By Amrith Ramkumar
Heliogen is combining with the SPAC Athena Technology, one of the few so-called blank-check companies led by women
Heliogen Inc. is merging with a special-purpose acquisition company to go public in a combination that values the concentrated solar power company at about $2 billion, the companies said.
Founded in 2013, Heliogen uses mirrors that are positioned with artificial intelligence to reflect sunlight at a small receiver, generating an intense heat. That sunlight can be collected and processed to generate electricity even when the sun goes down, the company says. The renewable energy can also be used to power industrial processes needed to make materials like steel and to produce hydrogen fuel.
The company’s CEO is angel investor and entrepreneur Bill Gross—sometimes confused with the bond investor Bill Gross, who co-founded investment giant Pacific Investment Management Co. Heliogen’s Mr. Gross has made a fortune backing internet startups through his Idealab incubator and is now focusing on renewable energy companies. The firm expects to install its first commercial project in 2023.
Heliogen is combining with the SPAC Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., one of the few so-called blank-check companies led by women. Cybersecurity executive and former U.S. Army officer Phyllis Newhouse and venture capitalist Isabelle Freidheim are the SPAC’s CEO and board chair, respectively. Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is one of its advisers.