Little-known EV and lidar firms are raising billions in Tesla’s shadow

Lidar startup Luminar is going public, the company announced on Monday. Instead of going with a traditional IPO, Luminar is jumping on the latest Wall Street fad: merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Merging with a SPAC allows a startup to go public more quickly, with less paperwork and more certainty about the sale price. The deal gives Luminar, which only expects to sell about 100 lidar sensors this year, a post-money valuation of $3.4 billion.

It’s the latest in a string of companies connected to the electric and self-driving car revolutions that have gone public using a SPAC. Most have found strong interest from investors.