Rivian raises billions and eyes IPO

The Rivian Concept is a two-door hatchback and crossover, a car that essentially does what one would expect. It has two doors that open, like a hatchback, but also can go up and down…

Rivian raises billions and eyes IPO

The Rivian Concept is a two-door hatchback and crossover, a car that essentially does what one would expect. It has two doors that open, like a hatchback, but also can go up and down (like a crossover) like a sports car. It also has swivel doors, so it can open and close almost as much as a hatchback.

At the very end of a demonstration in Detroit last month, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe turned it into a Bumblebee-like helicopter flying around the runway on the roof of the company’s planing facility.

The company says it plans to start selling the Concept in 2023 for about $50,000.

Since 2017, it has raised more than $200 million from investors including Techstars Growth and the Chinese carmaker Chery, plus Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It claims it has also secured over $12 billion in financing.

Rivian is seeking an IPO as soon as 2019. It could raise about $50 billion, according to reports.

Scaringe thinks Rivian will do an IPO in 2020 or 2021. The initial public offering would be a very valuable step for the company, which has yet to even build a prototype car.

Scaringe and founders from the former startup crowdfunding program, Y Combinator, have plenty of fundraising experience: They raised a boatload of cash for car startup Faraday Future, but that company ran into serious financial problems before filing for bankruptcy in late 2017.

As for venture capital, it isn’t the best indicator of the strength of a company. Tesla Motors (TSLA) attracted major venture funding, but as the first American-made electric automaker since 1948 it generated an $80 billion valuation.

So far, without publicly selling stock, Rivian isn’t revealing the amount of funding it has raised, or how much cash it could have.

Its partnerships with manufacturing powerhouses like Chery and Honda (HMC) also suggest it could be worth quite a bit. So even if Rivian goes to the public markets, it could very well have the same valuation as a Tesla.

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