Rivian won't even release its first electric truck until late 2020, but that isn't stopping the company from receiving its third big funding infusion this year. Cox Automotive, the company behind Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, has made a $350 million equity investment in Rivian. The publications won't play much of a role, to be clear. Rather, this is about a chance to "explore partnership opportunities" in the other areas of Cox's business, including digital retail, logistics and service ops. Cox owns companies like Manheim, which services, transports and auctions cars worldwide.
This isn't the largest capital injection Rivian has received this year. An Amazon-led round raised $700 million, while Ford poured $500 million into the company to help make a brand-new vehicle. It's still a large amount, though, and it shows how many in the tech and automotive worlds see Rivian as their great hope. It's a rare startup that both appears to have a realistic path to mainstream EV sales and the cutting edge technology needed to compete with heavyweights like Tesla. If all goes according to plan, it could offer a fast track to success for those companies that ride its coattails.