Dec 23, 2019

Rivian hauls in a $1.3 billion fundraising round

Rivian's distinctive R2S electric sport utility. (Photo courtesy of Rivian)

Electric truck startup Rivian capped off a remarkable fundraising year by announcing its largest round yet on Monday — a $1.3 billion investment led by T. Rowe Price, Amazon, Ford and BlackRock.

Why it matters: Rivian's cool-looking pickup truck and SUV prototypes grab attention as potential rivals to Tesla, but it's the automaker's decision to share its underlying technology — a versatile electric "skateboard" chassis — that has investors excited about the company's potential.

  • Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans based on Rivian's platform and Ford is reportedly planning a future Lincoln SUV based on it.
  • Rivian's business-to-business play sets it apart from Tesla and the sea of other electric vehicle companies trying to get off the ground.
  • In an Axios interview last year, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said the "skateboard" could be modified to suit many types of vehicles — as well as things like jet skis or snowmobiles.
  • The platform, which includes the electric motor, batteries and controls, will also include automated driving technology in the future, he said.

The big picture: Rivian has built a ton of momentum since bursting on the scene in 2018. The latest investment is its fourth this year.

  • In February, it raised $700 million, led by Amazon, which announced its electric van order in September.
  • In April, Ford invested $500 million and said the companies would collaborate on a vehicle project utilizing Rivian’s "skateboard" platform. Ford is also expected to lend its manufacturing expertise as Rivian begins production at a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Ill., in 2020.
  • In September, Cox Automotive, a technology tech and data company, invested $350 million in Rivian. It wants to collaborate on new approaches to logistics, service and digital retailing.

What they're saying: "This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy — we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders," Scaringe said in a statement Monday.

What to watch: Rivian's models, the R1T pickup and R1S utility, will deliver up to 410 miles of range and cost around $70,000. Production is slated to begin in 2020.

Go deeper: Rivian has a two-part strategy for success

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