Rivian IPO Filings Show Big Losses as It Debuts Electric Truck

Sarah Favot

Favot is an award-winning journalist and adjunct instructor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She previously was an investigative and data reporter at national education news site The 74 and local news site LA School Report. She's also worked at the Los Angeles Daily News. She was a Livingston Award finalist in 2011 and holds a Master's degree in journalism from Boston University and BA from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

Rivian IPO Filings Show Big Losses as It Debuts Electric Truck

Electric vehicle startup Rivian lost about $2 billion since the start of last year, according to its IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Rivian is seen as among the leading electric vehicle startups that can rival Tesla, which sells the most electric vehicles in the U.S. by far. The company plans to trade its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol RIVN.

But despite a roster of orders, Rivian is struggling to make money in a capital-intensive car market where it built itself from the ground up.

The company lost $1.02 billion last year and another $994 million in the first half of 2021. But, it has years to catch up with its competitor Tesla, which took 18 years to become profitable.

Founded in 2009, Rivian has focused on trucks and SUVs, a large segment of the American car market, and expanded into last-mile commercial delivery vans, where it found an ally Amazon and financial backer.

Potential customers have ordered 48,390 of its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, according to the filing. The EV pickup trucks have rolled off the production lines in Normal, Illinois and deliveries have begun. The SUVs are expected to be delivered later this year.

"We do not expect to be profitable for the foreseeable future as we invest in our business, build capacity and ramp up operations," Rivian said in the filing, "and we cannot assure you that we will ever achieve or be able to maintain profitability in the future."

Rivian expects a "significant portion" of its revenue will come from Amazon, which has invested over $1.8 billion in the company, according to the filing.

In 2019, it reached an agreement with Amazon to design, develop, manufacture and supply electric last-mile delivery vans. Amazon ordered 100,000 vans by 2030, with the first 10,000 expected to be delivered this year. Amazon will have exclusive rights to the delivery vans for four years after its first order is received and it has right of first refusal to buy the vans two years after that.

Amazon's logistics unit, however, has the right to decide how many vans it will purchase from Rivian, which may be fewer than expected, the filing shows. It can also work with other companies to develop or purchase vehicles.

The EV market is attracting lots of attention as major auto manufacturers, like General Motors and Ford, are adding dozens of EVs to their lineups, while EV startups are hoping to outrival the legacy car companies.

Lawmakers are also imposing rules to help spur the growth of the EV market in the face of global climate change.

It has raised $10.5 billion from investors like Amazon and Ford, built a factory in Illinois and employs about 8,000 people globally.

The Irvine-based company's public offering was imminent as it announced in late August it had filed a draft S-1 with the SEC. At the time, Bloomberg reported it was seeking an $80 billion valuation.

In the public filing, the startup listed the size of the offering at $100 million, a placeholder that is expected to change once the terms of the share sale are decided.

"I hope you'll join us in our journey to help drive the future of transportation," Founder and CEO Robert J. Scaringe wrote in a letter to prospective investors and Rivian owners.

The offering is being led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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