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Rivian files for what could be the 4th-largest IPO of the decade

The EV maker is seeking to raise $8 billion for an $80 billion valuation

Rivian's R1T is the first electric pickup ever on the market (Photo: Rivian)

Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian confirmed Friday it has filed paperwork for an initial public offering, aiming to sell on the Nasdaq under the symbol “RIVN.” The placeholder value of the IPO is $100 million. 

The public capital raise is being led by a syndicate that includes power players Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

According to the filing, the EV maker is still far from profitable, losing $994 million in the first six months of 2021 and over $1 billion in 2020.

“We are a growth stage company with a history of losses and expect to incur significant expenses and continuing losses for the foreseeable future,” the company said.

But that hasn’t quelled Rivian’s ambition. The company says it plans to raise $8 billion in the IPO, which would make it the fourth-largest U.S. IPO of the last decade behind a few familiar faces – Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) with $25 billion in 2014, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) with $16 billion in 2012 and Uber (NYSE: UBER) with $8.1 billion in 2019.

The California-based company is among the country’s most strongly funded startups, having raised more than $10.5 billion since the start of 2019 from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), T Rowe Price Group (NASDAQ: TROW) and Fidelity (NYSE: FNF), among others. With a loaded arsenal of huge backers, Rivian is seeking a valuation of $80 billion for its IPO.

“We intend to use the net proceeds we receive from this offering for working capital to fund growth and other general corporate purposes, which may include research and development, sales and general administrative matters and capital expenditures,” the filing states. “We may also use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire or make investments in businesses, products, offerings, and technologies, although we do not have agreements or commitments for any material acquisitions or investments at this time.”

Read: Rivian for the win: Electric-vehicle maker targets $8B IPO windfall

Read: Breaking: Amazon-backed Rivian files for $80B IPO

Rivian’s R1T recently beat out rival automakers Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), GM (NYSE: GM) and Ford as the first electric pickup on the market. And in the fall of 2019, it took part in the largest EV order ever, when Amazon bought up 100,000 of its delivery vehicles.

According to the filing, Rivian has granted Amazon “certain exclusivity and first refusal rights” to purchase its EVs over the next four years. If Amazon fails to order at least 10,000 vehicles in consecutive calendar years, Rivian could withdraw from the agreement and force Amazon to reimburse those costs.

Rivian’s R1T is a pickup truck with a range of more than 300 miles at launch, with a 400-plus range model to follow in January. Its 0-to-60 mph time is as quick as three seconds depending on tire selection, and it can tow up to 11,000 pounds (with a 50% reduction in range at max towing).

In the filing, Rivian also announced plans to launch the R1S – a seven-seat sport utility vehicle also with a 300-plus mile range and up to 7,700 pounds of towing capability – in December.

“In the consumer market, we launched the R1 platform with our first generation of consumer vehicle, the R1T, a two-row five-passenger pickup truck, and plan to launch the R1S, a three-row seven-passenger SUV, in December 2021,” Rivian said. “The R1T and R1S are equipped with a proprietary set of advanced technology systems, including vehicle electronics, battery, electric drive, chassis, Driver+, and digital user experience management. These technologies can continuously improve and expand functionality through cloud-enabled OTA updates.”

Rivian is also in talks with officials in Fort Worth, Texas, and Mesa, Arizona, about building a $5 billion factory that would produce 200,000 vehicles a year to complement its 2.6-million-square-foot factory in Normal, Illinois. Currently, the company operates six service centers in California, Illinois, Washington and New York, with an additional 11 mobile service vehicles capable of driving to a customer’s home to perform repairs.

“Rivian is in discussions with multiple locations as part of a competitive process for siting a second manufacturing facility. This may include Rivian being involved in certain public-facing processes at potential locations. Involvement in these processes does not indicate a final decision,” Jim Chen, vice president of public policy for Rivian, said in an email to FreightWaves in August.

Amazon began testing Rivian vans in March in the San Francisco area. The vans, which feature a 150-mile range on a single charge, three levels of shelving with a bulkhead door that can be opened and closed for additional driver protection while on the road, and a suite of highway and traffic assist technologies, are being driven by Amazon employees.

Amazon expects to have 10,000 Rivian vans on the road by 2022 and the full 100,000 order by 2030.

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Jack Daleo

Jack Daleo is a staff writer for Flying Magazine covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel — and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.