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Rivian’s IPO shows investors are still keen on venture-like risks

November 10, 2021, 4:22 PM UTC

Public market investors, it seems, are hungry for venture-like risk.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the IPO of electric vehicle maker Rivian. The company is set to go public on Wednesday after raising an eye-watering $11.9 billion, making it the largest U.S. IPO since Facebook’s in 2012. 

Yet, while Facebook (now Meta) posted revenue of $3.7 billion in the year preceding its listing with income of $1 billion, Rivian is getting a valuation of about $66.5 billion—putting it within striking range of legacy carmakers Ford ($80 billion) and General Motors ($85 billion)—with no significant revenue and a loss of $994 million for the six months ending in June. 

It’s understandable why investors feel so bullish about the company. The rise of EV company Tesla is certainly one reason. Rivian has also stood out from the crowd because it began delivering its R1T electric pickup truck in September—to positive reviews—beating out Ford, GM, and Tesla. With backing from giants Amazon and Ford, Rivian also has a sizable contract with the former to produce some 100,000 electric, last-mile delivery vehicles by 2030.

But the bottom line remains: Without an actual tally of its revenue, Rivian remains a risky bet in an industry where execution is tricky and costly (Tesla knows this well). Investors it seems are using signs of success in metrics more typically used by venture investors—and that’s the case for more than just investors of Rivian’s IPO nowadays. And while we’ll see how it works out for the stock when it hits the public markets, for now at least, public market investors seem keen on taking venture-like risk for the potential of venture-like returns—mirroring the fact that venture investors too are going earlier and earlier.

 This isn’t your grandfather’s stock market. In fact, it’s not even the same stock market from just a decade ago.

CORRECTION! Yesterday’s essay stated that Metromile combined with a SPAC led by Chamath Palihapitiya. The deal was with Insu Acquisition Corp II., a SPAC set up by Cohen & Co. Paliphapitiya led the accompanying PIPE deal.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: 
@shenlucinda
Email: 
lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- Faire Wholesale , a San Francisco-based wholesaler, is in talks to raise at a $12 billion valuation, per Bloomberg.

- Fullscript, a Canadian supplements business, raised $240 million. HGGC and Snapdragon Capital Partners invested.

- Lusha, an Israel-based sales platform, raised $205 million in Series B funding valuing it at $1.5 billion. PSG led the round and was joined by investors including ION Crossover Partners.

- Workato, a Mountain View, Calif.-based enterprise automation company, raised $200 million in Series E funding. Battery Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Insight Partners, Altimeter Capital, and Tiger Global. The deal values Workato at $5.7 billion.

- ZenBusiness, an Austin-based software maker for businesses, raised $200 million in Series C funding valuing it at $1.7 billion. Oak HC/FT led the round and was joined by investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Cathay Innovation, and Greycroft. 

- OpenWeb, a New York City-based audience relationship company, raised $150 million in Series E funding. Insight Partners and Georgian Partners led the round and were joined by investors including  Omer Cygler, Harel, and Entrée Capital.

- Kodiak Robotics, a California-based autonomous truck company, raised $125 million in Series B funding. Investors include SIP Global Partners, Muirwoods Ventures, Harpoon Ventures, StepStone Group, Gopher Asset Management, Walleye Capital, and Aliya Capital Partners.

- isaac, a Brazil-based payments, communication, and software company for schools, raised $125 million in Series B funding. General Atlantic led the round and was joined by investors including SoftBank and Kaszek.

- Level Home, a smart lock maker, raised over $100 million in Series C funding. Cox Communications led the round and was joined by investors including Walmart. It also acquired Dwelo.

- ARRIS, a Berkeley, Calif.-based manufacturing tech company, raised $88.5 million in Series C funding. XN led the round and was joined by investors including Modern Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Taiwania Capital, Bosch, Valo Ventures, and Alumni Ventures Group.

- TriEye, an Israeli startup, raised $74 million. M&G Investments and Varana Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Samsung Ventures, Tawazun SDF, Deep Insight, Allied Group, and Discount Capital.

- Sandbox VR, a San Francisco-based virtual reality company, raised $37 million in Series B funding. A16z led the round and was joined by investors including Alibaba and Craft.

- Reprise, a Boston-based enterprise company, raised $62 million in Series B funding. ICONIQ Growth led the round and was joined by investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Accomplice VC, and Glasswing Ventures.

- SafeBreach, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based breach and attack simulation cybersecurity company, raised $53.5 million in Series D funding. Sonae IM and Israel Growth Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Sands Capital and Leumi Partners.

- Threekit, a Chicago-based augmented reality company focused on e-commerce, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Leaders Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Salesforce and Shasta Ventures. 

- Knak, a Canadian company focused on marketing tech, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Insight Partners led the round.

- Darrow, an Israel-based legaltech company, raised $24 million. F2 Venture Capital, Entrée Capital, NFX, and Y-Combinator led the round.

- you.com, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based search engine platform, raised $20 million in funding. Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures led and was joined by investors including Breyer Capital, Sound Ventures, and Day One Ventures.

- AudioMob, a U.K.-based maker of in-game audio ads, raised $1 million in Series A funding at a $110 million valuation. Makers Fund and Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round.

- Mantium, a Columbus, Oh.-based language modeling startup, raised $12.8 million in seed funding. Drive Capital and Top Harvest led the round.

- Signos, a Burlingame, Calif.-based weight care startup, raised $13 million in Series A funding. GV led the round and was joined by investors including Courtside Ventures, 1984 Ventures, and Tau Ventures. 

- Momentum, a San Francisco-based sales collaboration tech maker, raised $5 million in seed funding. Basis Set Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Inovia Capital, Leadout Capital, and South Park Commons.

- Struum, a streaming bundling company, raised $7 million. Corus Entertainment led the round and was joined by investors including Gaingels.

- Ladder, an Austin-based maker of a strength training app, raised $6.5 million in seed funding. LivWell Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Keller Capital.

- Azimuth GRC, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based compliance automation company, raised $6.3 million in Series A funding. Investors include Detroit Venture Partners.

- GetCovered.io, a New York City-based insurance software company, raised $7 million in Series A funding. RET Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Updater, Pelican Ventures, and Crocker Mountain.

- Supergrain, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based data intelligence company, raised $6.8 million in seed funding led by Benchmark and was joined by investors including Base Case Capital and Operator Collective. 

- Wingback, a San Francisco-based software infrastructure company, raised $1.9 million. 42cap led the round and was joined by investors including Y Combinator.

- Constructor, a New York City-based maker of workflow management software, raised $1 million in pre-seed funding. Investors include Flybridge, Nextview, and Soma Capital.

- Abatable, a London-based carbon offsetting start-up, raised $3 million. Investors included Y-Combinator, Blue Bear Capital, Global Founders Capital, Keiki Capital, and Alumni Ventures.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Accel-KKR invested in ToolsGroup, a Boston-based supply chain planning and software business. ToolsGroup also acquired Mi9 Retail’s Demand Management business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Apollo has agreed to acquire Smart Start, a provider of alcohol monitoring solutions.

- ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VII committed $200 million to Inspiration, a Washington D.C.-based company focused on electric vehicle financing and software. 

- Blackstone will invest in Renaissance, a Wisconsin Rapids, Wi.-basd pre-K–12 educational tech company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Symphony Technology Group took a $190 million majority stake in Celtra Technologies, an automation company.

- Irradiant Partners invested $100 million in Bioenergy Devco, an Annapolis, Md.-based renewable energy and soil products maker.

- MacNeill Pride Group, a portfolio company of Centre Partners, acquired Rightline Gear, an Asheville, N.C.-based automotive and outdoor gear designer. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TA Associates invested in Insurity, a Hartford, Conn-based software for property and casualty carriers. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe acquired a majority stake in Leiters, an outsourced pharmaceutical compounding company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXIT

- Doordash (NYSE: DASH) acquired Wolt, a Finnish delivery startup, from investors including EQT for €7 billion in stock. 

- Platinum Equity acquired Solenis, a water treatment company, from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. It merged with Sigura Water, a Platinum Equity portfolio company, in a deal valued at $6.5 billion.

OTHER

- General Electric Co. will split in three: A health-care business; a renewable energy, fossil-fuel power and digital company, and business with its GE Aviation and jet-engine division.

- Unity agreed to acquire Weta Digital, a New Zealand-based VFX creator behind Avatar, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, in a deal valuing the latter at $1.6 billion. 

- DoubleVerify (NYSE: DV) agreed to acquire OpenSlate, a New York City-based brand targeting company, in a deal valuing it at $150 million.

IPO

- Sweetgreen, a Los Angeles-based salad chain, now is seeking to raise up to $312.5 million in its IPO. 

- Panera, a St. Louis, Mo.-based quick service restaurant operator behind Caribou Coffee, will go public via IPO and receive funding from USHG Acquisition, a SPAC.

- Hertz Global, a Florida-based car rental company, relisted on the Nasdaq in a deal raising $1.3 billion for shareholders.

SPAC

- springbig, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based cannabis marketing company, will go public via merger with Tuatara Capital Acquisition, a SPAC, valuing it at $500 million.

F+FS

- Beringer Capital raised $307 million from Beringer Capital Fund IV .

- Digital Horizon launched its second venture fund with a target of $200 million. 

- Circle Internet Financial launched Circle Ventures.

PEOPLE

- Costanoa Ventures added Amy Cheetham as a partner.

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