Another Big Round of Venture Funding for Rivian

2019 has been a very good year for electric vehicle maker Rivian. The company had raised about $1.55 billion in new cash by September, and on Monday it announced a new round totaling another $1.3 billion. Tooling up for production and first deliveries by the end of 2020 will bleed a lot of cash and Rivian is going into a crunch year with a nice wad of it. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and auto industry analyst firm Cox Automotive invested $700 million (Amazon-led round), $500 million and $350 million, respectively, earlier this year. On Monday, Amazon and Ford joined T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (NASDAQ: TROW) and funds managed by BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BK) in another round that raised $1.3 billion in fresh cash.

Amazon has ordered 100,000 delivery vans from Rivian for delivery by 2024 and Ford plans to use Rivian’s “skateboard” platform as the basis for an all-electric Lincoln SUV expected to be ready by 2022.

Rivian said that no new board seats were added following the new funding round.

CEO and founder RJ Scaringe commented:

This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy – we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders.

Rivian 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.

Ford has also announced plans to electrify its best-selling F-150 pickup, and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) also plans an all-electric pickup for late next year. Then, of course, there’s Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and its Cybertruck.

That’s a crowded field of wannabe-firsters in a sector of the auto industry where there’s not a lot of demonstrated interest in all-electric vehicles.