Rivian Announces "Half a Billion" in Funding, Including $200M in Debt from London-based Bank
In another interview this week, Rivian CEO and Founder RJ Scaringe announced key financial information to the public for the first time. RJ told The Verge that the company has "close to half a billion dollars" in funding.
When Rivian first announced their intent to purchase the former Mitsubishi factory in Normal in December 2016, they were met with a cloud of doubt from the public (including my own), mainly surrounding the company's secrecy. With financial backing now public and a vehicle reveal date set in stone, Bloomington-Normal residents may start to get excited about Rivian's future.
Compared to other EV Startups, Rivian is now one of the most well-funded electric vehicle startups. Lucid Motors and Byton each have raised $131M and $200M respectively. The only other EV startup with larger financial backing is Shanghai-based NIO. Founded in 2014, NIO has several massive Chinese corporations (Tencent and Baidu) and US Investors (Venture Capital Firm Sequoia) backing their ambitions to dominate the EV market in China, with a total of $2.1B raised. NIO is run by former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior and is eyeing a $2B IPO later this year. It's unclear how much funding other EV startups Faraday Future and SF Motors have been able to secure.
Included in the ~$500M in funding, Rivian is raising a $200M debt round from London’s Standard Chartered Bank. Outside of the debt round, Rivian's primary funding has come from Sumitomo Corporation of America and Abdul Latif Jameel, a Saudi Arabian automotive conglomerate. The company disclosed an investment from Sumitomo in December.
The company's Chief Commercial Officer is the former Chief Brand and Communications Officer of Abdul Latif Jameel.
The Verge insinuates that $500M isn't enough cash to bring vehicles into production, but evidence says otherwise. Let's compare to EV giant Tesla; Before Tesla IPO'd in June 2010, the company had raised just under $410M (excluding a $465M Department of Energy Loan issued under the Bush administration. Tesla paid back the loan ten years early in 2013). Instead of building their own multi-billion dollar factory, Tesla purchased a massive 5.5M SQFT former GM/Toyota plant in Fremont, CA for $42M in May 2010.
By purchasing the former-Mitsubishi factory in Normal for pennies on the dollar, $16M for a plant that would cost several billion dollars to build, Rivian is in a very similar position.
Rivian now has over 350 employees across the US. The company plans to start pilot production at their plant in Normal next year.