Exclusive: Evolv's CEO On Why Its Technology Is 'Critical' To Travel, Events Comeback

Benzinga · 03/17/2021 18:49

Evolv Technology is a provider of an artificial intelligence-enabled touchless screening system that replaces traditional metal detectors. On March 8, the company announced a merger agreement with NewHold Investment Corp. (NASDAQ:NHIC) as part of a SPAC deal that would see Evolv trade under the ticker "EVLV" after the deal closes in the second quarter.

On Wednesday, Benzinga's "SPAC Attack" show hosted Evolv CEO Peter George and NewHold Investment CEO Kevin Charlton to discuss the merger and the company's outlook.

The SPAC Process: Evolv was considering the traditional IPO route, but the "certainty to capital and timing" was critical to the company, George said.

The SPAC deal comes at a time when the world is starting to look forward to going out and traveling, and Evolv offers the only frictionless smart weapons detection technology, he said. 

The timing, efficiency and predictability of the SPAC route represented the "perfect vehicle for us," the CEO said.

On NewHold's end, the management team was on the lookout for an industrial technology company with a "defensible technology transforming an existing industry," Charlton said.

In Evolv's case, its screening system doesn't require an individual to empty their pockets or stand and wait for a scan to complete.

Most important, Evolv's platform is 10 times faster than a traditional metal detector and can cost up to 70% less.

Related Link: 'SPACs Attack' Weekly Recap: Looking Back On 5 Deals, Rumors And Headline News

The Needle In The Haystack: Evolv's AI technology lets the company identify the "needle in the haystack" in crowded lines, George said.

In a post-COVID-19 reality where 80,000 people will eventually be entering a football stadium, people can "flow right in" without standing in a long line, he said. Since the company is backed by AI software, it can add new threats "rapidly," the CEO said. 

If there is a hidden threat, the company can find it at a sports stadium, office building and even schools, George said. 

"We think our technology is absolutely critical to helping the world open up again." 

The "beauty of Evolv" is its ability to notably improve safety with zero impact on the guest experience at a very affordable cost to the venue owner, said NewHold's Charlton. 

"The market is enormous because the big opportunity is at places that don't have [any security technology] today, he said. "Evolv will make those places safe."

Evolv's Outlook: Evolv expects revenue to increase from $4.3 million in fiscal 2020 to $20.2 million in 2021, $53.1 million in 2022 and $595 million by 2025.

On NewHold's end, management was more attracted to the fact that Evolv is "significantly" profitable today with a growing total addressable market that might be bigger than expected, Charlton said. 

"We feel pretty excited about the projections." 

NHIC Price Action: NewHold shares were up 1.45% at $10.50 at last check Wednesday.