Shares of Velodyne Lidar (VLDR), a specialist in the manufacture of light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors for drones and self-driving cars -- and a late-2020 SPAC IPO -- exploded higher in early trading on the Nasdaq today.
As of 10:10 a.m. EST, Velodyne Lidar stock is up 10.6%, responding to Velodyne's announcement this morning that it has signed a "multi-year sales agreement" with an Australian company called Emesent, which Velodyne describes as "a world-leader in drone autonomy, lidar mapping and data analytics."
Velodyne Lidar will be supplying Emesent with Puck LITE lidar sensors to power Emesent's Hovermap mobile scanning system for guiding drones in "hazardous and GPS-denied environments," such as within buildings or underground -- areas where a drone may have to navigate on its own, without aid from satellites.
Velodyne explains that Hovermap is especially suitable for use in the "mining, construction / infrastructure, forestry, defense, oil and gas, and film industries."
Velodyne Lidar did not state when deliveries to Emesent will begin, did not state any particular sales volume, and did not give a value for the announced contract. So it's difficult to say how financially significant today's news is for Velodyne Lidar stock -- or whether it justifies investors bidding up Velodyne's market capitalization by more than $370 million this morning.
At the very least, however, the customer win would seem to further validate Velodyne's technology. That may be giving investors hope that the company -- which is unprofitable and did less than $100 million in sales over the past year, and which sells for roughly 45.5 times sales -- at least has a path to grow over time.