Electric vehicle startup Rivian is now a publicly traded company after making one of the largest initial public offerings in history. Rivian’s shares began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange on Wednesday at around $ 78 per share. This gave Rivian an overall valuation of nearly $ 80 billion and helped him free up $ 12 billion in new money, despite the fact that he had only just started manufacturing and shipping his first pickup trucks. electric.

It is the sixth-largest IPO ever on a U.S. stock exchange, according to Bloomberg, and it’s hard to imagine the company picking a better time to debut. Tesla has sparked incredible interest in electric vehicles and is today one of the most valued companies in the world. Public markets have also seen an outrageous run in recent years – a run that has been supercharged for the past 18 months by an influx of retail traders and a boom in electric vehicle companies going public.

Rivian, who has a stable CEO and founder and relatively modest goals for the next few years, might be a good test of all that hype. He received just over 55,000 pre-orders for his expensive electric pickup truck (the R1T) and SUV (the R1S) and said he wouldn’t be able to deliver all of that until the end of 2023. Where have gone other public EV startups with big promises of near-term growth, Rivian has been very cautious in the few estimates he has offered for the next few years and instead stressed that he will focus largely on manufacturing vans for the next few years. Amazon, which owns around 20%. of the startup.

And yet, Rivian’s shares jumped to $ 106 when they started trading on the Nasdaq on Wednesday and climbed from there, taking the company’s valuation well above $ 100 billion, that’s more than any other automaker on the planet except Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and BYD of China.

Rivian’s tantalizing valuation will likely reinforce lazy comparisons to Tesla, despite the startup starting production at a time when there is a noticeable desire for electric vehicles – which was not the case when Tesla first started. at least. And while many will likely view Rivian’s valuation as a prime example of the heat of the stock market, at least one historic automaker has already tried to argue that it is justified: General Motors CEO Mary Barra has said on Wednesday that Rivian’s valuation proves older automakers are “so undervalued.” (GM nearly struck a deal to become a major investor in Rivian in 2019 before the startup pulled out and took money from crosstown rival Ford.)

Either way, the booming debut is sure to attract a lot of attention to the startup and its electric vehicles. He also provided Rivian with a crucial boon, as he is in need of a parcel money to grow – and survive – in the notoriously money-hungry auto industry. Rivian lost $ 994 million in the first six months of 2021 and has said in regulatory documents that he plans to spend an additional $ 8 billion by the end of 2023.

The startup wants to make up to 1 million vehicles per year by 2030 and says it will have all three different vehicles in production by the end of this year. She plans to sell undelivered versions of her pickup truck to other customers over the next two years. She is even looking for a location to build a second factory in addition to the one she operates in Normal, Illinois. And it already carries a workforce of nearly 10,000 employees.

Originally founded in 2009, Rivian has spent nearly a decade operating in stealth mode. CEO and founder RJ Scaringe initially wanted to create an electric sports car more or less similar to the Tesla Roadster. But he canceled that plan along the way and steered the company towards developing an electric pickup truck and SUV. The R1T and R1S, as they are called respectively, debuted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Rivian’s profile began to take off soon after. In early 2019, he announced a $ 700 million funding round led by Amazon, followed by a $ 500 million investment from Ford. Later that year, Amazon announced that it was helping Rivian develop an electric delivery van and ordering 100,000 from the startup, marking what would be the largest electric vehicle purchase in history.

Now, with its vans starting to hit the road and the van and SUV soon to follow, Rivian has become something that is still rare in the industry: a publicly traded EV company with real vehicles for sale. That’s something startups like Faraday Future, Canoo, Fisker Inc., Lordstown Motors and Nikola – all of which went public in the last year and a half – are still months away from being able to say.


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