As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 29, 2021
Registration No. 333-
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)
Chief Executive Officer
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
Jeffrey R. Vetter
Colin G. Conklin
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve
Franklin & Hachigian, LLP
550 Allerton Street
Redwood City, California 94063
Tel: (650) 321-2400
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: From time to time after this Registration Statement becomes effective.
If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933 check the following box: ☒
If this form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☐
Accelerated filer ☐
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.
CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
Title of Securities to be Registered(1)
Amount to be
Common stock, par value $0.0001 per share(2)
Common stock, par value $0.0001 per share(3)
Common stock, par value $0.0001 per share(4)
(1) Pursuant to Rule 416 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), the securities being registered hereunder include such indeterminate number of additional securities as may be issuable to prevent dilution resulting of any stock dividend, stock split, recapitalization or other similar transaction.
(2) Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6) under the Securities Act, the registrant is carrying forward unsold securities previously registered in connection with a registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-249551) filed on October 19, 2020, as amended on October 30, 2020, and declared effective on November 3, 2020 (the “Prior Warrants Registration Statement”). The registrant previously registered in connection with the Prior Warrants Registration Statement (i) up to 18,282,384 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of Public Warrants (as defined herein) and (ii) up to 375,000 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of Working Capital Warrants (as defined herein), for which it paid $34,217.10 in registration fees. The amount of unsold shares of common stock remaining that is being applied to this registration statement is up to 4,484,638, and the registration fee previously paid with respect to such unsold shares of common stock will continue to apply to such unsold shares of common stock. Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6), the offering of unsold shares of common stock under the Prior Warrants Registration Statement will be deemed terminated as of the date of effectiveness of this registration statement.
(3) Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6) under the Securities Act, the registrant is carrying forward unsold securities previously registered in connection with a registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-248434) filed on August 27, 2020, as amended on September 22, 2020, and declared effective on September 29, 2020 (the “Prior PIPE Shares Registration Statement”). The registrant previously registered in connection with the Prior PIPE Shares Registration Statement up to 15,000,000 shares of common stock (the “PIPE Shares”) for the resale of common stock by certain selling stockholders (the “PIPE Investors”) that entered into subscription agreements with Graf Industrial Corp (“Graf”), pursuant to which Graf agreed to issue and sell the PIPE Shares to the PIPE Investors in a private placement, for which it paid $34,851.30 in registration fees. The amount of unsold shares of common stock remaining that is being applied to this registration statement is up to 200,000, and the registration fee previously paid with respect to such unsold shares of common stock will continue to apply to such unsold shares of common stock. Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6), the offering of unsold shares of common stock under the Prior PIPE Shares Registration Statement will be deemed terminated as of the date of effectiveness of this registration statement.
(4) Consists of up to 130,247,513 shares of common stock registered for resale by selling stockholders named in this registration statement (including the shares of common stock underlying the Warrants registered for resale by the selling warrantholders named in this registration statement but excluding the PIPE Shares).
(5) Consists of up to 778,502 Public Warrants and up to 500,000 Working Capital Warrants registered for resale by the selling warrantholders named in this registration statement.
(6) Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(c) under the Securities Act, based on the average of the high and low prices of the registrant’s shares of common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on March 25, 2021, which was approximately $11.85 per share.
(7) In accordance with Rule 457(i) under the Securities Act, the entire registration fee for the Warrants is allocated to the shares of common stock underlying the Warrants, and no separate fee is payable for the Warrants.
The registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until this registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.
SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED MARCH 29, 2021
4,484,638 Shares of Common Stock Underlying Warrants
130,447,513 Shares of Common Stock
1,278,502 Warrants to Purchase Shares of Common Stock
This prospectus relates to (i) the issuance by us of up to an aggregate of 4,109,638 shares of common stock that are issuable upon the exercise of our publicly-traded warrants (the “Public Warrants”) and up to 375,000 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of our working capital warrants (the “Working Capital Warrants” and, together with the Public Warrants, the “Warrants”) and (ii) the resale of up to 778,502 Public Warrants and 500,000 Working Capital Warrants held by certain holders named in this prospectus (the “Selling Warrantholders”).
This prospectus also relates to (i) the resale of up to 200,000 shares of common stock (the “PIPE Shares”) that currently are owned by certain selling stockholders that entered into subscription agreements with Graf Industrial Corp (“Graf”) (such selling stockholders, the “PIPE Investors”), pursuant to which Graf agreed to issue and sell the PIPE Shares to the PIPE Investors in a private placement, and (ii) the resale of up to 130,247,513 shares of common stock by certain selling stockholders named in this prospectus, comprising 126,622,006 shares of common stock issued prior to the Business Combination, 2,575,000 shares of common stock initially issued to the Initial Stockholders (as defined herein), including shares of common stock that were initially purchased by the Sponsor in a private placement prior to the IPO (together, the “Founder Shares”), 958,877 shares of common stock that are issuable upon the exercise of the Warrants held by the Selling Warrantholders, shares acquired by a director after the Business Combination and shares issued to a former director pursuant to the settlement of restricted stock units.
Our common stock and warrants are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbols “VLDR” and “VLDRW,” respectively. On March 26, 2021, the closing price of our common stock and warrants were $12.60 and $4.43, respectively.
We are an “emerging growth company” under applicable federal securities laws and will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.
INVESTING IN OUR SECURITIES INVOLVES RISKS THAT ARE DESCRIBED IN THE “RISK FACTORS” SECTION BEGINNING ON PAGE 9 OF THIS PROSPECTUS.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of the securities to be issued under this prospectus or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The date of this prospectus is , 2021.
The information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. Neither we nor the Selling Stockholders may sell these securities until the registration
statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting
an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus. No one has been authorized to provide you with information that is different from that contained in this prospectus. This prospectus is dated as of the date set forth on the cover hereof. You should not assume that the information contained in this prospectus is accurate as of any date other than that date.
For investors outside the United States: We have not done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. You are required to inform yourselves about and to observe any restrictions relating to this offering and the distribution of this prospectus.
FREQUENTLY USED TERMS
Unless otherwise stated or unless the context otherwise requires, the terms “we,” “us,” “our,” and “Velodyne” refer to Velodyne Lidar, Inc., a Delaware corporation:
|●||“ADAS” means Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.|
|●||“Board” or “Board of Directors” means the board of directors of Velodyne.|
|●||“Business Combination” means the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement, including the Merger.|
|●||“Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.|
|●||“common stock” means the shares of common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Velodyne.|
|●||“Certificate of Incorporation” means our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, dated September 29, 2020.|
|●||“DGCL” means the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware.|
|●||“ESPP” means the Velodyne Lidar, Inc. 2020 Employee Stock Purchase Plan.|
|●||“Exchange Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.|
|●||“Founder Shares” means, as of the date of this prospectus, the shares of common stock initially issued to the Initial Stockholders, including 1,947,000 shares of common stock that were initially purchased by the Sponsor in a private placement prior to the IPO.|
|●||“GAAP” means U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.|
|●||“Graf” means Graf Industrial Corp., a Delaware corporation.|
|●||“Incentive Plan” means the Velodyne Lidar, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan.|
|●||“Initial Stockholders” means the Sponsor together with Keith W. Abell, Sabrina Mckee and Julie Levenson, Graf’s independent directors.|
|●||“Investment Company Act” means the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.|
|●||“IPO” means Graf’s initial public offering, consummated on October 18, 2018, of 24,376,512 units (including 1,876,512 units that were subsequently issued to the underwriters in connection with the partial exercise of their over-allotment option) at $10.00 per unit.|
|●||“leader,” “leading,” “industry leadership,” “industry leading,” and other similar statements included in this prospectus regarding Velodyne and its services are based on Velodyne’s belief that none of its competitors holds a combined market position greater than Velodyne’s market position in its sector. Velodyne bases its beliefs regarding these matters, including its estimates of its market share in its sector, on its collective institutional knowledge and expertise regarding its industries, markets and technology, which are based on, among other things, publicly available information, reports of government agencies, RFPs and the results of contract bids and awards, and industry research firms, as well as Velodyne’s internal research, calculations and assumptions based on its analysis of such information and data. Velodyne believes these assertions to be reasonable and accurate as of the date of this prospectus.|
|●||“JOBS Act” means the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012.|
|●||“Merger” means the merger of Merger Sub with and into Velodyne, with Velodyne continuing as the surviving company.|
|●||“Merger Sub” means VL Merger Sub Inc.|
|●||“NHTSA” means the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.|
|●||“Public Warrants” or “Warrants” means the warrants included in the public units issued in the IPO, each of which is exercisable for three-quarters of one share of common stock, in accordance with its terms.|
|●||“RSUs” means restricted stock units granted under the Incentive Plan in accordance with the terms of the Merger Agreement.|
|●||“SEC” means the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.|
|●||“Securities Act” means the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.|
|●||“SOX” means the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.|
|●||“Sponsor” means Graf Acquisition LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.|
|●||“Transfer Agent” means Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company.|
|●||“Velodyne” means Velodyne Lidar, Inc., a Delaware corporation.|
An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below before making an investment decision. Our business, prospects, financial condition, or operating results could be harmed by any of these risks, as well as other risks not known to us or that we consider immaterial as of the date of this prospectus. The trading price of our securities could decline due to any of these risks, and, as a result, you may lose all or part of your investment.
Summary of Principal Risk Factors
|●||Velodyne’s business could be materially and adversely affected by the current global COVID-19 pandemic.|
|●||Since many of the markets in which Velodyne competes are new and rapidly evolving, it is difficult to forecast long-term end-customer adoption rates and demand for Velodyne’s products.|
|●||Despite the actions Velodyne is taking to defend and protect its intellectual property, Velodyne may not be able to adequately protect or enforce its intellectual property rights or prevent unauthorized parties from copying or reverse engineering its solutions. Velodyne’s efforts to protect and enforce its intellectual property rights and prevent third parties from violating its rights may be costly.|
|●||Velodyne continues to implement strategic initiatives designed to grow its business. These initiatives may prove more costly than anticipated and Velodyne may not succeed in increasing its revenue in an amount sufficient to offset the costs of these initiatives and to achieve and maintain profitability.|
|●||Because Velodyne’s sales have been primarily to customers making purchases for research and development projects and its orders are project-based, Velodyne expects its results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which could cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.|
|●||Velodyne’s transition to an outsourced manufacturing business model may not be successful, which could harm its ability to deliver products and recognize revenue.|
|●||Adverse conditions in the automotive industry or the global economy more generally could have adverse effects on Velodyne’s results of operations.|
|●||Although Velodyne believes that lidar is the industry standard for autonomous vehicles and other emerging markets, market adoption of lidar is uncertain. If market adoption of lidar does not continue to develop, or develops more slowly than Velodyne expects, its business will be adversely affected.|
|●||Velodyne’s investments in educating its customers and potential customers about the advantages of lidar and its applications may not result in sales of Velodyne’s products.|
|●||Velodyne depends on its ability to attract and retain key management and technical personnel.|
|●||Velodyne has identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm Velodyne’s business and negatively impact the market price of Velodyne’s common stock.|
Risks Related to Velodyne’s Business
Velodyne’s business could be materially and adversely affected by the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and affected Velodyne’s business. For example, from March until June of 2020, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, Velodyne’s manufacturing facility in San Jose, California was not able to operate at its full capacity. Additionally, Velodyne observed delayed customer purchases and longer sales cycles with customers that are addressing budget constraints, delayed projects or other hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Velodyne has a global customer base operating in a wide range of industries that has been impacted in different ways by the pandemic. Velodyne also depends on suppliers and manufacturers worldwide. Depending upon the duration of the pandemic, the associated business interruptions and the recovery, Velodyne’s customers, suppliers, manufacturers and partners may suspend or delay their engagement with Velodyne. If the pandemic worsens, if the economic recovery is delayed or if there are further business interruptions or changes in customer purchasing behavior, Velodyne’s business, results of operations and ability to raise capital may be
materially and adversely affected. Velodyne’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic may prove to be inadequate and it may be unable to continue its operations in the manner it had prior to the outbreak, and may endure further interruptions, reputational harm, delays in its product development and shipments, all of which could have an adverse effect on its business, operating results, and financial condition. In addition, when the pandemic subsides, Velodyne cannot assure you as to the timing of any economic recovery, which could continue to have a material adverse effect on its target markets and its business.
Any projections we may provide about our business or expected future results may differ significantly from actual results.
From time to time we have shared our views in press releases or SEC filings, on public conference calls and in other contexts about current business conditions and our expectations as to our future results of operations, including projected revenues for years subsequent to 2020. Correctly identifying the key factors affecting business conditions and predicting future events is inherently an uncertain process. Given the complexity and volatility of our business, the impact of the recurring COVID-19 pandemic on our business and that of our customers and partners, uncertainty related to the transition of the United States government and overall global economic conditions, it is likely that our forecasts for periods subsequent to 2020 will prove to be incorrect. As a result of these uncertainties, we withdrew our previously announced financial guidance for 2021. We offer no assurance that such predictions or analysis will ultimately be accurate, and investors should treat any such predictions or analysis with appropriate caution. If any analysis or forecast that we make ultimately proves to be inaccurate, our stock price may be adversely affected.
Any financial projections we have provided, including projections related to our future revenues, reflect numerous qualitative estimates and assumptions including assumptions with respect to general business, economic, market, regulatory and financial conditions and various other factors, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. The projections are not predictive of our actual future results and should not be construed as financial guidance for any future period. The projections should be read in conjunction with the accounting policies included in Note 1 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements included in this prospectus.
Since many of the markets in which Velodyne competes are new and rapidly evolving, it is difficult to forecast long-term end-customer adoption rates and demand for Velodyne’s products.
Velodyne is pursuing opportunities in markets that are undergoing rapid changes, including technological and regulatory changes, and it is difficult to predict the timing and size of the opportunities. For example, autonomous driving and lidar-based ADAS applications require complex technology. Because these automotive systems depend on technology from many companies, commercialization of autonomous driving or ADAS products could be delayed or impaired on account of certain technological components of Velodyne or others not being ready to be deployed in vehicles. Although some companies have released systems and vehicles using Velodyne’s products, others may not be able to commercialize this technology immediately, or at all. Regulatory, safety or reliability developments, many of which are outside of Velodyne’s control, could also cause delays or otherwise impair commercial adoption of these new technologies, which will adversely affect Velodyne’s growth. Velodyne’s future financial performance will depend on its ability to make timely investments in the correct market opportunities. If one or more of these markets experience a shift in customer or prospective customer demand, Velodyne’s products may not compete as effectively, if at all, and they may not be designed into commercialized products. Given the evolving nature of the markets in which Velodyne operates, it is difficult to predict customer demand or adoption rates for its products or the future growth of the markets in which it operates. As a result, the financial projections we have made or may in the future make necessarily reflect various estimates and assumptions that may not prove accurate. If demand does not develop or if Velodyne cannot accurately forecast customer demand, the size of its markets, inventory requirements or its future financial results, its business, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.
Velodyne continues to implement strategic initiatives designed to grow its business. These initiatives may prove more costly than it currently anticipates and Velodyne may not succeed in increasing its revenue in an amount sufficient to offset the costs of these initiatives and to achieve and maintain profitability.
Velodyne continues to make investments and implement initiatives designed to grow its business, including:
|●||investing in research and development;|
|●||expanding its sales and marketing efforts to attract new customers across industries;|
|●||investing in new applications and markets for its products;|
|●||further enhancing its manufacturing processes and partnerships;|
|●||pursuing litigation to protect its intellectual property; and|
|●||investing in legal, accounting, and other administrative functions necessary to support its operations as a public company.|
These initiatives may prove more expensive than it currently anticipates, and Velodyne may not succeed in increasing its revenue, if at all, in an amount sufficient to offset these higher expenses and to achieve and maintain profitability. Although Velodyne generated net income of $15.8 million for 2017, it has incurred net losses in the past, including net losses of $149.9 million for 2020, $67.2 million for 2019 and $62.3 million for 2018. The market opportunities Velodyne is pursuing are at an early stage of development, and it may be many years before the end markets Velodyne expects to serve generate demand for its products at scale, if at all. Velodyne’s revenue may be adversely affected for a number of reasons, including the development and/or market acceptance of new technology that competes with its lidar products, if certain automotive original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”) or other market participants change their autonomous vehicle technology, failure of Velodyne’s customers to commercialize autonomous systems that include its smart vision solutions, Velodyne’s inability to effectively manage its inventory or manufacture products at scale, Velodyne’s inability to enter new markets or help its customers adapt its products for new applications or Velodyne’s failure to attract new customers or expand orders from existing customers or increasing competition. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict the size and growth rate of Velodyne’s target markets, customer demand for its products, commercialization timelines, developments in autonomous sensing and related technology, the entry of competitive products, or the success of existing competitive products and services. For these reasons, Velodyne does not expect to achieve profitability over the near term. If Velodyne’s revenue does not grow over the long term, its ability to achieve and maintain profitability may be adversely affected, and the value of its business may significantly decrease.
Because Velodyne’s sales have been primarily to customers making purchases for research and development projects and its orders are project-based, Velodyne expects its results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which could cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.
Velodyne’s quarterly results of operations have fluctuated in the past and may vary significantly in the future, and its revenue has declined in three consecutive years. As such, historical comparisons of its operating results may not be meaningful. In particular, because Velodyne’s sales to date have primarily been to customers making purchases for research and development, sales in any given quarter can fluctuate based on the timing and success of its customers’ development projects. Accordingly, the results of any one quarter should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. Velodyne’s quarterly financial results may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of its control and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of Velodyne’s business. These fluctuations could adversely affect Velodyne’s ability to meet its expectations or those of securities analysts or investors. If Velodyne does not meet these expectations for any period, the value of its business and its stock price could fluctuate or decline significantly. Factors that may cause these quarterly fluctuations include, without limitation, those listed below:
|●||The timing and magnitude of orders and shipments of Velodyne’s products in any quarter.|
|●||Pricing changes Velodyne may adopt to drive market adoption or in response to competitive pressure.|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to retain its existing customers and attract new customers.|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to develop, introduce, manufacture and ship in a timely manner products that meet customer requirements.|
|●||Disruptions in Velodyne’s sales channels or termination of its relationship with important channel partners.|
|●||Delays in customers’ purchasing cycles or deferments of customers’ purchases in anticipation of new products or updates from Velodyne or its competitors.|
|●||Fluctuations in demand pressures for Velodyne’s products.|
|●||The mix of products sold in any quarter.|
|●||The duration of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the time it takes for economic recovery.|
|●||The timing and rate of broader market adoption of autonomous systems utilizing Velodyne’s smart vision solutions across the automotive and other market sectors.|
|●||Market acceptance of lidar and further technological advancements by Velodyne’s competitors and other market participants.|
|●||The ability of Velodyne’s customers to commercialize systems that incorporate its products.|
|●||Any change in the competitive dynamics of Velodyne’s markets, including consolidation of competitors, regulatory developments and new market entrants.|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to effectively manage its inventory.|
|●||Changes in the source, cost, availability of and regulations pertaining to materials Velodyne uses.|
|●||Adverse litigation, judgments, settlements or other litigation-related costs, or claims that may give rise to such costs.|
|●||General economic, industry and market conditions, including trade disputes.|
Velodyne’s transition to an outsourced manufacturing business model may not be successful, which could harm its ability to deliver products and recognize revenue.
Velodyne is transitioning from a manufacturing model in which it primarily manufactured and assembled its products at its California location, to one where it relies on third-party manufacturers in Europe and Asia. Velodyne currently has agreements with Fabrinet, Nikon and Veoneer to provide contract manufacturing of certain of its products. Velodyne believes the use of third-party manufacturers will have benefits, but in the near term, while it is beginning manufacturing with new partners, Velodyne may lose revenue, incur increased costs and harm its customer relationships.
Reliance on third-party manufacturers reduces Velodyne’s control over the manufacturing process, including reduced control over quality, product costs and product supply and timing. Velodyne may experience delays in shipments or issues concerning product quality from its third-party manufacturers. If any of Velodyne’s third-party manufacturers experience interruptions, delays or disruptions in supplying its products, including by natural disasters, the global COVID-19 pandemic or work stoppages or capacity constraints, Velodyne’s ability to ship products to distributors and customers would be delayed. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions in Velodyne’s manufacturing operations and production delays. For example, Velodyne personnel have not be able to travel to Thailand to meet with a key manufacturing partner. Additionally, if any of Velodyne’s third-party manufacturers experience quality control problems in their manufacturing operations and Velodyne’s products do not meet customer or regulatory requirements, it could be required to cover the cost of repair or replacement of any defective products. These delays or product quality issues could have an immediate and material adverse effect on Velodyne’s ability to fulfill orders and could have a negative effect on its operating results. In addition, such delays or issues with product quality could adversely affect Velodyne’s reputation and its relationship with its channel partners. If third-party manufacturers experience financial, operational, manufacturing capacity or other difficulties, or experience shortages in required components, or if they are otherwise unable or unwilling to continue to manufacture Velodyne’s products in required volumes or at all, Velodyne’s supply may be disrupted, it may be required to seek alternate manufacturers and it may be required to re-design its products. It would be time-consuming, and could be costly and impracticable, to begin to use new manufacturers and designs and such changes could cause significant interruptions in supply and could have an adverse effect on Velodyne’s ability to meet its scheduled product deliveries and may subsequently lead to the loss of sales. While Velodyne takes measures to protect its trade secrets, the use of third-party manufacturers may also risk disclosure of its innovative and proprietary manufacturing methodologies, which could adversely affect Velodyne’s business.
In addition, Velodyne currently relies on third-party manufacturers to produce its custom application specific integrated circuits (“ASICs”). Velodyne has made considerable investments to develop its proprietary ASICs and its smart vision solutions depend on them. If third-party manufacturers of Velodyne’s custom ASICs experience interruptions, delays or disruptions in supplying its ASICs or if there are work stoppages, production delays or facility closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Velodyne’s ability to ship its smart vision solutions will be delayed and it may be unable to meet customer demand. Velodyne’s ASICs may have defects or other issues if its third-party manufacturers have quality control or other problems in their operations. These defects may delay Velodyne’s ability to fulfill customer orders, which would have a negative effect on its brand and operating results. If it needs to change manufacturers of its ASICs for any reason, Velodyne cannot guarantee that it will be able to find a replacement manufacturer willing to produce its custom ASICs at a price it deems appropriate, or at all.
Adverse conditions in the automotive industry or the global economy more generally could have adverse effects on Velodyne’s results of operations.
While Velodyne makes its strategic planning decisions based on the assumption that the markets it is targeting will grow, Velodyne’s business is dependent, in large part on, and directly affected by, business cycles and other factors affecting the global automobile industry and global economy generally. Automotive production and sales are highly cyclical and depend on general economic conditions and other factors, including consumer spending and preferences, changes in interest rates and credit availability, consumer confidence, fuel costs, fuel availability, environmental impact, governmental incentives and regulatory requirements, and political volatility, especially in energy-producing countries and growth markets. In addition, automotive production and sales can be affected by Velodyne’s automotive OEM customers’ ability to continue operating in response to challenging economic conditions and in response to labor relations issues, regulatory requirements, trade agreements and other factors. The volume of automotive production in North America, Europe and the rest of the world has fluctuated, sometimes significantly, from year to year, and Velodyne expects such fluctuations to give rise to fluctuations in the demand for its products. Any significant adverse change in any of these factors may result in a reduction in automotive sales and production by Velodyne’s automotive OEM customers and could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations and financial condition.
Although Velodyne believes that lidar is the industry standard for autonomous vehicles and other emerging markets, market adoption of lidar is uncertain. If market adoption of lidar does not continue to develop, or develops more slowly than Velodyne expects, its business will be adversely affected.
While Velodyne’s lidar-based smart vision solutions can be applied to different use cases across end markets, approximately 57% and 45% of its revenue during 2020 and 2019, respectively, was generated from automotive applications. Despite the fact that the automotive industry has engaged in considerable effort to research and test lidar products for ADAS and autonomous driving applications, the automotive industry may not introduce lidar products in commercially available vehicles. Velodyne continually studies emerging and competing sensing technologies and methodologies and it may add new sensing technologies such as radar and cameras to its offering to, for example, address lidar’s relative deficiencies in detecting colors and low reflectivity objects and performing in extreme weather conditions. However, lidar products remain relatively new and it is possible that other sensing modalities, or a new disruptive modality based on new or existing technology, including a combination of technology, will achieve acceptance or leadership in the ADAS and autonomous driving industries. Even if lidar products are used in initial generations of autonomous driving technology and certain ADAS products, Velodyne cannot guarantee that lidar products will be designed into or included in subsequent generations of such commercialized technology. In addition, Velodyne expects that initial generations of autonomous vehicles will be focused on limited applications, such as robo-taxis, and that mass market adoption of autonomous technology may lag behind these initial applications significantly. The speed of market growth for ADAS or autonomous vehicles is difficult if not impossible to predict, and it is more difficult to predict this market’s future growth in light of the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it currently believes it has the lead in lidar-based systems for the autonomous market, by the time mass market adoption of autonomous vehicle technology is achieved, Velodyne expects competition among providers of sensing technology based on lidar and other modalities to increase substantially. If commercialization of lidar products is not successful, or not as successful as Velodyne or the market expects, or if other sensing modalities gain acceptance by developers of autonomous driving systems or ADAS, automotive OEMs, regulators and safety organizations or other market participants by the time autonomous vehicle technology achieves mass market adoption, its business, results of operations and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
Velodyne is investing in and pursuing market opportunities outside of the automotive markets, including in UAVs, self-driving rovers, industrial and security robots, mapping applications for topography and surveying and
smart city initiatives. Velodyne believes that its future revenue growth, if any, will depend in part on its ability to expand within new markets such as these and to enter new markets as they emerge. Each of these markets presents distinct risks and, in many cases, requires Velodyne to address the particular requirements of that market.
Addressing these requirements can be time-consuming and costly. The market for lidar technology outside of automotive applications is relatively new, rapidly developing and unproven in many markets or industries. Many of Velodyne’s customers outside of the automotive industry are still in the testing and development phases and it cannot be certain that they will commercialize products or systems with its lidar products or at all. Velodyne cannot be certain that lidar will be sold into these markets, or any market outside of automotive market, at scale. Adoption of lidar products, including Velodyne’s products, outside of the automotive industry will depend on numerous factors, including: whether the technological capabilities of lidar and lidar-based products meet users’ current or anticipated needs, whether the benefits of designing lidar into larger sensing systems outweigh the costs, complexity and time needed to deploy such technology or replace or modify existing systems that may have used other modalities such as cameras and radar, whether users in other applications can move beyond the testing and development phases and proceed to commercializing systems supported by lidar technology and whether lidar developers such as Velodyne can keep pace with rapid technological change in certain developing markets and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the length of any associated work stoppages. If lidar technology does not achieve commercial success outside of the automotive industry, or if the market develops at a pace slower than Velodyne expects, its business, results of operation and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
Velodyne’s investments in educating its customers and potential customers about the advantages of lidar and its applications may not result in sales of Velodyne’s products.
Educating Velodyne’s prospective customers, and to a lesser extent, its existing customers, about lidar, its advantages over other sensing technologies and lidar’s ability to convey value in different industries and deployments is an integral part of developing new business and the lidar market generally. If prospective customers have a negative perception of, or experience with, lidar or a competitor’s lidar products they may be reluctant to adopt lidar in general or specifically Velodyne’s products. Adverse statements about lidar by influential market participants may also deter adoption. Some of Velodyne’s competitors have significant financial or marketing resources that may allow them to engage in public marketing campaigns about their alternative technology, lidar or Velodyne’s solutions. Velodyne’s efforts to educate potential customers and the market generally and to counter any adverse statements made by competitors or other market participants will require significant financial and personnel resources. These educational efforts may not be successful and Velodyne may not offset the costs of such efforts with revenue from the new customers. If Velodyne is unable to acquire new customers to offset these expenses or if the market accepts such adverse statements, its financial condition will be adversely affected.
The markets in which Velodyne competes are characterized by rapid technological change, which requires it to continue to develop new products and product innovations, and could adversely affect market adoption of its products.
While Velodyne intends to invest substantial resources to remain on the forefront of technological development, continuing technological changes in sensing technology, lidar and the markets for these products, including the ADAS and autonomous driving industries, could adversely affect adoption of lidar and/or Velodyne’s products, either generally or for particular applications. Velodyne’s future success will depend upon its ability to develop and introduce a variety of new capabilities and innovations to its existing product offerings, as well as introduce a variety of new product offerings, to address the changing needs of the markets in which Velodyne offers its products. For example, Velodyne is currently working on developing its Vella software, which is a data curation software platform, as well as several other new lidar products. Velodyne cannot guarantee that the Vella software or the new products will be released in a timely manner, or at all, or achieve market acceptance. For example, in 2019 Velodyne experienced delays in acceptance of certain of its new lidar products as it worked with its customers to identify, define and meet product requirements, and Velodyne may be unable to sell these or future products at scale until these issues are resolved. Delays in delivering new products that meet customer requirements could damage Velodyne’s relationships with customers and lead them to seek alternative sources of supply. In addition, Velodyne’s success to date has been based on the delivery of its smart vision solutions to research and development programs in which developers are investing substantial capital to develop new systems. Velodyne’s continued success relies on the success of the research and development phase of these customers as they expand into commercialized projects. While some customers already have achieved commercialization, most of Velodyne’s automotive customers are just beginning on the path to commercialization. As autonomous technology reaches the stage of large scale commercialization Velodyne will be required to develop and deliver smart vision solutions at price points that enable wider and ultimately mass-market adoption. Delays in introducing products and innovations, the failure to choose correctly among technical alternatives or the failure to offer innovative products or configurations at competitive prices may cause existing and potential customers to purchase Velodyne’s competitors’ products or turn to alternative sensing technology.
If Velodyne is unable to devote adequate resources to develop products or cannot otherwise successfully develop products or system configurations that meet customer requirements on a timely basis or that remain competitive with technological alternatives, its products could lose market share, its revenue will decline, it may experience operating losses and its business and prospects will be adversely affected.
Velodyne operates in a highly competitive market and some market participants have substantially greater resources. Velodyne competes against a large number of both established competitors and new market entrants.
The markets for sensing technology applicable to autonomous and other solutions across numerous industries are highly competitive. Velodyne’s future success will depend on its ability to maintain its lead by continuing to develop and protect from infringement advanced lidar technology in a timely manner and to stay ahead of existing and new competitors. Velodyne’s competitors are numerous and they compete with it directly by offering lidar products and indirectly by attempting to solve some of the same challenges with different technology. Velodyne faces competition from camera and radar companies, other developers of lidar products, Tier 1 suppliers and other technology and automotive supply companies, some of which have significantly greater resources than it does. Some examples of Velodyne’s competitors include DENSO Corporation, Hesai, Ibeo Automotive Systems, LeddarTech, Innoviz, Luminar, Quanergy, Magna International, Valeo SA, Bosch, Continental and ZF Friedrichshafen AG. In the automotive market, Velodyne’s competitors have commercialized non-lidar-based ADAS technology which has achieved market adoption, strong brand recognition and may continue to improve. Other competitors are working towards commercializing autonomous driving technology and either by themselves, or with a publicly announced partner, have substantial financial, marketing, research and development and other resources. Some of Velodyne’s customers in the autonomous vehicle and ADAS markets have announced development efforts or made acquisitions directed at creating their own lidar-based or other sensing technologies, which would compete with Velodyne’s smart vision solutions. Velodyne does not know how close these competitors are to commercializing autonomous driving systems or novel ADAS applications. In markets outside of the automotive industry, its competitors, like Velodyne, seek to develop new sensing applications across industries. Even in these emerging markets, Velodyne faces substantial competition from numerous competitors seeking to prove the value of their technology. Additionally, increased competition may result in pricing pressure and reduced margins and may impede Velodyne’s ability to increase the sales of its products or cause it to lose market share, any of which will adversely affect its business, results of operations and financial condition.
Velodyne expects to incur substantial research and development costs and devote significant resources to identifying and commercializing new products, which could significantly reduce its profitability and may never result in revenue to Velodyne.
Velodyne’s future growth depends on penetrating new markets, adapting existing products to new applications and customer requirements, and introducing new products that achieve market acceptance. Velodyne plans to incur substantial and potentially increasing, research and development costs as part of its efforts to design, develop, manufacture and commercialize new products and enhance existing products. Velodyne’s research and development expenses were $88.1 million, $56.9 million and $52.0 million during 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, and are likely to grow in the future. Because Velodyne accounts for research and development as an operating expense, these expenditures will adversely affect its results to operations in the future. Further, Velodyne’s research and development program may not produce successful results, and its new products may not achieve market acceptance, create additional revenue or become profitable.
The completion of the Business Combination did not automatically result in the satisfaction of the liquidity event vesting condition applicable to our outstanding RSUs and RSAs. When the liquidity event vesting condition is or will be waived by the board of directors following the completion of the Business Combination and at that time we are or will be required to record a significant stock-based compensation expense.
Prior to the Business Combination, compensation expense related to RSAs and RSUs granted under the pre-combination Velodyne’s stock incentive plans remained unrecognized because the performance vesting condition, which is (i) an initial public offering or (ii) a Company sale event, was not probable of being met. As a result of the Business Combination, on October 30, 2020, the Board waived the liquidity event vesting condition applicable to the pre-combination Velodyne’s RSUs. Therefore, our outstanding RSUs vested to the extent the applicable service condition was satisfied as of such date. The vesting of these outstanding RSUs on October 30, 2020 resulted in approximately $77.5 million of incremental stock-based compensation expense in the fourth quarter of 2020. It is anticipated that the Board will waive the liquidity event condition applicable to the RSAs in 2021. If such determination were to occur with respect to the outstanding RSAs, it is expected that the vesting of such outstanding RSAs would result in significant incremental stock-based compensation expense in the quarter when the determination is made based on the closing price of our common stock as of such date.
As part of growing its business, Velodyne may make acquisitions. If Velodyne fails to successfully select, execute or integrate its acquisitions, then its business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected and our stock price could decline.
From time to time, Velodyne may undertake acquisitions to add new products and technologies, acquire talent, gain new sales channels or enter into new markets or sales territories. Acquisitions involve numerous risks and challenges, including relating to the successful integration of the acquired business and its key personnel, entering into new territories or markets with which Velodyne has limited or no prior experience, establishing or maintaining business relationships with new customers, channel partners, vendors and suppliers, unexpected liabilities and potential post-closing disputes.
To date, Velodyne has limited experience with acquisitions and the integration of acquired technology and personnel. Failure to successfully identify, complete, manage and integrate acquisitions could materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition and results of operations and could cause our stock price to decline.
Velodyne may need to raise additional capital in the future in order to execute its business plan, which may not be available on terms acceptable to Velodyne, or at all.
In the future, Velodyne may require additional capital to respond to technological advancements, competitive dynamics or technologies, customer demands, business opportunities, challenges, acquisitions or unforeseen circumstances and it may determine to engage in equity or debt financings or enter into credit facilities for other reasons. In order to further business relationships with current or potential customers or partners, Velodyne may issue equity or equity-linked securities to such current or potential customers or partners. Velodyne may not be able to timely secure additional debt or equity financing on favorable terms, or at all. If Velodyne raises additional funds through the issuance of equity or convertible debt or other equity- linked securities or if it issues equity or equity-linked securities to current or potential customers to further business relationships, its existing stockholders could experience significant dilution. Any debt financing obtained by Velodyne in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to its capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for Velodyne to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. If Velodyne is unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to Velodyne, when Velodyne requires it, Velodyne’s ability to continue to grow or support its business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited.
Velodyne currently has and targets many customers that are large corporations with substantial negotiating power, exacting product standards and potentially competitive internal solutions. If Velodyne is unable to sell its products to these customers, its prospects and results of operations will be adversely affected.
Many of Velodyne’s customers and potential customers are large, multinational corporations with substantial negotiating power relative to it and, in some instances, may have internal solutions that are competitive to Velodyne’s products. These large, multinational corporations also have significant development resources, which may allow them to acquire or develop independently, or in partnership with others, competitive technologies. Meeting the technical requirements and securing design wins with any of these companies will require a substantial investment of Velodyne’s time and resources. Velodyne cannot assure you that its products will secure design wins from these or other companies or that it will generate meaningful revenue from the sales of its products to these key potential customers. If Velodyne’s products are not selected by these large corporations or if these corporations develop or acquire competitive technology, it will have an adverse effect on Velodyne’s business.
If Velodyne’s lidar products are not selected for inclusion in autonomous driving systems or ADAS by automotive OEMs or their suppliers, its business will be materially and adversely affected.
Automotive OEMs and their suppliers design and develop autonomous driving and ADAS technology over several years. These automotive OEMs and suppliers undertake extensive testing or qualification processes prior to placing orders for large quantities of products because Velodyne’s lidar products will function as part of a larger system or platform and must meet certain other specifications. Velodyne spends significant time and resources to have its products selected by automotive OEMs and their suppliers, which is known as a design win. In the case of autonomous driving and ADAS technology, a design win means Velodyne’s lidar product has been selected for use in a particular vehicle model. If Velodyne does not achieve a design win with respect to a particular vehicle model, it may not have an opportunity to supply its products to the automotive OEM for that vehicle model for a period of many years. In many cases, this period can be as long as five to seven or more years. If Velodyne’s products are not selected by an automotive OEM or its suppliers for one vehicle model or if Velodyne’s products are not successful in that vehicle model, it is unlikely that its product will be deployed in other vehicle models of that OEM. If Velodyne fails to win a significant number of vehicle models from one or more of automotive OEMs or their suppliers, its business, results of operations and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
The discontinuation, lack of commercial success, or loss of business with respect to a particular vehicle model or technology package for which Velodyne is a significant supplier could reduce Velodyne’s sales and adversely affect its profitability.
If Velodyne is able to secure design wins and its smart vision solutions are included in these autonomous driving and ADAS products, it expects to enter into supply agreements with the relevant customer. Market practice dictates that these supply agreements typically require Velodyne to supply a customer’s requirements for a particular vehicle model or autonomous driving or ADAS product, rather than supply a set number of products. These contracts can have short terms and/or can be subject to renegotiation, sometimes as frequently as annually, all of which may affect product pricing, and may be terminated by Velodyne’s customers at any time. Therefore, even if Velodyne is successful in obtaining design wins and the systems into which its products are built are commercialized, the discontinuation of, the loss of business with respect to, or a lack of commercial success of a particular vehicle model or technology package for which Velodyne is a significant supplier could mean that the expected sales of Velodyne’s products will not materialize, materially and adversely affecting its business.
Continued pricing pressures, automotive OEM cost reduction initiatives and the ability of automotive OEMs to re-source or cancel vehicle or technology programs may result in lower than anticipated margins, or losses, which may adversely affect Velodyne’s business.
Cost-cutting initiatives adopted by Velodyne’s customers often result in increased downward pressure on pricing. Velodyne expects that its agreements with automotive OEMs may require step-downs in pricing over the term of the agreement or, if commercialized, over the period of production. In addition, Velodyne’s automotive OEM customers often reserve the right to terminate their supply contracts for convenience, which enhances their ability to obtain price reductions. Automotive OEMs also possess significant leverage over their suppliers, including Velodyne, because the automotive component supply industry is highly competitive, serves a limited number of customers and has a high fixed cost base. Accordingly, Velodyne expects to be subject to substantial continuing pressure from automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to reduce the price of its products. It is possible that pricing pressures beyond Velodyne’s expectations could intensify as automotive OEMs pursue restructuring, consolidation and cost- cutting initiatives. If Velodyne is unable to generate sufficient production cost savings in the future to offset price reductions, its gross margin and profitability would be adversely affected.
Velodyne’s business could be materially and adversely affected if it lost any of its largest customers or if they were unable to pay their invoices.
Although Velodyne has and continues to pursue a broad customer base, it is dependent on a collection of large customers with strong purchasing power. In 2020, 2019 and 2018, Velodyne’s top 20 customers represented 81%, 83% and 82% of its revenue, respectively. In 2020, 2019 and 2018, there were two customers that each accounted for more than 10% of Velodyne’s revenue. The loss of business from any of Velodyne’s major customers (whether by lower overall demand for its products, cancellation of existing contracts or product orders or the failure to design in its products or award Velodyne new business) could have a material adverse effect on its business.
To the extent autonomous vehicle and ADAS systems become accepted by major automotive OEMs, Velodyne expects that it will rely increasingly for its revenue on Tier 1 suppliers through which automotive OEMs procure components. Velodyne expects that these Tier 1 suppliers will be responsible for certain hardpoint and software configuration activities specific to each OEM, and they may not exclusively carry its smart vision solutions.
There is also a risk that one or more of its major customers could be unable to pay Velodyne’s invoices as they become due or that a customer will simply refuse to make such payments if it experiences financial difficulties. If a major customer were to enter into bankruptcy proceedings or similar proceedings whereby contractual commitments are subject to stay of execution and the possibility of legal or other modification, Velodyne could be forced to record a substantial loss.
The period of time from a design win to implementation is long and Velodyne is subject to the risks of cancellation or postponement of the contract or unsuccessful implementation.
Prospective customers, including those in the automotive industry, generally must make significant commitments of resources to test and validate Velodyne’s products and confirm that they can integrate with other technologies before including them in any particular system, product or model. The development cycles of Velodyne’s products with new customers varies widely depending on the application, market, customer and the complexity of the product. In the automotive market, for example, this development cycle can be five to seven or more years. The development cycle in certain other markets can be months to one or two years. These development cycles result in Velodyne investing its resources prior to realizing any revenue from the commercialization. Further, Velodyne is subject to the risk that customers cancel or postpone implementation of its technology, as well as that it will not be able to integrate its technology successfully into a larger system with other sensing modalities. Further, Velodyne’s revenue could be less than forecasted if the system, product or vehicle model that includes its lidar products is unsuccessful, including for reasons unrelated to its technology. Long development cycles and product cancellations or postponements may adversely affect Velodyne’s business, results of operations and financial condition.
Velodyne depends on its ability to attract and retain key management and technical personnel.
For our business to be successful, we need to attract and retain highly qualified key management and technical personnel. Competition for highly-skilled personnel is often intense, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where we are located, and we may incur significant costs to attract them. We had in the past been dependent on David Hall, our former executive chairman. Mr. Hall resigned as executive chairman in January 2021 and as a member of our Board of Directors in March 2021. We have been expanding our management team as well as other key areas of our business, including product development. The resignation of Mr. Hall could adversely affect our business as it might make it more difficult to, among other things, compete with other market participants, manage our research and development activities and retain existing customers or cultivate new ones. Furthermore, subsequent to the removal of Mr. Hall as the chair of our Board of Directors and these resignations, Mr. Hall has made statements to the press in a Schedule 13D and in other documents filed with the SEC. This publicity could make it more difficult for us to attract and retain key personnel. We also may not be successful in attracting, integrating, or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. We have, from time to time, experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. In addition, job candidates and existing employees often consider the value of the equity awards they receive in connection with their employment. If the perceived value of our equity is not higher than other companies with which we compete for employees, it may adversely affect our ability to retain highly skilled employees. If we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, our business and future growth prospects could be adversely affected.
The complexity of Velodyne’s products could result in unforeseen delays or expenses from undetected defects, errors or bugs in hardware or software which could reduce the market adoption of its new products, damage its reputation with current or prospective customers, result in product returns or expose Velodyne to product liability and other claims and adversely affect its operating costs.
Velodyne’s products are highly technical and very complex and require high standards to manufacture. These products have in the past and will likely in the future experience defects, errors or bugs at various stages of development. Velodyne may be unable to timely release new products, manufacture existing products, correct problems that have arisen or correct such problems to its customers’ satisfaction. Additionally, undetected errors, defects or security vulnerabilities, especially as new products are introduced or as new versions are released, could result in serious injury to the end users of technology incorporating Velodyne’s products, or those in the surrounding area, its customers never being able to commercialize technology incorporating our products, litigation against Velodyne, negative publicity and other consequences. These risks are particularly prevalent in the highly competitive autonomous driving and ADAS markets. Some errors or defects in Velodyne’s products may only be discovered after they have been tested, commercialized and deployed by customers. If that is the case, Velodyne may incur significant additional development costs and product recall, repair or replacement costs. Furthermore, Velodyne could also experience higher levels of product returns in such cases, which could adversely affect its financial results in a particular quarter. These problems may also result in claims against Velodyne by its customers or others. Velodyne’s reputation or brand may be damaged as a result of these problems and customers may be reluctant to buy its products, which could adversely affect its ability to retain existing customers and attract new customers, and could adversely affect its financial results.
In addition, Velodyne could face material legal claims for breach of contract, product liability, tort or breach of warranty as a result of these problems. Defending a lawsuit, regardless of its merit, could be costly and may divert management’s attention and adversely affect the market’s perception of Velodyne and its products. In addition, Velodyne’s business liability insurance coverage could prove inadequate with respect to a claim and future coverage may be unavailable on acceptable terms or at all. These product-related issues could result in claims against Velodyne and its business could be adversely affected.
If Velodyne does not maintain sufficient inventory or if it does not adequately manage its inventory, it could lose sales or incur higher inventory-related expenses, which could negatively affect Velodyne’s operating results.
To ensure adequate inventory supply, Velodyne must forecast inventory needs and expenses, place orders sufficiently in advance with its suppliers and manufacturing partners and manufacture products based on its estimates of future demand for particular products. Fluctuations in the adoption of lidar products may affect Velodyne’s ability to forecast its future operating results, including revenue, gross margins, cash flows and profitability. Velodyne’s ability to accurately forecast demand for its products could be affected by many factors, including the rapidly changing nature of the markets in which it operates, including the autonomous driving, ADAS and mapping markets, the uncertainty surrounding the market acceptance and commercialization of lidar technology, the emergence of new markets, an increase or decrease in customer demand for Velodyne’s products or for products and services of its competitors, product introductions by competitors, the COVID-19 pandemic and any associated work stoppages or interruptions, unanticipated changes in general market conditions and the weakening of economic conditions or consumer confidence in future economic conditions. If its lidar products are commercialized in autonomous driving, ADAS or other applications experiencing rapid growth in demand, Velodyne may face challenges acquiring adequate supplies to manufacture its products and/or Velodyne and its manufacturing partners may not be able to manufacture its products at a rate necessary to satisfy the levels of demand, which would negatively affect Velodyne’s revenue. This risk may be exacerbated by the fact that Velodyne may not carry or be able to obtain for its manufacturers a significant amount of inventory to satisfy short-term demand increases. If it fails to accurately forecast customer demand, Velodyne may experience excess inventory levels or a shortage of products available for sale.
Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, which would adversely affect Velodyne’s financial results, including its gross margin, and have a negative effect on its brand. Conversely, if Velodyne underestimates customer demand for its products, Velodyne, or its manufacturing partners, may not be able to deliver products to meet its requirements, and this could result in damage to Velodyne’s brand and customer relationships and adversely affect its revenue and operating results.
Velodyne relies on third-party suppliers and because some of the raw materials and key components in its products come from limited or sole sources of supply, Velodyne is susceptible to supply shortages, long lead times for components, and supply changes, any of which could disrupt its supply chain and could delay deliveries of its products to customers.
All of the components that go into the manufacture of Velodyne’s smart vision solutions are sourced from third-party suppliers. To date, Velodyne has produced its products in relatively limited quantities for use in research and development programs. Velodyne does not have any experience in managing its supply chain to manufacture and deliver its products at scale. Some of the key components used to manufacture Velodyne’s products come from limited or sole sources of supply. Velodyne is therefore subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of these components and the risk that its suppliers discontinue or modify components used in its products. Velodyne has a global supply chain and the COVID-19 pandemic may adversely affect its ability to source components in a timely or cost effective manner from its third-party suppliers due to, among other things, work stoppages or interruptions. For example, Velodyne’s products depend on lasers and Velodyne currently consumes a substantial portion of the available market. Any shortage of these lasers could materially and adversely affect Velodyne’s ability to manufacture its smart vision solutions. In addition, the lead times associated with certain components are lengthy and preclude rapid changes in quantities and delivery schedules. Velodyne has in the past experienced and may in the future experience component shortages and price fluctuations of certain key components and materials, and the predictability of the availability and pricing of these components may be limited. Component shortages or pricing fluctuations could be material in the future. In the event of a component shortage, supply interruption or material pricing change from suppliers of these components, Velodyne may not be able to develop alternate sources in a timely manner or at all in the case of sole or limited sources. Developing alternate sources of supply for these components may be time-consuming, difficult, and costly and Velodyne may not be able to source these components on terms that are acceptable to it, or at all, which may undermine Velodyne’s ability to meet its requirements or to fill customer orders in a timely manner. Any interruption or delay in the supply of any of these parts or components, or the inability to obtain these parts or components from alternate sources at acceptable prices and within a reasonable amount of time, would adversely affect Velodyne’s ability to meet its scheduled product deliveries to its customers. This could adversely affect Velodyne’s relationships with its customers and channel partners and could cause delays in shipment of its products and adversely affect its operating results. In addition, increased component costs could result in lower gross margins. Even where Velodyne is able to pass increased component costs along to its customers, there may be a lapse of time before it is able to do so such that Velodyne must absorb the increased cost. If Velodyne is unable to buy these components in quantities sufficient to meet its requirements on a timely basis, it will not be able to deliver products to its customers, which may result in such customers using competitive products instead of Velodyne’s.
The average selling prices of Velodyne’s products could decrease rapidly over the life of the product, which may negatively affect Velodyne’s revenue and gross margin.
In the past Velodyne has substantially reduced the price of certain of its products to accelerate market adoption and solidify its position as a market leader. Velodyne expects the average selling prices of its products generally to continue to decline as its customers seek to commercialize autonomous systems at prices low enough to achieve market acceptance. In order to sell products that have a falling average unit selling price and maintain margins at the same time, Velodyne will need to continually reduce product and manufacturing costs. To manage manufacturing costs, Velodyne must engineer the most cost-effective design for its products. In addition, Velodyne continuously drives initiatives to reduce labor cost, improve worker efficiency, reduce the cost of materials, use fewer materials and further lower overall product costs by carefully managing component prices, inventory and shipping cost.
Velodyne also needs to continually introduce new products with higher sales prices and gross margin in order to maintain its overall gross margin. If Velodyne is unable to manage the cost of older products or successfully introduce new products with higher gross margin, its revenue and overall gross margin would likely decline.
Changes in Velodyne’s product mix may impact its financial performance.
Velodyne’s financial performance can be affected by the mix of products it sells during a given period. If Velodyne’s sales include more of the lower gross margin products than higher gross margin products, its results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. There can be no guarantees that Velodyne will be able to successfully alter its product mix so that it is selling more of its high gross margin products. If actual results vary from this projected product mix of sales, its Velodyne’s results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Velodyne’s management team has limited experience managing a public company.
Most of the members of Velodyne’s management team have limited experience managing a publicly- traded company, interacting with public company investors, and complying with the increasingly-complex laws pertaining to public companies. Additionally, many members of Velodyne’s management team were recently hired or assumed new roles, including its chief executive officer, Dr. Anand Gopalan, who was promoted from chief technology officer in January 2020. Velodyne’s management team may not successfully or efficiently manage their new roles and responsibilities, Velodyne’s transition to being a public company subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under the federal securities laws and the continuous scrutiny of securities analysts and investors. In addition, Velodyne will need to implement and continue to operationalize many of the policies and controls needed to operate as a public company. These new obligations and constituents will require significant attention from Velodyne’s senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of Velodyne’s business, which could adversely affect Velodyne’s business, financial condition, and operating results.
Velodyne may experience difficulties in managing its growth and expanding its operations.
Velodyne expects to experience significant growth in the scope and nature of its operations. Velodyne’s ability to manage its operations and future growth will require Velodyne to continue to improve its operational, financial and management controls, compliance programs and reporting systems. Velodyne is currently in the process of strengthening its compliance programs, including its compliance programs related to export controls, privacy and cybersecurity and anti-corruption, as well as controls related to human resources. Velodyne may not be able to implement improvements in an efficient or timely manner and may discover deficiencies in existing controls, programs, systems and procedures, which could have an adverse effect on its business, reputation and financial results.
Velodyne’s sales and operations in international markets expose it to operational, financial and regulatory risks.
International sales comprise a significant amount of Velodyne’s overall revenue. Sales to international customers accounted for 66%, 54% and 41% of Velodyne’s revenue in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Velodyne is committed to growing its international sales, and while it has committed resources to expanding its international operations and sales channels, these efforts may not be successful. International operations are subject to a number of other risks, including:
|●||Exchange rate fluctuations.|
|●||Political and economic instability, international terrorism and anti-American sentiment, particularly in emerging markets.|
|●||Global or regional health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.|
|●||Potential for violations of anti-corruption laws and regulations, such as those related to bribery and fraud.|
|●||Preference for locally branded products, and laws and business practices favoring local competition.|
|●||Potential consequences of, and uncertainty related to, the “Brexit” process in the United Kingdom, which could lead to additional expense and complexity in doing business there.|
|●||Increased difficulty in managing inventory.|
|●||Delayed revenue recognition.|
|●||Less effective protection of intellectual property.|
|●||Stringent regulation of the autonomous or other systems or products using Velodyne’s products and stringent consumer protection and product compliance regulations, including but not limited to General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union, European competition law, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive and the European Ecodesign directive that are costly to comply with and may vary from country to country.|
|●||Difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations.|
|●||Import and export laws and the impact of tariffs.|
|●||Changes in local tax and customs duty laws or changes in the enforcement, application or interpretation of such laws.|
The occurrence of any of these risks could negatively affect Velodyne’s international business and consequently its business, operating results and financial condition.
Velodyne’s business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, fire, floods and other natural catastrophic events, global pandemics, and interruptions by man-made problems, such as network security breaches, computer viruses or terrorism. Material disruptions of Velodyne’s business or information systems resulting from these events could adversely affect its operating results.
A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, flood or significant power outage or other similar events, such as infectious disease outbreaks or pandemic events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, could have an adverse effect on Velodyne’s business and operating results. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced meaningful operational challenges and Velodyne expects to continue to experience disruptions in its business during 2021. COVID-19 has heightened many of the other risks described herein, such as the demand for Velodyne’s products, its ability to achieve or maintain profitability and its ability to raise additional capital in the future. Despite the implementation of network security measures, Velodyne’s networks and lidar products also may be vulnerable to computer viruses, break-ins and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering with its solutions. Both Velodyne’s corporate headquarters and its manufacturing facility are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity. In addition, natural disasters, acts of terrorism or war could cause disruptions in Velodyne’s remaining manufacturing operations, Velodyne’s or its customers’ or channel partners’ businesses, Velodyne’s suppliers’ or the economy as a whole. Velodyne also relies on information technology systems to communicate among its workforce and with third parties. Any disruption to Velodyne’s communications, whether caused by a natural disaster or by manmade problems, such as power disruptions, could adversely affect its business. Velodyne does not have a formal disaster recovery plan or policy in place and does not currently require that its suppliers’ partners have such plans or policies in place. To the extent that any such disruptions result in delays or cancellations of orders or impede its suppliers’ ability to timely deliver product components, or the deployment of its products, Velodyne’s business, operating results and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters
Changes to trade policy, tariffs and import/export regulations may have a material adverse effect on Velodyne’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in global political, regulatory and economic conditions or in laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development and investment in the territories or countries where Velodyne currently purchases its components, sells its products or conducts its business could adversely affect Velodyne’s business. The U.S. has recently instituted or proposed changes in trade policies that include the negotiation or termination of trade agreements, the imposition of higher tariffs on imports into the U.S., economic sanctions on individuals, corporations or countries, and other government regulations affecting trade between the United States and other countries where Velodyne conducts its business. A number of other nations have proposed or instituted similar measures directed at trade with the U.S. in response. As a result of these developments, there may be greater restrictions and economic disincentives on international trade that could adversely affect Velodyne’s business. For example, such changes could adversely affect the automotive market, Velodyne’s ability to access key components or raw materials needed to manufacture its products (including, but not limited to, rare-earth metals), Velodyne’s ability to sell its products to customers outside of the U.S. and the demand for its products. It may be time-consuming and expensive for Velodyne to alter its business operations to adapt to or comply with any such changes, and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition and results of operations.
Velodyne has in the past and may become involved in legal and regulatory proceedings and commercial or contractual disputes, which could have an adverse effect on its profitability and consolidated financial position.
Velodyne may be, from time to time, involved in litigation, regulatory proceedings and commercial or contractual disputes that may be significant. These matters may include, without limitation, disputes with Velodyne’s suppliers and customers, intellectual property claims, stockholder litigation, government investigations, class action lawsuits, personal injury claims, environmental issues, customs and VAT disputes and employment and tax issues. In addition, Velodyne has in the past and could face in the future a variety of labor and employment claims against it, which could include but is not limited to general discrimination, wage and hour, privacy, ERISA or disability claims. In such matters, government agencies or private parties may seek to recover from Velodyne very large, indeterminate amounts in penalties or monetary damages (including, in some cases, treble or punitive damages) or seek to limit Velodyne’s operations in some way. These types of lawsuits could require significant management time and attention or could involve substantial legal liability, adverse regulatory outcomes, and/or substantial expenses to defend. Often these cases raise complex factual and legal issues and create risks and uncertainties. No assurances can be given that any proceedings and claims will not have a material adverse impact on Velodyne’s operating results and consolidated financial position or that its established reserves or its available insurance will mitigate this impact.
Velodyne is subject to, and must remain in compliance with, numerous laws and governmental regulations concerning the manufacturing, use, distribution and sale of its products. Some of Velodyne’s customers also require that it comply with their own unique requirements relating to these matters.
Velodyne manufactures and sells products that contain electronic components, and such components may contain materials that are subject to government regulation in both the locations where Velodyne manufactures and assembles its products, as well as the locations where Velodyne sells its products. For example, certain regulations limit the use of lead in electronic components. Since Velodyne operates on a global basis, this is a complex process which requires continual monitoring of regulations and an ongoing compliance process to ensure that Velodyne and its suppliers are in compliance with all existing regulations. If there is an unanticipated new regulation that significantly impacts Velodyne’s use of various components or requires more expensive components, that regulation could materially adversely affect its business, results of operations and financial condition.
Velodyne’s products are also used for autonomous driving and ADAS applications, which are subject to complicated regulatory schemes that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. These are rapidly evolving areas where new regulations could impose limitations on the use of lidar generally or Velodyne’s products specifically. If Velodyne fails to adhere to these new regulations or fails to continually monitor the updates, it may be subject to litigation, loss of customers or negative publicity and its business, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.
Concerns over environmental pollution and climate change have produced significant legislative and regulatory efforts on a global basis, and Velodyne believes this will continue both in scope and in the number of countries participating. These changes could directly increase the cost of energy, which may have an effect on the way Velodyne manufactures products or utilizes energy to produce its products. In addition, any new regulations or laws in the environmental area might increase the cost of raw materials or key components Velodyne uses in its products. Environmental regulations require Velodyne to reduce product energy usage, monitor and exclude an expanding list of restricted substances and to participate in required recovery and recycling of its products. Velodyne is unable to predict how any future changes will impact it and if such impacts will be material to its business.
Velodyne’s business may be adversely affected by changes in automotive safety regulations or concerns that drive further regulation of the automobile safety market.
Government vehicle safety regulations are an important factor for Velodyne’s business. Historically, these regulations have imposed ever-more stringent safety regulations for vehicles. These safety regulations often require, or customers demand that, vehicles have more safety features per vehicle and more advanced safety products.
While Velodyne believes increasing automotive safety standards will present a market opportunity for its products, government safety regulations are subject to change based on a number of factors that are not within its control, including new scientific or technological data, adverse publicity regarding the industry recalls and safety risks of autonomous driving and ADAS, accidents involving its products, domestic and foreign political developments or considerations, and litigation relating to its products and its competitors’ products. Changes in government regulations, especially in the autonomous driving and ADAS industries could adversely affect Velodyne’s business. If government priorities shift and Velodyne is unable to adapt to changing regulations, its business may be materially and adversely affected.
Federal and local regulators impose more stringent compliance and reporting requirements in response to product recalls and safety issues in the automotive industry. As the cars that carry Velodyne’s sensors go into production, it is subject to existing stringent requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, or the Vehicle Safety Act, including a duty to report, subject to strict timing requirements, safety defects with its products. The Vehicle Safety Act imposes potentially significant civil penalties for violations including the failure to comply with such reporting actions. Velodyne is also subject to the existing U.S. Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, or TREAD, which requires equipment manufacturers, such as Velodyne, to comply with “Early Warning” requirements by reporting certain information to the NHTSA, such as information related to defects or reports of injury related to its products. TREAD imposes criminal liability for violating such requirements if a defect subsequently causes death or bodily injury. In addition, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorizes NHTSA to require a manufacturer to recall and repair vehicles that contain safety defects or fail to comply with U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards. Sales into foreign countries may be subject to similar regulations. If Velodyne cannot rapidly address any safety concerns or defects with its products, its business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued regulations in 2016 that require manufacturers of certain autonomous vehicles to provide documentation covering specific topics to regulators, such as how automated systems detect objects on the road, how information is displayed to drivers, what cybersecurity measures are in place and the methods used to test the design and validation of autonomous driving systems. As cars that carry Velodyne’s sensors go into production, the obligations of complying with safety regulations could increase and it could require increased resources and adversely affect Velodyne’s business.
Failures, or perceived failures, to comply with privacy, data protection, and information security requirements in the variety of jurisdictions in which Velodyne operates may adversely impact its business, and such legal requirements are evolving, uncertain and may require improvements in, or changes to, Velodyne’s policies and operations.
Velodyne’s current and potential future operations and sales subject it to laws and regulations addressing privacy and the collection, use, storage, disclosure, transfer and protection of a variety of types of data. For example, the European Commission has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation and California recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, both of which provide for potentially material penalties for non-compliance. These regimes may, among other things, impose data security requirements, disclosure requirements, and restrictions on data collection, uses, and sharing that may impact Velodyne’s operations and the development of its business. While, generally, Velodyne does not have access to, collect, store, process, or share information collected by its solutions unless its customers choose to proactively provide such information to us, Velodyne’s products may evolve both to address potential customer requirements or to add new features and functionality. Therefore, the full impact of these privacy regimes on Velodyne’s business is rapidly evolving across jurisdictions and remains uncertain at this time.
Velodyne may also be affected by cyber attacks and other means of gaining unauthorized access to its products, systems, and data. For instance, cyber criminals or insiders may target Velodyne or third-parties with which it has business relationships in an effort to obtain data, or in a manner that disrupts Velodyne’s operations or compromises its products or the systems into which its products are integrated.
Velodyne is assessing the continually evolving privacy and data security regimes and measures it believes are appropriate in response. Since these data security regimes are evolving, uncertain and complex, especially for a global business like Velodyne’s, it may need to update or enhance its compliance measures as its products, markets and customer demands further develop and these updates or enhancements may require implementation costs. The compliance measures Velodyne does adopt may prove ineffective. Any failure, or perceived failure, by Velodyne to comply with current and future regulatory or customer-driven privacy, data protection, and information security requirements, or to prevent or mitigate security breaches, cyber attacks, or improper access to, use of, or disclosure of data, or any security issues or cyber attacks affecting Velodyne, could result in significant liability, costs (including the costs of mitigation and recovery), and a material loss of revenue resulting from the adverse impact on its reputation and brand, loss of proprietary information and data, disruption to its business and relationships, and diminished ability to retain or attract customers and business partners. Such events may result in governmental enforcement actions and prosecutions, private litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity, and could cause customers and business partners to lose trust in Velodyne, which could have an adverse effect on its reputation and business.
Regulations related to conflict minerals may cause Velodyne to incur additional expenses and could limit the supply and increase the costs of certain metals used in the manufacturing of its products.
Velodyne is subject to the requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, or the Dodd-Frank Act, that will require it to determine, disclose and report whether its products contain conflict minerals. The implementation of these requirements could adversely affect the sourcing, availability and pricing of the materials used in the manufacture of components used in Velodyne’s products. In addition, Velodyne will incur additional costs to comply with the disclosure requirements, including costs related to conducting diligence procedures to determine the sources of conflict minerals that may be used in or necessary to the production of its products and, if applicable, potential changes to products, processes or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. It is also possible that its reputation may be adversely affected if Velodyne determines that certain of its products contain minerals not determined to be conflict-free or if Velodyne is unable to alter its products, processes or sources of supply to avoid use of such materials.
Velodyne may be subject to product liability or warranty claims that could result in significant direct or indirect costs, which could adversely affect its business and operating results.
Velodyne’s customers use its smart vision solutions in autonomous driving, ADAS and other applications that present the risk of significant injury, including fatalities. Velodyne may be subject to claims if a product using its lidar technology is involved in an accident and persons are injured or purport to be injured. Any insurance that Velodyne carries may not be sufficient or it may not apply to all situations. Similarly, Velodyne’s customers could be subjected to claims as a result of such accidents and bring legal claims against Velodyne to attempt to hold it liable. In addition, if lawmakers or governmental agencies were to determine that the use of Velodyne’s products or autonomous driving or certain ADAS increased the risk of injury to all or a subset of its customers, they may pass laws or adopt regulations that limit the use of Velodyne’s products or increase its liability associated with the use of its products or that regulate the use of or delay the deployment of autonomous driving and ADAS technology. Any of these events could adversely affect Velodyne’s brand, relationships with customers, operating results or financial condition.
Velodyne typically provides a limited-time warranty on its products. The occurrence of any material defects in its products could make Velodyne liable for damages and warranty claims. In addition, Velodyne could incur significant costs to correct any defects, warranty claims or other problems, including costs related to product recalls. Any negative publicity related to the perceived quality of Velodyne’s products could affect its brand image, partner and customer demand, and adversely affect its operating results and financial condition. Also, warranty, recall and product liability claims may result in litigation, the occurrence of which could be costly, lengthy and distracting and adversely affect Velodyne’s business and operating results.
Risks Related to Intellectual Property
Despite the actions Velodyne is taking to defend and protect its intellectual property, Velodyne may not be able to adequately protect or enforce its intellectual property rights or prevent unauthorized parties from copying or reverse engineering its solutions. Velodyne’s efforts to protect and enforce its intellectual property rights and prevent third parties from violating its rights may be costly.
The success of Velodyne’s products and its business depends in part on Velodyne’s ability to obtain patents and other intellectual property rights and maintain adequate legal protection for its products in the United States and other international jurisdictions. Velodyne relies on a combination of patent, copyright, service mark, trademark and trade secret laws, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual restrictions, to establish and protect its proprietary rights, all of which provide only limited protection. Velodyne cannot assure you that any patents will be issued with respect to its currently pending patent applications or that any trademarks will be registered with respect to its currently pending applications in a manner that gives Velodyne adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages, if at all, or that any patents issued to Velodyne or any trademarks registered by it will not be challenged, invalidated or circumvented. Velodyne has filed for patents and trademarks in the United States and in certain international jurisdictions, but such protections may not be available in all countries in which it operates or in which Velodyne seeks to enforce its intellectual property rights, or may be difficult to enforce in practice. Velodyne’s currently issued patents and trademarks and any patents and trademarks that may be issued or registered, as applicable, in the future with respect to pending or future applications may not provide sufficiently broad protection or may not prove to be enforceable in actions against alleged infringers. Velodyne cannot be certain that the steps it has taken will prevent unauthorized use of its technology or the reverse engineering of its technology. Moreover, others may independently develop technologies that are competitive to Velodyne or infringe Velodyne’s intellectual property.
Protecting against the unauthorized use of Velodyne’s intellectual property, products and other proprietary rights is expensive and difficult, particularly internationally. Velodyne believes that its patents are foundational in the area of lidar products and intends to enforce the intellectual property portfolio it has built over the years. Unauthorized parties may attempt to copy or reverse engineer Velodyne’s smart vision solutions or certain aspects of Velodyne’s solutions that it considers proprietary. Litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce or defend Velodyne’s intellectual property rights, to prevent unauthorized parties from copying or reverse engineering its solutions, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to block the importation of infringing products into the U.S. For example, Velodyne recently achieved a favorable result in two proceedings before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) where the PTAB upheld the validity of Velodyne’s patent claims that were being challenged as unpatentable by one of its competitors. Velodyne’s competitor filed a request for rehearing that was denied by the PTAB. The matter may proceed to an appeal in the future. In addition, that same competitor initiated a
lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and while that case is stayed pending PTAB proceedings, Velodyne cannot guarantee a favorable outcome in the litigation.
Additionally, to protect its intellectual property, Velodyne filed patent infringement cases in August 2019 with the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Hesai Photonics Technology Co., Ltd. (“Hesai”) and Suteng Innovation Technology Co., Ltd. (“RoboSense”). Velodyne resolved its disputes with Hesai in June 2020 and resolved its disputes with RoboSense in September 2020.
Any such litigation, whether initiated by Velodyne or a third party, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management resources, either of which could adversely affect Velodyne’s business, operating results and financial condition. Even if it obtains favorable outcomes in litigation, Velodyne may not be able to obtain adequate remedies, especially in the context of unauthorized parties copying or reverse engineering its smart vision solutions. Further, many of Velodyne’s current and potential competitors have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to defending intellectual property infringement claims and to enforcing their intellectual property rights than Velodyne has. Attempts to enforce its rights against third parties could also provoke these third parties to assert their own intellectual property or other rights against Velodyne, or result in a holding that invalidates or narrows the scope of Velodyne’s rights, in whole or in part. Effective patent, trademark, service mark, copyright and trade secret protection may not be available in every country in which Velodyne’s products are available and competitors based in other countries may sell infringing products in one or more markets. An inability to adequately protect and enforce Velodyne’s intellectual property and other proprietary rights or an inability to prevent authorized parties from copying or reverse engineering its smart vision solutions or certain aspects of its solutions that Velodyne considers proprietary could seriously adversely affect its business, operating results, financial condition and prospects.
In addition to patented technology, Velodyne relies on its unpatented proprietary technology, trade secrets, processes and know-how.
Velodyne relies on proprietary information (such as trade secrets, know-how and confidential information) to protect intellectual property that may not be patentable or subject to copyright, trademark, trade dress or service mark protection, or that Velodyne believes is best protected by means that do not require public disclosure. Velodyne generally seeks to protect this proprietary information by entering into confidentiality agreements, or consulting, services or employment agreements that contain non-disclosure and non-use provisions with its employees, consultants, contractors and third parties. However, Velodyne may fail to enter into the necessary agreements, and even if entered into, these agreements may be breached or may otherwise fail to prevent disclosure, third-party infringement or misappropriation of its proprietary information, may be limited as to their term and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure or use of proprietary information. Velodyne has limited control over the protection of trade secrets used by its current or future manufacturing partners and suppliers and could lose future trade secret protection if any unauthorized disclosure of such information occurs. In addition, Velodyne’s proprietary information may otherwise become known or be independently developed by its competitors or other third parties. To the extent that its employees, consultants, contractors, advisors and other third parties use intellectual property owned by others in their work for Velodyne, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of Velodyne’s proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection for its proprietary information could adversely affect its competitive business position. Furthermore, laws regarding trade secret rights in certain markets where Velodyne operates may afford little or no protection to its trade secrets.
Velodyne also relies on physical and electronic security measures to protect its proprietary information, but it cannot provide assurance that these security measures will not be breached or provide adequate protection for its property. There is a risk that third parties may obtain and improperly utilize Velodyne’s proprietary information to its competitive disadvantage. Velodyne may not be able to detect or prevent the unauthorized use of such information or take appropriate and timely steps to enforce its intellectual property rights.
Third-party claims that Velodyne is infringing intellectual property, whether successful or not, could subject it to costly and time-consuming litigation or expensive licenses, and its business could be adversely affected.
Although Velodyne holds key patents related to its products, a number of companies, both within and outside of the lidar industry, hold other patents covering aspects of lidar products. In addition to these patents, participants in this industry typically also protect their technology, especially embedded software, through copyrights and trade secrets. As a result, there is frequent litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property rights. Velodyne has received, and in the future may receive, inquiries from other
intellectual property holders and may become subject to claims that it infringes their intellectual property rights, particularly as Velodyne expands its presence in the market, expands to new use cases and faces increasing competition. In addition, parties may claim that the names and branding of Velodyne’s products infringe their trademark rights in certain countries or territories. If such a claim were to prevail, Velodyne may have to change the names and branding of its products in the affected territories and it could incur other costs.
Velodyne currently has a number of agreements in effect pursuant to which it has agreed to defend, indemnify and hold harmless its customers, suppliers, and channel partners and other partners from damages and costs which may arise from the infringement by Velodyne’s products of third-party patents or other intellectual property rights. The scope of these indemnity obligations varies, but may, in some instances, include indemnification for damages and expenses, including attorneys’ fees. Velodyne’s insurance may not cover all intellectual property infringement claims. A claim that its products infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, even if untrue, could adversely affect Velodyne’s relationships with its customers, may deter future customers from purchasing its products and could expose Velodyne to costly litigation and settlement expenses. Even if Velodyne is not a party to any litigation between a customer and a third party relating to infringement by its products, an adverse outcome in any such litigation could make it more difficult for Velodyne to defend its products against intellectual property infringement claims in any subsequent litigation in which it is a named party. Any of these results could adversely affect Velodyne’s brand and operating results.
Velodyne’s defense of intellectual property rights claims brought against it or its customers, suppliers and channel partners, with or without merit, could be time-consuming, expensive to litigate or settle, divert management resources and attention and force Velodyne to acquire intellectual property rights and licenses, which may involve substantial royalty or other payments and may not be available on acceptable terms or at all. Further, a party making such a claim, if successful, could secure a judgment that requires Velodyne to pay substantial damages or obtain an injunction. An adverse determination also could invalidate Velodyne’s intellectual property rights and adversely affect its ability to offer its products to its customers and may require that Velodyne procure or develop substitute products that do not infringe, which could require significant effort and expense. Any of these events could adversely affect Velodyne’s business, operating results, financial condition and prospects.
Risks Related to Tax and Accounting Matters
Changes in tax laws or exposure to additional income tax liabilities could affect Velodyne’s future profitability.
Factors that could materially affect Velodyne’s future effective tax rates include but are not limited to:
|●||Changes in tax laws or the regulatory environment.|
|●||Changes in accounting and tax standards or practices.|
|●||Changes in the composition of operating income by tax jurisdiction.|
|●||Velodyne’s operating results before taxes.|
Because Velodyne does not have a long history of operating at its present scale and it has significant expansion plans, Velodyne’s effective tax rate may fluctuate in the future. Future effective tax rates could be affected by operating losses in jurisdictions where no tax benefit can be recorded under U.S. GAAP, changes in the composition of earnings in countries with differing tax rates, changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws.
Velodyne’s ability to use its net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
As of December 31, 2020, Velodyne had $173.5 million of U.S. federal and $105.5 million of state net operating loss carryforwards available to reduce future taxable income, which will be carried forward indefinitely for U.S. federal tax purposes and will expire beginning in 2028 through 2040 for state tax purposes. It is possible that Velodyne will not generate taxable income in time to use these net operating loss carryforwards before their expiration or at all. In addition, the federal and state net operating loss carryforwards and certain tax credits may be subject to significant limitations under Section 382 and Section 383 of the Code, respectively, and similar provisions of state law. Under those sections of the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change attributes, such as research tax credits, to offset its post- change income or tax may be limited. In general, an “ownership change” will occur if there is a cumulative change in our ownership by “5% shareholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. Velodyne has not yet undertaken an analysis of whether or not the Business Combination constitutes an “ownership change” for purposes of Section 382 and Section 383 of the Code.
Unanticipated changes in effective tax rates or adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to income taxes in the United States and other jurisdictions, and our tax liabilities will be subject to the allocation of expenses in differing jurisdictions. Our future effective tax rates could be subject to volatility or adversely affected by a number of factors, including:
|●||changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;|
|●||expected timing and amount of the release of any tax valuation allowances;|
|●||tax effects of stock-based compensation;|
|●||costs related to intercompany restructurings;|
|●||changes in tax laws, regulations or interpretations thereof; or|
|●||lower than anticipated future earnings in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory tax rates and higher than anticipated future earnings in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory tax rates.|
In addition, we may be subject to audits of our income, sales and other transaction taxes by taxing authorities. Outcomes from these audits could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Velodyne has identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm Velodyne’s business and negatively impact the market price of Velodyne’s common stock.
Our management determined that, as of December 31, 2020, we did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting. During the year, management identified a material weakness related to our process and controls over tracking and reporting whistleblower complaints and litigation matters that was remediated in the fourth quarter. In addition, management identified a material weakness in connection with our failure to adequately review revenue schedules associated with non-standard revenue arrangements, which resulted in misstatements of revenue and deferred revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2020. These misstatements have been corrected as of year-end.
We are working to remediate the remaining material weakness and have taken and continue to take steps that we believe will address its underlying causes, including the following:
|●||We have enhanced the review process surrounding the quarterly and annual assessment of the ongoing status of standard and non-standard agreements and schedules.|
|●||We have designed new controls and procedures associated with non-standard agreements and schedules, which requires incremental levels of accounting review, and|
|●||We intend to hire additional resources with the relevant experience to strengthen our contract review processes.|
While we have made progress to enhance our internal control over financial reporting, additional time is required to complete implementation and to assess and ensure the sustainability of these procedures. We will continue to devote time and attention to these remedial efforts. However, the remaining material weakness cannot be considered remediated until the applicable controls operate for a sufficient period of time and management has concluded, through testing, that these controls are operating effectively.
We cannot assure you that the measures we have taken to date will be sufficient to remediate the remaining material weakness we identified or prevent additional material weaknesses in the future. Although we plan to complete this remediation, if the steps we take do not remediate the remaining material weakness in a timely or sufficient manner, there could continue to be a reasonable possibility that these control deficiencies or others could result in a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements that would not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. This could cause investors to lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities.
If Velodyne fails to maintain an effective system of internal controls, its ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be adversely affected.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the rules and regulations of Nasdaq. Velodyne expects that the requirements of these rules and regulations will continue to increase its legal, accounting and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming and costly, and place significant strain on its personnel, systems and resources.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that Velodyne maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. Velodyne is continuing to develop and refine its disclosure controls, internal control over financial reporting and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by it in the reports that it files with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms, and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to Velodyne’s principal executive and financial officers.
Velodyne’s current controls and any new controls that it develops may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in its business. Further, Velodyne has identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, and an additional such weakness may be discovered in the future. See “—Velodyne has identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm Velodyne’s business and negatively impact the market price of Velodyne’s common stock.” Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls, or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement, could adversely affect Velodyne’s operating results or cause it to fail to meet its reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of Velodyne’s financial statements for prior periods. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal controls also could adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of Velodyne’s internal control over financial reporting that it is required to include in its periodic reports Velodyne will file with the SEC under Section 404 of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act. Ineffective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting could also cause investors to lose confidence in Velodyne’s reported financial and other information.
In order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of its disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, Velodyne has expended and anticipates that it will continue to expend significant resources, including accounting-related costs, and provide significant management oversight. Any failure to maintain the adequacy of its internal controls, or consequent inability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, could increase Velodyne’s operating costs and could materially and adversely affect its ability to operate its business. In the event that Velodyne’s internal controls are perceived as inadequate or that it is unable to produce timely or accurate financial statements, investors may lose confidence in Velodyne’s operating results and our stock price could decline. In addition, if Velodyne is unable to continue to meet these requirements, it may not be able to maintain listing on Nasdaq.
Our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to formally attest to the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting until after we are no longer an emerging growth company. At such time, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the
level at which Velodyne’s controls are documented, designed or operating. Any failure to maintain effective disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting could have a material and adverse effect on our business and operating results.
Risks Related to Ownership of our Common Stock
Resales of the shares of common stock could depress the market price of our common stock.
We had approximately 188.3 million shares of common stock outstanding as of March 10, 2021, and there may be a large number of shares of common stock sold in the market. The shares held by our public stockholders are freely tradable, and the shares of common stock held by the PIPE Investors are also freely tradable. See “Description of Securities — Registration Rights — Public Warrants.” In addition, the shares of common stock issued as merger consideration, will become available for resale following the expiration of any applicable lock-up period, including any early release of such lock-up period. These resales could have the effect of decreasing the price of our common stock, particularly if stockholders or groups of stockholders were to seek to sell large blocks of shares in short periods of time. We also expect that Rule 144 will become available for the resale of shares of our common stock that are not registered for resale on October 5, 2021, the one year anniversary from the date that we filed the Current Report on Form 8-K following the closing of the Business Combination that included the required Form 10 information that reflected we were no longer a shell company. Such sales of shares of common stock or the perception of such sales may depress the market price of our common stock. If the market price of our common stock declines for any reason, including due to resales of shares of our common stock in the open market, it is possible that we may become subject to securities class action litigation. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.
Our only significant asset is our ownership interest in our Velodyne Lidar subsidiary and such ownership may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our common stock.
We are a holding company with no direct operations and no significant assets other than our ownership of Velodyne. We will depend on Velodyne for distributions, loans and other payments to generate the funds necessary to meet our financial obligations, including our expenses as a publicly traded company and pay any dividends with respect to our common stock. The financial condition and operating requirements of Velodyne may limit our ability to obtain cash from Velodyne. The earnings from, or other available assets of, Velodyne may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our common stock or satisfy our other financial obligations.
The ability of Velodyne to make distributions, loans and other payments to us for the purposes described above and for any other purpose may be limited by credit agreements to which Velodyne is party from time to time, including the existing loan and security agreement described in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”, and will be subject to the negative covenants set forth therein. Any loans or other extensions of credit to us from Velodyne will be permitted only to the extent there is an applicable exception to the investment covenants under these credit agreements. Similarly, any dividends, distributions or similar payments to us from Velodyne will be permitted only to the extent there is an applicable exception to the dividends and distributions covenants under these credit agreements.
A market for our securities may not continue, which would adversely affect the liquidity and price of our securities.
The price of our securities may fluctuate significantly due to the market’s reaction to the developments in our business and general market and economic conditions. An active trading market for our securities may not be sustained. In addition, the price of our securities can vary due to general economic conditions and forecasts, our general business condition and the release of our financial reports. You may be unable to sell your securities when desired or at an acceptable price unless an active trading market can be sustained.
If Velodyne does not meet the expectations of investors, stockholders or financial analysts, the market price of our securities may decline.
If Velodyne does not meet the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the market price of our securities may decline. In addition, fluctuations in the price of our securities could contribute to the loss of all or part of your
investment. If an active market for our securities develops and continues, the trading price of our securities could be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Any of the factors listed below could have a material adverse effect on your investment in our securities and our securities may trade at prices significantly below the price you paid for them. In such circumstances, the trading price of our securities may not recover and may experience a further decline.
Factors affecting the trading price of our securities may include:
|●||actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial results or the quarterly financial results of companies perceived to be similar to us;|
|●||changes in the market’s expectations about our operating results;|
|●||the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;|
|●||speculation in the press or investment community;|
|●||announcements of technological innovation, new products, acquisitions, strategic alliances, significant agreements by us or competitors;|
|●||success of competitors;|
|●||our operating results failing to meet the expectation of securities analysts or investors in a particular period;|
|●||changes in financial estimates and recommendations by securities analysts concerning us or the market in general;|
|●||operating and stock price performance of other companies that investors deem comparable to us;|
|●||our ability to market new and enhanced products on a timely basis;|
|●||changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;|
|●||commencement of, or involvement in, litigation;|
|●||changes in our capital structure, such as future issuances of securities or the incurrence of additional debt;|
|●||the volume of shares of our common stock available for public sale;|
|●||any major change in our Board or management;|
|●||sales of substantial amounts of common stock by our directors, officers or significant stockholders or the perception that such sales could occur;|
|●||the expiration of existing market stand-off or contractual lock-up agreements;|
|●||the realization of any of the risk factors presented in this prospectus;|
|●||additions or departures of key personnel;|
|●||failure to comply with the requirements of Nasdaq;|
|●||failure to comply with SOX or other laws or regulations;|
|●||actual, potential or perceived control, accounting or reporting problems;|
|●||changes in accounting principles, policies and guidelines; and|
|●||general economic and political conditions such as recessions, COVID-19, interest rates, fuel prices, international currency fluctuations and acts of war or terrorism.|
Broad market and industry factors may materially harm the market price of our securities irrespective of our operating performance. The stock market in general and Nasdaq have experienced price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the particular companies affected. The trading prices and valuations of these stocks, and of our securities, may not be predictable. A loss of investor confidence in the market for the stocks of other companies which investors perceive to be similar to us could depress our stock price regardless of our business, prospects, financial conditions or results of operations. A decline in the
market price of our securities also could adversely affect our ability to issue additional securities and our ability to obtain additional financing in the future.
In the past, securities class action litigation has often been initiated against companies following periods of volatility in their stock price. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources, and could also require us to make substantial payments to satisfy judgments or to settle litigation.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish or cease publishing research or reports about us, our business, or our market, or if they change their recommendations regarding our common stock adversely, then the price and trading volume of our common stock could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. Securities and industry analysts do not currently, and may never, publish research on Velodyne. If no securities or industry analysts commence coverage of Velodyne, our stock price and trading volume would likely be negatively impacted. If any of the analysts who may cover us change their recommendation regarding our stock adversely, or provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, the price of our common stock would likely decline. If any analyst who may cover us were to cease coverage or fail to regularly publish reports on it, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
We may redeem unexpired Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to warrant holders, thereby making their public warrants worthless.
We have the ability to redeem outstanding public warrants at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.01 per public warrant; provided that the last reported sales price of our common stock equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within a 30 trading-day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we give notice of such redemption to the warrant holders. Redemption of the outstanding Warrants could force the Warrant holders: (i) to exercise their Warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for them to do so; (ii) to sell their Warrants at the then-current market price when they might otherwise wish to hold their Warrants; or (iii) to accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Warrants are called for redemption, is likely to be substantially less than the market value of their Warrants.
Warrants and other shares underlying equity awards could increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
As of March 10, 2021, we had outstanding Warrants exercisable for 4,484,638 shares of common stock at $11.50 per share. The shares of our common stock issued upon exercise of our Warrants will result in dilution to the then existing holders of common stock and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. In addition, as of March 10, 2021, we had outstanding RSAs and RSUs covering 16,536,505 shares of common stock that had not settled or issued and options to purchase 597,354 shares of our common stock. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares in the public market could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Anti-takeover provisions contained in our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation contains provisions that may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals that stockholders may consider to be in their best interests. We are also subject to anti-takeover provisions under Delaware law, which could delay or prevent a change of control. Together, these provisions may make more difficult the removal of management and may discourage transactions that otherwise could involve payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our securities. These provisions include:
|●||no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;|
|●||a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which could delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of the Board;|
|●||the requirement that directors may only be removed from the Board for cause;|
|●||the right of our Board to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of our Board or the resignation, death or removal of a director in certain circumstances, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our Board;|
|●||a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;|
|●||a prohibition on stockholders calling a special meeting and the requirement that a meeting of stockholders may only be called by a majority of the Board, the chairman of the Board or the chief executive office and may not be called by any other person, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;|
|●||the requirement that changes or amendments to certain provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation must be approved by holders of at least two-thirds of our common stock;|
|●||advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our Board or to propose matters to be acted upon at a meeting of stockholders, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of Velodyne; and|
|●||an opt out from Section 203 of the DGCL and, instead, inclusion of a provision in the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation that is substantially similar to Section 203 of the DGCL.|
The JOBS Act permits “emerging growth companies” like us to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.
We currently qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act. As such, we take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies for as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, including: (i) the exemption from the auditor attestation requirements with respect to internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of SOX; (ii) the exemptions from say-on-pay, say-on-frequency and say-on-golden parachute voting requirements; and (iii) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. As a result, our stockholders may not have access to certain information they deem important. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year: (a) following October 18, 2023, the fifth anniversary of our IPO; (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion; or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30th, and (ii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.
In addition, Section 107 of the JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of the exemption from complying with new or revised accounting standards provided in Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act as long as we are an emerging growth company. An emerging growth company can therefore delay the adoption of certain accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. The JOBS Act provides that a company can elect to opt out of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to non-emerging growth companies, but any such election to opt out is irrevocable. We have elected to avail ourselves of such extended transition period, which means that when a standard is issued or revised and it has different application dates for public or private companies, we, as an emerging growth company, can adopt the new or revised standard at the time private companies adopt the new or revised standard. This may make comparison of our financial statements with another public company that is neither an emerging growth company nor an emerging growth company that has opted out of using the extended transition period difficult or impossible because of the potential differences in accounting standards used.
We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.
David Hall will have control over key decision making because he holds voting rights with respect to a majority of our voting stock.
David Hall, our former chairman and CEO, holds voting rights with respect to an aggregate of approximately 98.4 million and 98.5 million, respectively, shares of common stock, which represented approximately 54.6% and 52.3%, respectively, of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock as of December 31, 2020 and March 10, 2021. In addition to the approximately 59.8 million shares of common stock currently held by Mr. Hall, which represented approximately 33.2% and 31.7%, respectively, of the voting power of our capital stock as of December 31, 2020 and March 10, 2021, stockholders holding approximately 38.6 million shares of common stock, including Joseph B. Culkin, Chairman of our Board, Marta Hall, a member of our Board, and certain other family members of Mr. Hall, have entered into agreements granting Mr. Hall an irrevocable proxy to vote such stockholders’ shares at Mr. Hall’s discretion on all matters to be voted upon by stockholders.
As a result, Mr. Hall will have the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. In addition, Mr. Hall could have the ability to control our affairs as a result of his ability to control the election of our directors. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future, and, as a result, the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected.
As a stockholder, even as a controlling stockholder, Mr. Hall is entitled to vote his shares in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally and could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Compliance obligations under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may require substantial financial and management resources.
As a public company, we are required to comply with the SEC’s rules implementing Sections 302 and 404 of SOX, which require management to certify financial and other information in our quarterly and annual reports and provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. To comply with the requirements of being a public company, we have undertaken and expect to continue to undertake various actions, such as implementing additional internal controls and procedures and hiring additional accounting or internal audit staff. Additionally, we have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. We have remediated one material weakness in the fourth quarter of 2020 and have put in place a remediation plan with respect to the remaining material weakness. See “—Velodyne has identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the market price of our common stock.” Our management has devoted significant time, attention and resources to these remedial efforts and intends to hire additional personnel as part of our remediation plan.
The standards required for a public company under Section 404 of SOX are significantly more stringent than those required of Velodyne as a privately-held company. Further, as an emerging growth company, our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 until the date we are no longer an emerging growth company. At such time, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event that it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating, or if the remaining material weakness has not been remediated or additiaional material weaknesses have been identified.
Testing and maintaining these controls can divert our management’s attention from other matters that are important to the operation of our business. If our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting when we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and federal court within the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that stockholders may initiate, which could limit a stockholder’s ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and federal court within the State of Delaware will be exclusive forums for any:
|●||derivative action or proceeding brought on Velodyne’s behalf;|
|●||action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of Velodyne’s directors, officers or other employees to Velodyne or its stockholders;|
|●||action asserting a claim against Velodyne arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, Velodyne’s Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation or bylaws; or|
|●||other action asserting a claim against Velodyne that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.|
This choice of forum provision does not apply to actions brought to enforce a duty or liability created under the Exchange Act. Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation also provides that the federal district courts of the United States are the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. We intend for this provision to apply to any complaints asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act despite the fact that Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for the federal and state courts over all actions brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. There is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce such a provision with respect to claims under the Securities Act, and stockholders will not be deemed to have waived compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the provisions of the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation described above.
These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, may be forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the expectations and beliefs of management of Velodyne in light of historical results and trends, current conditions and potential future developments, and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include statements about the future performance and opportunities of Velodyne; statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations of Velodyne; statements regarding future market opportunities, economic conditions or performance; and other statements regarding the Business Combination (as defined herein). Forward-looking statements may contain words such as “will be,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “continue,” “project,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “pursue,” “should,” “target,” “likely” or similar expressions, and include the assumptions that underlie such statements.
The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements:
|●||Velodyne’s future performance, including Velodyne’s revenue, costs of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, and operating expenses;|
|●||the sufficiency of Velodyne’s cash and cash equivalents to meet its operating requirements;|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to sell its products to new customers;|
|●||the success of Velodyne’s customers in developing and commercializing products using Velodyne’s solutions, and the market acceptance of those products;|
|●||the amount and timing of future sales;|
|●||Velodyne’s future market share;|
|●||competition from existing or future businesses and technologies;|
|●||the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Velodyne’s business and the business of its customers;|
|●||the market for and adoption of lidar and related technology;|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to effectively manage its growth and future expenses;|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to compete in a market that is rapidly evolving and subject to technological developments;|
|●||Velodyne’s estimated total addressable market and the market for autonomous solutions;|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to maintain, protect, and enhance its intellectual property;|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to comply with modified or new laws and regulations applying to its business;|
|●||the attraction and retention of qualified employees and key personnel;|
|●||Velodyne’s ability to introduce new products that meet its customers’ requirements and to continue successfully transitioning the manufacturing of its products to third-party manufacturers;|
|●||Velodyne’s anticipated investments in and results from sales and marketing and research and development;|
|●||the increased expenses associated with Velodyne being a public company; and|
|●||use of the net proceeds to Velodyne from the cash on hand after the closing of the Merger (as defined herein).|
The foregoing review of important factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other risk factors included herein. Forward-looking statements reflect current views about Velodyne’s plans, strategies and prospects, which are based on information available as of the date of this prospectus. Except to the extent required by applicable law, Velodyne undertakes no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on those statements.
MARKET AND INDUSTRY DATA
We obtained the market and industry data used throughout this prospectus from our own internal estimates and research, as well as from industry and general publications, in addition to research, surveys, and studies conducted by third parties. Internal estimates are derived from publicly-available information released by industry analysts and third-party sources, our internal research, and our industry experience, and are based on assumptions made by us based on such data and our knowledge of our industry and market, which we believe to be reasonable. In addition, while we believe the industry, market, and competitive position data included in this prospectus is reliable and is based on reasonable assumptions, such data involves risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed in "Risk Factors." These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by the independent parties and by us.
Information based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research, or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties, and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances that are assumed in this information. In some cases, we do not expressly refer to the sources from which data is derived.
Certain information in this prospectus is contained in independent industry publications. The source of these independent industry publications is provided below:
|●||National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "2017 Pedestrians Traffic Safety Fact Sheet," dated March 2019.|
|●||National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Critical Reasons for Crashes Investigated in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey," dated March 2018.|
|●||National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "NHTSA-IIHS Announcement on AEB," dated December 2017.|
|●||Society of Automotive Engineers, "SAE International Releases Updated Visual Chart for Its ‘Levels of Driving Automation’ Standard for Self-Driving Vehicles," dated December 2018.|
USE OF PROCEEDS
We will receive up to an aggregate of approximately $51.6 million from the exercise of the Warrants, assuming the exercise in full of all of the Warrants for cash. We expect to use the net proceeds from the exercise of the Warrants for general corporate purposes. We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from the exercise of the Warrants. There is no assurance that the holders of the Warrants will elect to exercise any or all of such Warrants. To the extent that the Warrants are exercised on a “cashless basis,” the amount of cash we would receive from the exercise of the Warrants will decrease.
All of the shares of common stock and Warrants offered by the Selling Stockholders and Selling Warrantholders, respectively, pursuant to this prospectus will be sold by the Selling Stockholders and Selling Warrantholders for their accounts. We will not receive any of the proceeds from these sales.
DETERMINATION OF OFFERING PRICE
We cannot currently determine the price or prices at which shares of our common stock may be sold by the Selling Stockholders under this prospectus.
MARKET INFORMATION FOR OUR COMMON STOCK AND DIVIDEND POLICY
Our common stock and warrants are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbols “VLDR” and “VLDRW,” respectively. Prior to the consummation of the Business Combination, our common stock was listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GRAF.” As of March 10, 2021, there were 92 holders of record of our common stock.
We have not paid any cash dividends on the common stock to date. We may retain future earnings, if any, for future operations, expansion and debt repayment and has no current plans to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of the Board and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors that the Board may deem relevant. In addition, our ability to pay dividends may be limited by covenants of any existing and future outstanding indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur. We do not anticipate declaring any cash dividends to holders of the common stock in the foreseeable future.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
As of December 31, 2020, we had 31,225,985 shares of common stock authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans.
On March 8, 2021, we filed an initial registration statement on Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register the shares of common stock issued or issuable under the 2020 Plan and the 2020 ESPP, which became effective automatically upon filing. These shares can be sold in the public market upon issuance, subject to applicable lock-up and other restrictions.
UNAUDITED PRO FORMA CONDENSED COMBINED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Defined terms included below have the same meaning as terms defined and included elsewhere in this prospectus. Unless the context otherwise requires, the "Company" refers to Velodyne Lidar, Inc. and its subsidiaries after the closing of the Business Combination, and Graf Industrial Corp. prior to the closing of the Business Combination.
The Company is providing the following unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information to aid you in your analysis of the financial aspects of Velodyne becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Graf as a result of Graf’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Merger Sub, merging with and into Velodyne, with Velodyne surviving the merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Graf, which was renamed Velodyne Lidar, Inc. (the “Transaction”). The following unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information has been prepared in accordance with Article 11 of Regulation S-X.
The following unaudited pro forma condensed combined balance sheet of the post-combination company as of December 31, 2020 and pro forma condensed combined statement of operations of the post-combination company for the year ended December 31, 2020 present the combination of the financial information of Graf and Velodyne, after giving effect to the Transaction and related adjustments described in the accompanying notes.
The unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial statements have been presented for illustrative purposes only and do not necessarily reflect what the post-combination company’s results of operations would have been had the acquisition occurred on the dates indicated. Further, the pro forma condensed combined financial information also may not be useful in predicting the future results of operations of the Company. The actual results of operations may differ significantly from the pro forma amounts reflected herein due to a variety of factors.
The historical financial information of Graf was derived from the unaudited financial statements of Graf for the period between January 1, 2020 to September 29, 2020. The historical financial information of Velodyne was derived from audited consolidated financial statements of Velodyne for the year ended December 31, 2020, which is incorporated by reference. This information should be read together with Graf’s and Velodyne’s unaudited and audited financial statements and related notes.
Description of the Transaction
Subject to the terms and conditions of the Merger Agreement and Merger Agreement Amendment, Graf was obligated to pay to Velodyne equity holders aggregate consideration consisting of up to (1) 143,575,763 shares of Company common stock, including shares issuable in respect of vested equity awards of Velodyne, plus (2) 2,000,000 shares of Company common stock earned due to the satisfaction of the Earnout Condition on July 30, 2020 pursuant to the Earnout, including 187,680 Earnout RSUs, which are subject to a six-month service condition and are not legally issued and outstanding shares of Company common stock at Closing, plus (3) 4,702,304 shares of Company common stock that were issued to Velodyne equity holders that did not opt to have their respective shares repurchased by Velodyne for cash in a pre-closing tender offer conducted by Velodyne (the “Pre-Closing Tender Offer”) that expired on September 22, 2020.
Each share of Velodyne’s common stock and Series A Convertible Preferred Stock was converted into approximately 2.9786 shares of common stock of the Company based on the determined exchange ratio, which is inclusive of shares payable due to the satisfaction of the Earnout. Each share of Velodyne’s Series B Convertible Preferred Stock and Series B-1 Convertible Preferred Stock was converted into approximately 3.5465 shares of common stock of the Company based on the determined exchange ratio.
In addition, following the Sponsor’s cancellation of 3,519,128 Founder Shares held by it pursuant to the terms of the Sponsor Agreement dated July 2, 2020, the Sponsor retained 2,507,000 Founder Shares, 275,000 of which were deemed Earnout Founder Shares that vest at such time that the closing price of common stock is greater than or equal to $15.00 for any 20 trading days within any 30 trading-day period, commencing on the date of the Merger Agreement and ending on the date that is six months after the Closing. Any Earnout Founder Shares that do not vest on or prior to such date shall be forfeited. As noted, the Earnout Condition was met on July 30, 2020 and the Sponsor retained all 275,000 Earnout Founder Shares. Further, at Closing, the Sponsor transferred 560,000 founder shares to third-parties for no consideration and retained 1,947,000 founder shares.
The following summarizes the consideration:
(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)
Shares transferred at Closing(1)(2)
Value per share(4)
Total Share Consideration
|(1)||Reflects the total share consideration transferred inclusive of 4,702,304 additional shares issued as a result of the Pre-Closing Tender Offer and the effects of rounding to eliminate fractional shares.|
|(2)||The number of outstanding shares in the table above assumes the issuance of approximately 6,218,778 shares of Company common stock underlying RSUs and options as of September 29, 2020 that are expected to be vested as a result of a deemed liquidity event. Although the shares underlying these RSUs and options do not represent legally issued and outstanding shares of the Company common stock at the Closing, for pro forma purposes, they are reflected as outstanding as they are expected to be issued upon the liquidity event being deemed to have occurred. The shares underlying these RSUs and options are included in the calculation of pro forma net loss per share.|
|(3)||Includes the issuance of approximately 187,680 shares of stock underlying RSUs and options. However, they are not be legally outstanding shares at Closing as they are in the form of Earnout RSUs that are subject to a six-month service condition. The grant date fair value for the Earnout RSUs is approximately $4.6 million, which was determined based on the closing share price on the date of the consummation of the Transaction and will be recognized over the six-month service term.|
|(4)||Share Consideration is calculated using a $10.25 reference price. The closing share price on the date of the consummation of the Transaction was $24.75. As the Transaction was accounted for as a reverse recapitalization, the value per share is disclosed for informational purposes only in order to indicate the fair value of shares transferred.|
The following summarizes the pro forma common stock at Closing:
Velodyne RSUs and Options(3)
Common shares held by current Graf shareholders
Pro Forma Common Stock
|(1)||Reflects the repurchase of 175,744 shares of Velodyne capital stock for $1.8 million in the Pre-Closing Velodyne Tender Offer such that Velodyne received 4,702,304 additional shares, including RSUs and options.|
|(2)||Includes 2,000,000 of Company common stock in earnout consideration (including in the form of awards of Earnout RSUs settleable in common stock) as the price threshold has been triggered. Earnout RSUs of 187,680 shares are subject to a six-month service condition and are not legally outstanding shares of the Company’s common stock at Closing. Further, the Earnout RSUs are excluded from the calculation of net loss per share.|
|(3)||Reflects the issuance of approximately 6,218,778 shares of Company common stock underlying RSUs and options as of September 29, 2020 that are expected to be vested as a result of a deemed liquidity event. Although the shares underlying these RSUs and options do not represent legally issued and outstanding shares of the Company common stock at the Closing, for pro forma purposes, they are reflected as outstanding as they are expected to be exercised and issued upon the liquidity event being deemed to have occurred. The shares underlying these RSUs and options are included in the calculation of pro forma net loss per share. As of September 29, 2020, there were 172,896,920 shares of common stock legally outstanding.|
|(4)||Includes 275,000 of Earnout Founder Shares as the price threshold has been triggered.|
|(5)||Includes 68,000 Founder Shares held by the Graf’s independent directors not subject to Earnout and 560,000 founder shares transferred to third-parties for no consideration.|
The following unaudited pro forma condensed combined balance sheets as of December 31, 2020 and unaudited pro forma condensed combined statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 are based on the historical financial statements of Graf and Velodyne. The unaudited pro forma adjustments are based on information currently available, and assumptions and estimates underlying the unaudited pro forma adjustments are described in the accompanying notes. Actual results may differ materially from the assumptions used to present the accompanying unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information.
Velodyne Lidar, Inc.
Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Balance Sheet
(In thousands, except share and per share data)
As of December 31, 2020
Cash and cash equivalents
Accounts receivable, net
Prepaid and other current assets
Total current assets
Property, plant and equipment, net
Intangible assets, net
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
Accrued expense and other current liabilities
Total current liabilities
Long-term tax liabilities
Other long-term liabilities
Commitments and contingencies
Additional paid-in capital
Accumulated other comprehensive loss
Total stockholders’ equity
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
Velodyne Lidar, Inc.
Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Detailed Adjusted Statement of Operations
For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
(In thousands, except per share data)
December 31, 2020
December 31, 2020
License and services