Seven takeaways from Rivian’s IPO filing

Vivian, the electric car company backed by Amazon, Ford, and a slew of institutional investors like T. Rowe Price Associates and Coatue, has finally made its once-secret IPO filing public. The company, which began as Mainstream Motors in 2009 before changing its name to Rivian two years later, has grown rapidly in terms of employees, investors, and partners in recent years. Rivian kept the prototypes of its all-electric R1T truck and R1S SUV under wraps for years until revealing them at the LA Auto Show in late 2018. Rivian has funded over $11 billion since then ($10.5 billion of which was raised in 2019); enlarged its Normal, Illinois, facility; hired hundreds of personnel; secured Amazon as a commercial customer; and, most recently, filed for an IPO on a confidential basis.

The corporation’s S-1 now reveals more information about the company and its operations. Rivian technically based in Southern California, according to its IPO filing, a feature that, unbelievably, was not so evident a few months ago. Plymouth, Michigan was previously listed as the company’s headquarters. Rivian employed 6,274 employees in the United States, Canada, and Europe as of June 30, 2021, according to its report. More recently, the company told TechCrunch that it now employs more than 8,000 employees, indicating that its expansion is growing. Rivian has locations in Palo Alto and Irvine, California, as well as Arizona, Vancouver, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, in addition to the Illinois manufacturing and Plymouth headquarters.

According to media sources, the corporation could aim for an initial public offering worth up to $80 billion.

Certainly, a number of backers are hoping that the number — which tossed about today as pre-IPO price numbers typically are in startups with a lot of media attention — becomes a reality. Now that we have processed the news, the TechCrunch team has taken a first look at the company’s IPO file, looking for subtleties, jewels, and potential difficulties.

So, let us talk about how expensive it is to build an electric vehicle company, why market size estimates are nonsense, and what kind of voting structure Rivian plans to use after its initial public offering, how Amazon is both a blessing and a curse for the company, why services are important, and where Tesla comes up.

People like to assert that starting and growing a business is now cheaper and easier than ever. They are referring to pure-play software firms. Building an electric vehicle firm is still extremely difficult and expensive.

The enormous amount of capital rose by Rivian when it was still private, merely to get to the stage where it could start manufacturing automobiles, evidence of that fact. However, the income statements included in the company’s S-1 filing are perhaps more indicative of the concept. The company’s operating figures for 2019, 2020, and the first two quarters of both this year and last year shown below, No, we did not omit the revenue line in the above graph by accident. It doesn’t exist because Rivian has virtually no past revenues to declare; this makes sense given that Rivian is only now beginning to deploy the first R1T trucks to customers (yay! revenue!). There is a smidgeon of revenue under the interest area, but that is it; Rivian has only made money so far by possessing many cash, some of which yielded a pitiful return.