoping to achieve the same goal. This IPO will likely help fund and recognize Cognition’s efforts to that end, as outlined by the S-1.

Stronghold Digital Mining amends S-1, indicating a launch in the near future

Though the first trading date for Stronghold Digital Mining has not been announced yet, the company has continued to publish amendments to its initial S-1 filing, hinting that the IPO’s launch is just around the corner. So far, the alternative energy-powered bitcoin mining company has proposed a $100 million IPO on the Nasdaq, though the final figure won’t be certain until closer to the official trading date.

Once launched, this IPO could be a significant move for Pittsburgh’s energy and environmental tech companies, which some have pointed to as a growing sector. (Certainly, progress in that field is top of mind for the several autonomous vehicle companies here as well.) heard from Stronghold Chairman Bill Spence last month on the company’s founding and values ahead of its IPO.


UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Stronghold Digital Mining announced the launch of its IPO on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “SDIG” as well as a roadshow before the official trading date. The company will issue over 5.8 million shares of common stock at an anticipated price between $16 and $18 per share, giving the company a valuation of around $1 billion. When trading begins, Stronghold will reportedly become the first cryptocurrency company in North America to go public through the IPO process with SEC approval — a big move for an industry that will likely seeing increased regulations in the coming years.

Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Cognition Therapeutics / Stronghold Digital Mining / Aurora

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