Shares of Houston-based robotics company Nauticus Robotics (NASDAQ:KITT) stock, which came public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in September, jumped nearly 70% on Oct. 5 after it won a Defense Department contract for amphibious robot software.
Nauticus is the brainchild of roboticist Nic Radford, who previously spent 14 years at NASA developing robots for Mars missions. The award will help Nauticus develop its autonomous command and control software platform, called ToolKITT.
Nauticus came public Sept. 15 after merging with a blank-check company called CleanTech Acquisition. The deal, announced in December 2021, originally valued Nauticus at $560 million. The market capitalization early on Oct. 5 was $272 million, with the stock still trading below its initial price of about $6.50.
In addition to the software, Nauticus also offers a robotic submarine called Aquanaut, an undersea robot called Hydronaut, and an underwater manipulator called the Olympic Arm.
The hardware business has been backed by oil service companies like Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) and TransOcean (NYSE:RIG). Nauticus also hopes to get work in offshore wind, mining and research. The hardware recently underwent a trial with Shell (NYSE:SHEL) for inspection on deep-sea oil rigs. Shell also has interests in offshore wind energy.
The SPAC deal brought nearly $250 million to Nauticus, $174.2 million from CleanTech and $73 million from a private investment in public equity (PIPE). It was one of several SPAC deals in the robotics space announced last year. Nauticus calls its strategy Robotics as a Service (RaaS).
What Happens Next for KITT Stock
Nauticus is a long-term speculation on the ocean economy and robotics. You can play it for a short-term trading profit, but the investment will take years to play out.
On the date of publication, Dana Blankenhorn did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.