Five Things You Should Know About Rivian’s Massive IPO

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Five Things You Should Know About Rivian’s Massive IPO

Rivian, the electric vehicle maker backed by Amazon and Ford, raised nearly $12 billion in its closely watched IPO on Wednesday. Trading is slated to kick off shortly, and shares have been priced at $78, above the earlier $72-to-$74 range set by the company.

With hardly any revenue, big losses, and a waiting list that stretches to the end of 2023, here are five things you should know about the Irvine-based company, as its implied valuation tops $77 billion.


Rivian's Future Is Linked to Amazon, For Now

Amazon owns nearly a quarter of Rivian and is its biggest investor, so the conglomerate stood to gain the most from the blockbuster IPO.

Amazon is also Rivian's largest known customer. Rivian's plan to deliver 10,000 electric delivery vans to Amazon by the end of 2022 is a driving force behind the young company's huge valuation. But Rivian's dependence on Amazon could lessen by 2023, when it says it will start selling its electric vans to other firms.

In the meantime, those vans are a key element of Amazon's decarbonization efforts. Amazon has promised to become net carbon neutral by 2040.

Ford Nearly Missed Out

Ford had to jostle rival GM out of the way to snap up its 12% stake in Rivian, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Troubled by Tesla's rise, Ford sought to invest in the young EV company, but a poor earnings report — and competing interest from GM — almost derailed its plans. Talks between the automakers reportedly culminated in Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe dashing out of Ford's private jet into an SUV to avoid being seen by GM executives while talks were still ongoing.

Rivian's "Toxic Bro Culture"

Former Rivian VP of Sales and Marketing Laura Schwab is suing the company for gender discrimination. In a post on Medium, Schwab accused Rivian of firing her for speaking out to human resources.

"Rivian publicly boasts about its culture, so it was a crushing blow when I joined the company and almost immediately experienced a toxic bro culture that marginalizes women and contributes to the company making mistakes," Schwab wrote.

Rivian declined an earlier request for comment on the matter.

Big Losses

The electric vehicle maker recently said it expected to report net losses as high as $1.28 billion for its third quarter. While sharing preliminary results, the company blamed its heightened losses on "significant labor and overhead costs for our manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois."

And Rivian isn't yet making up for it with booming sales. At the high end, Rivian estimated it brought in $1 million in revenue for the same quarter.

A Long Waiting List

Shoppers in the market for a Rivian electric truck or SUV may have to wait a couple years. The company repeatedly delayed the release of its first vehicle, and its backlog of about 55,400 pre-orders now stretches to the end of 2023, according to a regulatory filing.

Rivian is reportedly producing its R1T trucks, which start at $67,500 with an estimated 314-mile range, at a "trickle," per Bloomberg. And Rivian's R1S SUVs, which start at $70,000 with an estimated 316-mile range, do not appear to be in production quite yet.

This post was updated on November 10 with the latest info on Rivian's IPO.

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