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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

AppHarvest, a Morehead, Ky.-based developer of large-scale tomato greenhouses, is going public via a reverse merger with a SPAC called Novus Capital (Nasdaq: NOVSU). The company would have an initial market value of around $1 billion.

Why it's a BFD: This is about to be a "unicorn" based in one of America's poorest congressional districts. AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb tells Axios that the company will employ around 350 people in Morehead by year-end, and that its location allows its product to reach 75% of the continental U.S. within a one-day drive.

  • Details: The merger would include $375 million in new equity commitments from Fidelity, Inclusive Capital, and Novus Capital. AppHarvest previously raised around $160 million in VC funding firms firms like ValueAct Capital, Revolution Rise of the Rest, and Equilibrium Capital.
  • AppHarvest directors include Martha Stewart, J.D. Vance, Jeff Ubben, and Impossible Foods CFO David Lee.
  • The bottom line: “We looked at lots of ag startups, but a lot of time we found a desire to build tech for its own sake without a really good business model or understanding of how to bring the produce to market. But here they already had distribution agreements and were growing produce at scale with defensible margins.” — J.D. Vance, AppHarvest director and early investor, tells Axios

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

Tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya bets big on Medicare Advantage provider

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Conventional investor wisdom is to steer clear of next month's election, due to its inherent uncertainty and consequential volatility. But, this morning, Chamath Palihapitiya bet big on a company whose fortunes may be significantly impacted by the presidential victor.

Driving the news: Clover Health, a tech-enabled provider of Medicare Advantage plans, agreed to go public via a reverse merger with a Palihapitiya-led SPAC called Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings III (NYSE: IPOC).

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.