Israeli MIPI specialist Valens in $1.1bn SPAC deal

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Valens is joining the group of chip companies going public via a special acquisition company in a $1.1bn deal.

The company’s HDBaseT technology is set to form the basis of the MIPI A-PHY physical layer connections in automotive designs. The chipsets transmit video and data at multi-gigabit bandwidth with Packet Error Rates of 10-19, equivalent to one packet error per 10,000 car lifetimes and zero latency.

“Our chipsets are in high volume production with several leading automotive Tier-1s and are currently on the road in Daimler vehicles,” said Gideon Ben-Zvi, CEO of Valens in  Hod Hasharon. “The automotive market presents an immense opportunity that will continue to grow as OEMs introduce new vehicles with far more sensors and displays than ever before. Valens’ upcoming standard-compliant chipsets are poised to revolutionize the global automotive industry with connectivity solutions for infotainment applications, ADAS systems and autonomous driving. In audio-video, our HDBaseT technology is a leading standard for long-range connectivity and is embedded into thousands of products from top-brand manufacturers,” he said.

The deal with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called PTK Acquisition and chip designer Mediatek will provide $240m for expansion and development.

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The technology is used for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving, which require an ever-increasing number of sensors in the vehicle. The technology was selected as the baseline for MIPI A-PHY for an automotive video connectivity standard.

The company taped out of its VA70XX chipsets for the MIPI A-PHY standard in April with engineering samples available in October 2021 and mass production is expected next year. System on a Chip (SoC) & camera sensor vendors have begun to integrate the VA70XX into modules and have stated that they will integrate MIPI A-PHY into their future products.

“Our chipsets lay the groundwork for the next stage in the ADAS and autonomous evolution, as the industry transitions towards level 2+ and beyond. This is an achievement not only for our company, but for the automotive industry as a whole,” said Gideon Ben-Zvi.

The VA70XX chipset family includes the VA7031 serializer and the VA7044 and VA7042 deserializers, operating with link speeds of up to 8Gbps. The chipsets support connectivity of multiple CSI-2-based cameras, radars, lidar sensors, and other sensors for up to 15m with 4 inline connectors.

“With Valens, PTK identified a rare opportunity to combine with a company that is defining the future of connectivity and is validated by multiple industry standards,” said Peter Kuo, CEO of PTK Acquisition. “With a proven track record of success, Valens is public company ready, with a large addressable market, marquee customers, and a compelling business model with a high degree of revenue visibility. We are thrilled to partner with Valens’ best-in-class management team as they leverage the capital from this transaction to fuel sustained growth and success.”

Following completion of the transaction in Q3, Valens will continue to be led by its founders with Gideon Ben-Zvi as CEO, Dror Heldenberg as CFO, and all six Valens. Ker Zhang from PTK will join the Valens board of directors upon closing of the transaction. The combined company will be called Valens and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange. 

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