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Harvard quantum start-up to go public in SPAC deal, with new focus on generative AI

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 13th, 2023

A quantum software start-up from Harvard University has announced it is going public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), with plans to reposition itself as a provider of industrial generative AI software.

Zapata Computing initially launched with the goal of delivering quantum advantage on current near-term intermediate scale quantum (NISQ) devices. Through a recent business combination agreement with Andretti Acquisition Corp, a SPAC, the start-up will go public under the new name Zapata AI, with a focus on generative AI rather than NISQ devices, which are more difficult to scale and generally too error-prone for use in most production environments.

Regarding the start-up’s pivot, Zapata CEO Christopher Savoie comments: “We believe generative AI is shaping a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and the capital and relationships afforded through this business combination will only strengthen our market position. We are participating in an enormous total addressable market where we have the potential to create disproportionate value for our customers and our investors.”

Some of the financial details of the business combination agreement, as discussed in the announcement, are as follows:

“The transaction values Zapata at an implied pre-money equity value of $200 million, with existing Zapata shareholders set to roll over 100% of their equity into the combined entity, or 20.0 million shares at a price of $10.00. Andretti Acquisition Corp.’s sponsors and certain investors that own or have the right to receive founder shares will own a combined 5.8 million shares, or an implied value of approximately $58 million. Andretti Acquisition Corp.’s public shareholders currently hold approximately 7.9 million shares, all of which are subject to redemption. The pro forma equity value of the combined company (inclusive of the remaining cash in trust at Andretti Acquisition Corp. after redemptions) is expected to be between $281 million and $365 million, depending on the level of redemptions.”

The boards of directors of both Zapata and Andretti Acquisition have approved the business combination agreement, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

Source: HPC Wire

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