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Rivian is the darling of the electric vehicle world. Rivian advertises its R1T truck and R1S SUV as tools for sustainable outdoor adventure. First, Ford invested in the company, then Amazon awarded Rivian a delivery van contract and invested too. With R1Ts set for delivery this fall, Rivian hype is at an all-time high. So it’s unsurprising that the automaker is filing for an IPO, but could it possibly be worth $80 billion? 

Rivian IPO Seeks An $80 Billion Valuation

NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 17: Rivian RT1 is on display during the New York International Auto Show on April 17, 2019 in New York, United States.  (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) | Rivian IPO: Backed By Amazon And Ford, Startup Files For $80 Billion
Rivian at an auto show | Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

According to Bloomberg, Rivian has filed a registration for an initial public offering (IPO). The registration form is a draft, and its details are confidential. But Bloomberg’s source states the Rivian IPO will set its valuation around $80 billion. Rivian said it has not decided the precise size and price range of its offering.

In July of 2021, Rivian closed a $2.5 billion round of private fundraising. Amazon and Ford were the primary investors during this recent round. Other investors included T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, Soros Fund Management, Fidelity, Coatue, and Third Point. This brings Rivians total amount raised to around $10.5 billion.

Ford and Amazon Invested Ahead of The Rivian IPO

Attendees visit the Amazon booth where a Rivian electric truck with Amazon Alexa integration is displayed, January 7, 2020, at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images) | Rivian IPO: Backed By Amazon And Ford, Startup Files For $80 Billion
Amazon displays a Rivian at an auto show | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

In 2019, Ford announced that Rivian technology would underpin blue oval electric trucks and Lincoln SUVs. Ford also made a $500 million initial investment in Rivian. Later, Ford decided to develop its own electric technology for the F-150 lightning and its SUVs. But with Rivian targeting top-trim Tacoma drivers, not F-150 drivers, Ford continued its partnership with the startup. Ford has since invested more money in Rivian, but has not disclosed the amount.

In February 2021, Amazon awarded Rivian a contract for 10,000 electric delivery vans. Jeff Bezos was so impressed with Rivian’s technology he also made a sizeable investment in the startup. Currently, Bezos owns more than ten percent of Rivian. When Bezos rode his Blue Origin rocket to space, he first rode a Rivian R1S prototype to the launch pad. His use of a Rivian was a savvy advertising move, proving he wants to see a return on his Rivian investment. His next logical step would be to push for a Rivian IPO.

Tesla Is Worth $700 Billion, Ford $53 Billion

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 26: Rihanna attends Rivian Unveils First-Ever Electric Adventure Vehicle Before Its Official Reveal At The LA Auto Show at Griffith Observatory on November 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Rivian) | Rivian IPO: Backed By Amazon And Ford, Startup Files For $80 Billion
Rihanna attends a Rivian event | Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Rivian

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In 2010, Tesla had delivered some Roadsters, but was still developing its first mass-produced model. With the brand generating excitement, Elon Musk opted for a traditional IPO on NASDAQ. The startup issued thirteen million shares at the initial price of $17 per share. Tesla’s IPO raised $226 million.

Tesla’s IPO was the first public launch of an American auto manufacturer since Ford’s 1956 IPO. Since its initial offering, Tesla’s value has grown exponentially. The electric vehicle company now has an estimated valuation of $700 billion, outstripping all other automakers. For comparison’s sake, experts give Ford a market cap of around $53 billion and put Chevrolet at $72 billion.

After the Rivian IPO, could the brand be worth $80 billion? Bloomberg admits that the actual valuation of an EV company is anyone’s guess. Rivian has yet to deliver a vehicle to a consumer or fleet and thus has no cash flow for investors to judge. But it has been slogging away at perfecting an electric truck for longer than most anyone. As a result, the brand name Rivian is becoming a buzzword, which has value as well.

What we know from Tesla is that an EV manufacturer can break all the rules. Rivian will show us whether or not lightning can strike twice.

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