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Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp. (stock symbol: VTAQ), a SPAC that raised $174.225 million when it completed its initial public offering in December 2020, has announced that it is going to merge with Presto, "...known for its kiosks and tablets that let guests order and pay directly at tables and uses speech recognition so customers can order by talking to a device at drive-throughs and other settings. It also uses computer vision and analytics to help eateries optimize operations."
Restaurant-Tech Startup Presto Going Public Through $1 Billion SPAC Merger
Presto is known for its pay-at-table kiosks, tablets and artificial-intelligence tools
By Amrith Ramkumar Wall Street Journal Updated Nov. 10, 2021 10:02 am ET
Restaurant-technology startup Presto is combining with a special-purpose acquisition company and going public with a valuation of about $1 billion, the companies said.
Founded in 2008 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Presto offers several different technologies that it says automate restaurants and improve the dining experience. It is known for its kiosks and tablets that let guests order and pay directly at tables and uses speech recognition so customers can order by talking to a device at drive-throughs and other settings. It also uses computer vision and analytics to help eateries optimize operations.
Presto has branded itself as a practical solution for restaurants wanting to minimize human interactions during the coronavirus pandemic. It also says it can help address the human-labor shortage in the industry, with many workers electing not to return to service-sector jobs.
“We need to move fast because the brakes are on right now for the entire industry,” Presto Chief Executive Rajat Suri said in an interview. “We can grease the wheels with the right technology.”
Several restaurants use Presto, including McDonald’s Corp. , Applebee’s and Chili’s.
The Redwood City, Calif., firm is merging with the SPAC Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp. , a blank-check company focused on the leisure and hospitality industries. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the two sides were nearing an agreement.
Customers can place orders on Presto’s tablets, and restaurant staffers can use the devices to do their jobs more efficiently, the company says. PHOTO: PRESTO ------------------------------------
Presto would join several other technology startups that are working to disrupt industries from manufacturing to advertising in going public by combining with a SPAC. Such mergers have become popular alternatives to traditional initial public offerings, in part because they let the company going public make business projections while raising a large sum of cash.
As part of the deal, Presto is expected to raise a roughly $70 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE. PIPE investors are expected to include some of the restaurant franchises that use Presto.
The Ventoux CCM SPAC has about $170 million and is led by several former hospitality executives. It also is backed by investment bank Chardan Capital Markets LLC.
Also called a blank-check company, a SPAC is a shell company that raises money, then trades on a stock exchange with the sole intent of merging with a private company to take it public. After a deal is announced, the company going public releases detailed financial information that is reviewed by regulators. Once the deal is approved and closes, the private firm replaces the SPAC in the stock market.
Before deals go through, SPAC investors have the right to withdraw their money. Low share prices often motivate them to do so. High withdrawals can dramatically reduce the amount of cash the company going public generates and have made it harder to complete deals lately.