Months after officially declaring bankruptcy but vowing to continue development of its mass-market solar EV, Lightyear has restarted its business as a new company with a significantly smaller team. In order to raise additional funds to continue its quest to bring affordable SEVs to the masses, Lightyear plans to auction off the few models of the Lightyear 0 that were originally built.
In the exciting by recently ill-fated segment of solar EVs, Netherlands-based startup Lightyear has been one of the most exciting to follow. Its original concept evolved into the Lightyear 0, which actually reached production for a fleeting moment in late 2022, as the company began to tease its second, more affordable model – the Lightyear 2.
Mere weeks after given a select group (including yours truly) a sneak peak of the 2 at CES in January, Lightyear suddenly declared bankruptcy relinquishing its business to a Dutch legal and tax firm. The sun appeared to had unfortunately set on the solar EV startup, who was previously touting some of the most impressive in-house technology in the segment, falling just short of delivering one of the most aerodynamic passenger vehicles ever made.
In February, however, a ray of hope shined through the dark clouds over Lightyear HQ as it vowed to restructure into a new company and continue its work. The startup stated that Individual Investors Group (IIG) let by initiator Arnoud Aalbersberg, was helping facilitate a relaunch by raising enough funding to act as a base for the new company, raising 8 million euros in a single day.
While Lightyear is by no means out of the woods yet, it has officially been reborn and will continue its fight to bring the Lightyear 2 solar EV to production. Here’s the latest.
Lightyear to auction of 0 SEVs to pay its creditors
According to a press release from the startup today, it has achieved a restructuring plan that has satisfied all parties in involved, relaunching as an entirely new company called Lightyear Technologies. Following the initial bankruptcy declaration in January, Lightyear’s parent company, Atlas Technologies Holding followed suit today – a necessary step to allow for Lightyear to be reborn as the new entity.
Through the restructuring, the startup’s IP and a separate solar panel division will become part of Lightyear Technologies, combining for a team of just about 100 employees – significantly smaller than the 600 on staff in the company’s first iteration. CEO and cofounder Lex Hoefsloot spoke to the rebirth:
I am very happy that we managed to complete the restructuring, which we believe is in the interest of the sustainable success of Lightyear, taking into account the interests of its stakeholders. The whole team and many of our stakeholders have worked hard to make this possible. I would like to explicitly thank all of them.
The new company was made possible by some Lightyear’s largest investors, including SHV, DELA, Eikenbosch Holding, Invest-NL, BOM, and LIOF in addition to IIG mentioned above. The goal now is to continue to limit damage done to creditors that led to the bankruptcy filing.
With the successful restructuring and a new round of funding, Lightyear states it can once again trek forward with a focus on the aforementioned Lightyear 2 solar EV, but it will need to raise additional funding to succeed.
In the meantime, bankruptcy administrator Reinoud van Oeijen said some of the company’s stocks will be sold in the near future and will include the sale of the few Lightyear 0 demo vehicles that were built. Later this month, there will be a special online auction to raise money to pay back the creditors. It will be preceded by a viewing day on April 19, when interested parties can come and see the solar EVs in person. Van Oeijen spoke:
We have tried to represent the interests of employees from the Netherlands and abroad as well as possible. At the same time, we also tried to limit the damage to the creditors as much as possible. This way, there was a chance of a restart.
It was a complex issue we were facing with many stakeholders. Fortunately, the restart has been achieved within a reasonable short period of time and everyone now has clarity.
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