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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

Go deeper

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

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