Amazon Leads $700 Million Funding Round in Electric Truck Maker Rivian

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A rumor surfaced a few days ago that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) were considering an investment in startup electric truck maker Rivian Automotive that would value the new company at $1 billion to $2 billion. Turns out the chatter was true: Rivian announced Friday morning that Amazon led a funding round that raised $700 million in fresh capital to further develop the all-electric pickups.

Rivian did not indicate other investors in the new round except to say that they include existing shareholders. According to a company press release from last May, Standard Chartered Bank added $200 million in debt financing to the “substantial financing” from other investors, including Sumitomo and Saudi Arabian auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel. The equity investments provided about $500 million in capital, according to The New York Times.

Not mentioned among investors in Friday’s announcement was General Motors, which said this morning it was introducing an electric bicycle in Europe.

In comments made before Friday’s announcement, Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe told Bloomberg that the company was not in “dire need” of new funding thanks to the earlier investments.

Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s chief executive for Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement:

We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation. R.J. has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.

Rivian is planning on introducing two vehicles, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, both with a range of about 400 miles on a full charge. Pricing is expected to begin around $68,000.

The company employs about 700 people at its headquarters in Michigan and was founded in 2009 by Scaringe. In January 2017, Rivian purchased an idled Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal, Illinois, for $16 million. According to the Chicago Tribune, the company is expected to receive $49.2 million in tax credits from the state of Illinois over 15 years, if Rivian meets employment (1,000 new jobs by 2024) and investment targets for the plant. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2021.

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