Rivian Automotive, the highly anticipated EV manufacturer backed by big wigs like Amazon and Ford, opened the flood gates during the kickoff of their IPO. At a market valuation of $86 billion and with shares up 29% by end of day, Rivian ended up being one of the biggest IPOs of the year.
Shares were priced at $78 pre-opening, then popped over 50% to an open of $106.75 per share. The implied valuation was $91 billion at opening, beating out the market cap of Ford at $77 billion and right now General Motors at $85 million, though Tesla is still the EV king at $1 trillion.
Even through the excitement, Rivian still has not established a full business model and expects no more than $1 million of revenue in the 1st quarter. In addition, they aren’t sure the impact of the global chip shortage and port issues on production.
Still, Amazon’s stake in Rivian is worth $17 billion as the two formed an alliance to provide EV fleet vehicles that run on renewable energy for delivery. Amazon even has exclusive rights to the battery-electric delivery vehicles for up to 4 years with an ongoing right of first refusal afterwards. Amazon’s current bill has racked up 10,000 vehicles to be delivered over the next 10 years with at least 10,000 being delivered in 2022.
Besides the fleet, Rivian’s most well-known product is its highly anticipated fully electric pickup truck R1T that has almost 56,000 preorders. They are also releasing a 7-passenger EV SUV named R1S coming in December. Rivian is looking to take on a market not-yet-tapped when it comes to EVs and focus on those who enjoy adventure, the outdoors, and off-roading vehicles. To match their market, the automaker plans to place charging stations near state or national parks, trails, campsites, and more.
A former Rivian executive accused the company of having a “toxic bro culture,” and after they terminated her employment there, she said it cost her “millions of dollars in unvested equity on the eve of the company’s IPO.” Consumers react from a similar place, comparing Rivian’s frat-style to “nerdy” GM and that their drink-of-choice would most certainly be trendy kombucha in comparison to the elegance of other EV brands like Lucid and Tesla.
Besides the jokes, one has to admit that as the EV race heats up, it allows for necessary competition in order to move markets, improve products, and employ people in a long-term, growing industry.