More than a decade ago, one audacious car-loving college graduate obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT in order to start his own car company. His name? RJ Scaringe.
With just one employee back in 2009, Scaringe managed to grow his company (previously Avera Motors) with the production of his first vehicle – a sporty electric-powered coupe. However, after years of engineering, testing and development, Scaringe had a sudden change of heart for the company’s direction and ultimately decided to dream bigger.
The outcome? A name change from Avera Motors to Rivian, a change of scenery from Rockledge, Florida to Plymouth, Michigan, and a bigger and better goal – to center itself in the Midwest and develop trucks and SUV’s. After spending much of its time and energy behind the scenes, Rivian stole the spotlight at the 2018 LA auto show, being referred to as the ‘Tesla of trucks.’ The company, since that time, has had no trouble finding investors.
Rivian Announces Funding
In 2020, the company raised a $2.5 billion round (you read that right), and most recently, the Plymouth, Michigan-based electric vehicle (EV) company announced that it raised $2.65 billion in funding led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. This round also included participation from Fidelity Management and Research Company, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners, to name a few.
This marks Rivian’s first raise in 2021 and brings the company’s total amount raised to $8 billion since the start of 2019. This also brings Rivian’s valuation to $27.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the investment round.
Rivian has not wasted any time putting the newly acquired capital to use. The company has put more than $1 billion into its factory located in Normal, Illinois for updating and expansion. According to the Rivian, the overhaul of its 3.5 million square-foot factory is on schedule, but is not yet complete. However, a pilot line is operational and is producing validation prototypes of Rivian’s R1T pickup truck daily, according to TechCrunch.
“We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2021, and with it, the exhilaration of Rivian starting to deliver its revolutionary products to customers. It is invigorating for us to continue our journey with such a talented, mission-driven team building a robust organization for the long term,” said Joe Fath, T. Rowe Price portfolio manager.
Interestingly, Rivian has developed and vertically integrated a connected electric platform that can be feasibly applied to a wide range of applications. This includes its B2C market of environmentally conscious adventure-loving customers as well the B2B market. This was music to Amazon’s ears, as their mission is to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030. In light of this, Rivian is set to fulfill an order of 100,000 last mile delivery vans for Amazon, alongside the production of its R1S and R1T (each sporting up to a 400+ miles range). All production is set to take place at its Normal, Illinois factory, with customer deliveries expected to begin this summer.
“This is a critical year for us as we are launching the R1T, the R1S and the Amazon commercial delivery vehicles. The support and confidence of our investors enables us to remain focused on these launches while simultaneously scaling our business for our next stage of growth,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe in the company’s press release.
Rivian is expected to be the among the first to bring the all-electric truck to fruition this summer. Both the R1T and R1S are currently available for preorder and include $1,000 refundable deposits.