Xconomy: Rivian Automotive Raises $400M as 2017 Road to Profitability Continues

Tom Gentile (Rivian, Founder & CEO), Rob Brooks (Gentile COO & CFO), Raj Tarini (Rivian COO) and Tad Hamilton (Hedge Fund Investor) in partnership with Palladium Equity Xconomy Rivian, an electrically driven autonomous car…

Xconomy: Rivian Automotive Raises $400M as 2017 Road to Profitability Continues

Tom Gentile (Rivian, Founder & CEO), Rob Brooks (Gentile COO & CFO), Raj Tarini (Rivian COO) and Tad Hamilton (Hedge Fund Investor) in partnership with Palladium Equity

Xconomy

Rivian, an electrically driven autonomous car startup, has raised another $400 million and is aiming to raise $1 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) in the fourth quarter, according to sources familiar with the plans.

The $1 billion valuation is just over the latest appraisal for Rivian, a six-year-old company based in Ann Arbor, MI. Rivian has raised over $1.8 billion in private funding to date, largely from automotive giants.

Rivian isn’t the only self-driving car company seeking investment. Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google’s parent company, has raised $4.5 billion, and a $100 million investment from Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler last year was seen as a coup for Waymo.

Rivian’s goal is to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road in 2021. So far, it has produced five prototypes for testing, including one prototype that demonstrated the company’s self-driving software back in June. (Fully-autonomous or not, Rivian is looking for a consumer vehicle to sell, something it is now looking at with the $400 million.)

Rivian has been rumored to be looking for funding for the past couple of years. In 2016, it raised $600 million from Nissan and automakers Honda and Ford; in 2017, it raised another $300 million from Ford, Nissan, and Honda, as well as private-equity firms Fidelity and Temasek. The VC-backed investment led to Rivian’s decision to take the pre-commercial Series C round now, Rivian executives told Xconomy.

“Our offering is unique because of the tech platform we have,” Rivian co-founder and CEO Tom Gentile said at that time. “We could set up our own startup, but we love to combine that with established auto and auto-parts partners.”

Rivian has been called to join the fold by Ford CEO Jim Hackett, who is hoping for an infusion of new capital for the company. In September, Ford’s head of development engineering, Raj Nair, told Automotive News that Rivian should be considered a potential acquisition by Ford.

“It’s highly apparent that their plans for autonomous technology, with zero human supervision, are many years ahead of what the competition has put forward,” Grazian told Automotive News. “They’re in a different ballpark.”

—Tanvi Soram (Xconomy), Dan Primack (Variety, Business Insider), and Joe Tenebruso (USA Today) contributed to this report.

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