Since coming out of stealth mode last year, Michigan-based EV startup Rivian has announced big investments from Amazon and Ford. At the same time, the startup has more than doubled in size since last spring, and now employs 750 people. The startup has hired dozens of employees from Ford, McLaren, and Tesla, according to hundreds of LinkedIn profiles viewed by The Verge, though the biggest contributor is a fizzling would-be rival, Faraday Future. Rivian has hired about 50 former Faraday Future employees, including at least 34 since the struggling startup put workers on furlough late last year.
In addition, The Verge has learned Rivian recently appointed its first chief technology officer: Mike Bell, a longtime Apple VP who helped bring the iPhone into the world.
The hirings show that the race to bring the first long-range electric pickup truck to market is heating up. Rivian appears to be making a concerted effort to beat companies like Ford, Tesla, and GM to market. Part of that, of course, means hiring away their experts.
Michael McHale, Rivian’s director of corporate communications, confirmed Bell’s hiring to The Verge. As for the rest of the hires, McHale said Rivian is going through the “natural hiring process and is always looking for people with the right skills.”
Founded in 2009, Rivian spent nearly a decade in radio silence until last spring. It was only then that Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe started laying out his goals for the startup. He wants to create electric vehicles with vast range and performance that make them capable of handling tough off-road situations, while infusing them with high-end design and technology.
The slow drip of information continued until November, when Rivian debuted its luxury electric pickup truck and SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicles, which start around $70,000, were warmly received. Then, in February, Rivian announced Amazon was leading a $700 million investment in the startup. Two months later, Ford announced it was also investing $500 million, and that Rivian would provide the technological platform for a fut
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