Reid Hoffman, Zynga’s Mark Pincus aim to raise $600M for tech-focused SPAC

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Reinvent Technology Partners, a new special purpose acquisition company formed by famed investor and serial entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, Zynga founder Mark Pincus and veteran hedge fund manager Michael Thompson, filed Monday for a $600 million initial public offering.

The SPAC was formed by Hoffman, Pincus and Thompson, formerly of BHR Capital, with the intention of merging with a technology company. Thompson will be director, CEO and CFO. Hoffman and Pincus are co-lead directors. The company plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol RTP.U. Once, and if, the Reinvent Technology Partners raises the $600 million, the capital will move into a blind trust until its management team decides which company it wants to acquire.

SPACs are blank-check companies that are formed for the purpose of merging or acquiring other companies. SPACs have become an increasingly popular means in 2020 for venture-backed companies to go public without having to take the traditional IPO path. In the past several months, a number of venture-backed companies have merged with SPAC companies in lieu of a traditional IPO process, including online used car marketplace startup Shift Technologies, lidar companies Luminar and Velodyne Lidar and a handful of electric vehicle startups such as Canoo, Fisker Inc., Lordstown Motor and Nikola Motor.

In January, Axios reported that Pincus and Thompson, with Hoffman as an adviser, were raising up to $700 million for a new investment fund that planned to focus on publicly traded tech companies in need of strategic restructuring.

Monday’s filing fills in some of the details. The brain trust that is Hoffman, Pincus and Thompson appear to view this SPAC as another means to be a new kind of venture capital partner for a tech company set to go public.

Here’s the entire letter from Hoffman and Pincus, which was included in the filing:

We believe there is a need for a new, additional type of venture capital that helps companies at scale pursue innovation and step function growth long past their IPOs.

Throughout our careers as entrepreneurs, investors, and directors, we have been students of why some tech companies sustain as market leaders. Often people view these companies from the outside in
as perfect, uninterrupted growth stories that were almost pre-ordained. However, we realize that behind these mythical growth stories are many hard fought cycles of invention and reinvention. Invention is when a company builds a new product and achieves growth in an adjacent market, such as Amazon developing AWS. Reinvention is when a company has to adapt its core products and services to continue growing in an existing market, as Netflix did moving from DVDs to streaming.

For many public tech companies — especially mid-cap sized — these cycles can prove challenging to navigate while maintaining investor alignment. We went through our own invention and reinvention cycles while public at Zynga and LinkedIn, and it wasn’t easy.

We are excited to be a new kind of venture capital partner at the table for one of the many tech companies set to go public over the next few years and to help it maintain a growth mindset, be bold, and go for it in the face of pressure to deliver quarterly results.

We hope our experience, ideas, and insights can make a difference as we partner with a founder and CEO as they build a market-leading company that delivers products and services that matter in people’s lives.