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Rivian files to go public at up to a reported $80 billion valuation

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Bucking the SPAC trend with a traditional IPO

Image: Rivian

Buzzy (and extremely well-funded) EV startup Rivian has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. Rivian will be doing a traditional initial public offering, bucking the recent trend of electric vehicles going public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

The company, which is backed by Amazon and Ford, announced that it submitted a draft registration statement for the IPO in a press release. The draft will initially remain confidential, though Bloomberg has reported that Rivian is seeking a valuation as high as $80 billion. The IPO date is expected to be sometime before the end of this year. When it happens, Rivian will add to a fundraising war chest that is already over $10 billion.

Rivian’s IPO filing comes as the startup is set to finally deliver its first vehicle: the R1T electric pickup truck. Originally revealed at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the R1T has been hit with multiple delays. Rivian’s second vehicle, an electric SUV known as the R1S, is supposed to follow soon after. Rivian is also developing electric delivery vans for Amazon, which owns at least 10 percent of the company following its investments.

Rivian bucking the SPAC trend fits the company’s longstanding pattern of zigging where other EV startups have zagged. While many of its peers (like Faraday Future, Byton, and Nio) emerged in the mid 2010s with splashy announcements and exorbitant spending, Rivian was founded in 2009 and stayed in stealth mode until 2018. Instead of trying to build its own factory, it bought an existing one and repurposed it (though it is now reportedly interested in building a second factory from scratch). Rivian spent a lot of time crafting a brand, too, instead of focusing solely on the technology it has been developing.

All told, it was an unusually methodical approach for an EV startup, but one that helped Rivian court big name investors and strategic partners along the way, setting it up for a big IPO that is now closer than ever.