Former Rivian VP Claims EV Startup's 'Boys Club' Resulted in Gender Discrimination

Zac Estrada

Zac Estrada is a reporter covering transportation, technology and policy. A former reporter for The Verge and Jalopnik, his work has also appeared in Automobile Magazine, Autoweek, Pacific Standard, and BLAC Detroit. A native of Southern California, he is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. You can find him on Twitter at @zacestrada.

Former Rivian VP Claims EV Startup's 'Boys Club' Resulted in Gender Discrimination

A former executive at Amazon-backed Rivian that called the company a boy's club and accused the founder of creating a bro culture has filed a lawsuit accusing the Irvine-based electric truck company of gender discrimination.

The suit filed in a California Superior Court in Orange County and first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes as the electric car company is set to go public next week with a $55 billion valuation.

Laura Schwab, the previous VP of Sales and Marketing at Rivian, said Thursday in a post on Medium that she was ignored by male colleagues, shut out of meetings and dismissed after reporting the problem to human resources.

The lawsuit was not publically available as of publication, but in her post she alleges she was fired in retaliation two days after going to HR with a discrimination complaint. She said the Chief Operating Officer would not communicate with her.

Rivian said it could not comment due to the quiet period imposed ahead of the IPO.

In the article titled "Life Outside the Boys Club: Why I spoke Up About Rivian's Toxic Bro Culture and Got Fired" she said the culture at Rivian was unlike anything she had seen in her two decade career in the auto industry.

"Time and time again, I raised concerns regarding vehicle pricing and manufacturing deadlines, but no one listened, even though I have extensive experience launching and pricing vehicles," she wrote in the post. "It wasn't until my (often less experienced) male colleagues raised the exact same ideas that the Chief Commercial Officer would respond."

Formerly of Jaguar Land Rover North America and most recently the president of Irvine-based Aston Martin North America, Schawb joined Rivian in November 2020 with promises that her voice would be an important part of the company.

At the time, Rivian had little sales infrastructure in place to get their EVs to customers on schedule, Schwab said, arguing that she was on the ground floor of those operations. The company's first vehicles were delivered in September.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Schwab was fired as part of company restructuring, but no other executives were terminated at that time for that reason.

Schwab said in the post Rivian's culture was crafted by its founder R.J. Scaringe, who built a team of tight-knit men who didn't listen to outsiders.

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Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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