Faraday Future on track to start production of FF 91 this month if funds come through
Faraday Future said Wednesday it plans to start production of its all-electric FF 91 Futurist SUV at the end of March after years of delay, lack of capital and internal drama that threatened the company’s existence.
Faraday Future had previously indicated that production would start in March, but had yet to select a date.
There are two caveats to this milestone, however. The company said in its full-year and fourth-quarter earnings report that start of production will begin March 30 if it receives the remaining funds expected from investors and if suppliers are able to meet its requirements. Faraday Future said in February that it had reached financial commitments of $135 million in convertible secured notes, capital that the company said would allow it to start production. About $111.6 million of funds have been received. The company is expecting to more incremental payments of $38.4 and $58.4 million.
CEO Xuefeng Chen said Wednesday during the company’s earnings that he was confident the funds would be received.
The FF 91 will be assembled at its Hanford, California facility. The first vehicles are set to come off the assembly line in early April with customer deliveries occurring before the end of that month, the company said. Chen said the company is initially targeting sales in the Los Angeles area followed San Francisco Bay Area, and the New York metro region. In China, the company’s initial sales efforts will begin with Shanghai and Beijing, he said.
Faraday Future shares fell 8% to $0.51 a share prior to the earnings report being released. The production update helped push shares up in after-hours trading about 0.44% despite a rather dismal earnings report.
Faraday Future didn’t generate any revenue in the fourth quarter or 2022 for that matter. Its operating expenses were $451 million in 2022 compared to $354.1 million in the previous year. Faraday said the bulk of operating expenses were in the first nine months of the year due to an uptick in engineering, design and testing costs.
The company reported a net loss of $552.1 million for 2022, about 7% higher than the $516.5 million it lost in the prior-year period. The net loss in the fourth quarter was $153.9 million compared to $84.3 million in the same year-ago period.
Faraday Future reported it ended the fourth quarter with $18.5 million in cash and restricted cash. The company’s cash position has improved and is now $37.5 million, including restricted cash of $2.1 million as of March 3, 2023.
While there are conditions to that start-of-production date it still marks a turnaround for a company that just four months ago had substantial doubt as to whether it would be able to continue operating over the next year.
At the time, Faraday cited a number of conditions that were delaying deliveries of its FF 91, including whether suppliers could meet their deliverables, the timing and success of certification testing and the implementation and effectiveness of the company’s headcount reductions. Top of the list of concerns was whether Faraday would be able to secure the funds it needed to make it through the year, much less make it to first deliveries.
The company board ousted CEO Carsten Breitfeld a week later and appointed Xuefeng Chen, a former and longtime Chery Jaguar Land Rover executive who most recently led Faraday Future’s China division, as its new leader.
Faraday Future has grappled with delays and drama for years, which escalated after going public in July 2021 via a merger with special purpose acquisitions company Property Solutions Acquisition Corp. In July 2022, the company pushed its start of production and first deliveries to the third and fourth quarter, citing supply chain issues and a lack of money.
Just 7 days until the TC Early Stage early bird flies away
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How to Tell Your TAM: Dayna Grayson from Construct Capital invests in the rebuilding of the most foundational and broken industries of our economy. Industries such as manufacturing and logistics, among others, that formed in an analog world have been neglected by advanced technology. Dayna will talk about how, beyond the idea, founders can pitch investors on their TAM, including how they will wedge into the market and how they will eventually disrupt it.
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Twitter will kill ‘legacy’ blue checks on April 1
Twitter has picked April Fool’s Day, otherwise known as April 1, to start removing legacy blue checkmarks from the platform.
Despite the significance of the day Twitter chose, the removal of legacy checkmarks has been anticipated for months now. Musk tweeted in December that the company would remove those checks “in a few months” because “the way in which they were given out was corrupt and nonsensical.”
Since then, legacy blue checkmark holders have been seeing a pop-up when they click on their checkmark that reads, “This is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable.”
Before Musk acquired the company, Twitter used checkmarks to verify individuals and entities as active, authentic and notable accounts of interest. Verified checkmarks were doled out for free.
Today, Twitter users can purchase a blue check through the Twitter Blue subscription model for $8 per month (iOS and Android signups will cost $11 per month, due to app store costs). There are also other checkmark colors and badges available for purchase to denote whether an account is a business or a government, for example.
Twitter says the purchase of a checkmark gives users access to subscriber-only features like fewer ads on their timeline, prioritized ranking in conversations, bookmark folders, and the ability to craft long tweets, edit tweets and undo tweets.
The news comes within hours of Twitter also announcing the availability of the Blue subscription globally.
Twitter did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for more information about how many users have already signed up for Twitter Blue.
Roofstock, valued at $1.9B last year, cuts 27% of staff in second round of layoffs
Proptech company Roofstock has laid off about 27% of its staff today, according to an email sent to employees viewed by TechCrunch. The cuts come just five months after the startup laid off 20% of its workforce.
The company’s website states that it has 400+ employees, or “Roofsters” as they’re dubbed, but it is not known if that figure is current.
Roofstock, an online marketplace for investing in leased single-family rental homes, one year ago raised $240 million at a $1.9 billion valuation. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led that financing, which included participation from existing and new backers including Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and others. Roofstock has raised a total of over $365 million in funding since its 2015 inception, per Crunchbase.
According to the email seen by TechCrunch, co-founder and CEO Gary Beasley said today’s reduction in force (RIF) was “in response to the challenging macro environment” and the “negative impact” it is having on Roofstock’s business.
He added that the company was not expecting to have to cut more staff so soon but that it needed to “right size” in an effort “to reduce cash burn rate” and ensure it has “adequate capital runway until the market eventually turns.”
Beasley sent the email because apparently, the Zoom meeting where it was addressed “maxed out on attendees.”
Oakland, Calif.-based Roofstock lets people buy and sell rental homes in dozens of U.S. markets. The premise behind the company is that both institutional and retail investors can buy and sell homes without forcing renters to leave their homes. Meanwhile, buyers can also presumably generate income from day one.
At the time of its raise in March 2022, the company said that it had facilitated more than $5 billion in transaction volume, more than half of which had come from the last year alone.
Just days before its last round of layoffs last year, Roofstock made headlines for selling its first single-family home using NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Rising mortgage rates and a slowdown in the housing market led to challenges for many real estate technology companies in 2022 that continue this year. Opendoor, Redfin, Compass, Better.com and Homeward were among the other startups that also laid off workers. IBuyer Reali also announced it was shutting down after raising $100 million the year prior.
TechCrunch has reached out to Roofstock but had not heard back at the time of writing but multiple sources confirmed that layoffs had taken place today.
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