Amazon leads $700M round in electric automaker Rivian

Rivian, the electric automaker that debut its first two vehicles just three months ago, has raised $700 million in a round led by Amazon .

The news follows a report earlier this week by Reuters that GM and Amazon were in talks to invest in the electric vehicle company.

“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke said in a statement. “RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.”

Rivian says it will remain an independent company. The equity round also includes participation from existing shareholders. Rivian and Amazon are not disclosing additional details about this investment.

Rivian is a curious company that has spent the majority of its life in the shadows. Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe launched it as Mainstream Motors in 2009. By 2011, the name changed to Rivian and moved out of Florida. Today, the company has more than 600 employees split between four development locations in the U.S. and an office in the UK. The bulk of its employees are in Michigan to be close to an expansive automotive supply chain.

The company also has operations in San Jose, California and in Irvine, California, where engineers are working on autonomous vehicle technology. Rivian purchased in 2017 the Normal, Ill. factory, which was where Mitsubishi in a joint venture with Chrysler Corporation called Diamond-Star Motors produced the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser and Dodge Avenger, among others.

While Rivian had been active the past several years, it’s big public debut came at the LA Auto Show in November when it revealed its all-electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV.  Deliveries of these vehicles, which use a flexible skateboard platform, are expected to begin in late 2020.