Data intelligence company Near has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check vehicle KludeIn I Acquisition Corp. The deal values the California-based company at about $1 billion.
Near provides data to companies including the Ford Motor Company, Dunkin Donuts, and MetLife. It is among the largest full-stack intelligence providers of aggregated anonymized data on people's behavior around places, with 1.6 billion unique user IDs in over 70 million places across 44 countries.
KludeIn I Acquisition Corp. is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), an entity that has no commercial operations and is formed only to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO).
Near’s deal with KludeIn I will fetch $268 million in gross proceeds for Near, including a private placement of $95 million. The company also said it has secured a $100 million committed equity financing facility from CF Principal Investments, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald.
Near went with KludeIn I despite declining excitement about SPACs, once Wall Street's hottest ticket. Market volatility and the poor stock performance of some companies that have merged with SPACs have tamped down enthusiasm. The De-SPAC Index, which tracks some of these companies, is down over 50% so far this year.
"The reason we chose SPAC was because it was the fastest, most cost-effective, and the least risky in the current market for us," Near Founder and Chief Executive Officer Anil Mathews told Reuters.
"I am thrilled to partner with Anil and the entire team at Near as they continue to help global enterprises better understand consumer behavior and derive actionable intelligence from their global, full-stack data intelligence platform," said Narayan Ramachandran, Chairman and CEO of KludeIn. "We believe this merger is highly compelling based on the diversified global customer base, superior SaaS flywheel, and network effects of Near's business; highlighted by the company's strong customer net retention." Ramachandran was formerly Chief Executive of the Indian operations of Morgan Stanley.
After the deal closes, Pasadena-based Near will be named "Near Intelligence Inc" and expects to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker "NIR." It will continue to be headquartered in Southern California; have global offices and coverage in EMEA, Asia Pacific, and Southeast Asia; and be led by Anil Mathews.