Rivian plans to buy back half its shares in IPO

Rivian, a Silicon Valley startup that develops and sells electric vehicles, submitted paperwork to become a public company on Thursday, a day after its initial public offering.

The number of shares will be 50 million, up from 30 million in the original filing in March. The company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FRPT.

Given the relatively small amount of common stock and $60 million in the coffers to pay for the offering, Rivian joins a growing list of startups looking to cash in on their IPOs. If all shares sell at the IPO price, the company would raise a little over $150 million, a modest sum but a good sum for the private company, especially when it’s putting some of the proceeds toward its own research.

Until now, Rivian was perhaps best known for its electric truck, the R1T, which topped 170 miles on a single charge. The $75,000 vehicle can carry about 6,200 pounds and travel about 110 miles on a single charge, and is suited for heavy industry, such as construction, mining and landscaping.

The electric truck has been recently started by industrial companies in Canada, Ohio and Canada, but some customers also plan to buy Rivian’s plug-in hybrid trucks, according to the company. (The 2018 Rivian EN1 truck is pictured below.)

The company made its roots in Silicon Valley. The first Rivian officials came to the U.S. from China in 1997 after shipping building equipment overseas to dealers in the Midwest and South. (The company has since expanded its offices from Mountain View, Calif., to Thornton, Colorado.) Rivian’s original goal was to make precision equipment to replace the millions of miles of time spent shipping heavy machinery to freight firms from around the world. Then, with its electric truck, the company joined in Detroit and had a change of mission.

In 2013, Rivian moved forward on its own schedule, getting a $175 million investment from the Chinese battery company BYD. BYD provided Rivian with the battery for the truck, which Rivian then went on to manufacture in Thornton, under a new name. The electric truck is powered by lithium-ion batteries.

At the moment, Rivian is in expansion mode. The company said that its activities are divided roughly into three segments.

Auto, motorized, electric, was the first, with the company planning to establish facilities in Ventura County, California, where it will continue to develop the electric truck. It also plans to provide products for the stationary agricultural, corporate, heavy construction and industrial truck markets. Rivian counts three of its top four investors among auto-industry companies: Chevy, the truck unit of General Motors; Nissan, its partner in electric vehicle development; and Volkswagen, which owns electric vehicle developer Faraday Future.

Electric power was the second, which will use various forms of renewable energy to provide electricity for the electric vehicle.

“Because of their electric power commitment and their commitment to renewable energy, they were actually positioned to be able to be fast movers as a result of being extremely knowledgeable about their own renewable energy supply.” said Jim Cavallo, one of the company’s directors. “They are going to be in a position to provide those standards for renewable energy to anyone.”

Lastly, Rivian wants to make electric vehicles for the military. It plans to design, develop and sell a hybrid and all-electric mobile command vehicle.

And that’s just the beginning of the potential new business for Rivian.

“We think we are going to solve some problems that have been ignored for a long time,” he said. “We’re providing a vehicle that is completely independent of the grid. There is no battery to charge. There is no plug to plug into.”

Rivian is not alone in trying to develop electric vehicles for off-the-grid or unconventional markets. Other electric vehicle startups, including Urbee and Faraday Future, have been building electric vehicles for off-the-grid or alternative energy markets, mostly in China.

“The market for distributed renewable electric vehicles is going to take off,” Cavallo said. “People are going to want vehicles that provide a meaningful advantage, but there are some very high hurdles that we think we can clear.”

By John Pulley for RocketNews24

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