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5 Things You Might Not Know About Rivian Founder RJ Scaringe

By Chris Katje

Electric vehicle company Rivian Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:RIVN) completed its highly anticipated IPO in November 2021. 

Rivian was founded in 2009 by RJ Scaringe, who continues to lead the company as its CEO.

Here are five things you might not know about RJ Scaringe.

1. He Always Wanted To Start Car Company: If you ask any of Scaringe’s close friends, family or former classmates, they will make it clear Scaringe had always wanted to create a car company. Scaringe loved cars at an early age and sought to leave the world in a better place, which led to creating an electric vehicle company.

“I wanted to have an impact and the highest impact approach was to build the company myself,” Scaringe said of creating an EV company.

Scaringe credits Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) with leading the way on public perception of EVs no longer being "boring and slow or glorified golf carts." 

2. Graduated From MIT: Scaringe graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The doctorate came after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Also known as RPI, the school was attended by several NHL players and former Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia.

Having a connection of attending MIT in common with Bill Ford Jr., the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), probably led to an investment from the automotive company in a heated battle pitting Ford and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) against each other.

Related Link: The Rivian IPO: What You Need To Know 

3. Free Lake House For Employees: Rivian moved many of its operations and employees to Michigan to be closer to automotive suppliers. In the move, many of the early Rivian employees made the trek from Florida to Michigan. Scaringe rented a Michigan lake house in the early days. The Rivian founder allowed the employees to stay at the lake house free of charge to work on the company’s vision.

“There’s a lot of house stories, lot of weird stories, that didn’t seem as crazy at the time,” Scaringe said.

4. Company Name: The first name given to the company Scaringe founded was Mainstream Motors. The name Rivian comes from “Indian River,” which is close to the town of Melbourne, Florida, where Scaringe grew up. Rivian has been the name of the company since 2011.

5. Ran Half Marathon With Limited Training: A half marathon is a thirteen-mile race that usually requires months of training to make sure one can finish the race. Scaringe has told the story of running a half-marathon with a woman he had a crush on. Scaringe admits he did very little training for the race. The crush from the race is now Scaringe’s wife.

The couple married in 2014 in Belleville, Michigan, and now have three children together.

Photo: Courtesy Rivian

Original publication date: November 2021.

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Dive Deeper:
Rivian promised the electric ute. Here's why Wall Street is betting on it taking on Tesla
Before yesterday, most people had never heard of Rivian. Now, the fledgling electric car maker is valued more than General…
Buzzy EV Upstart Rivian Is No. 2 U.S. Automaker By Value After Tesla
Rivian hasn’t delivered many of its intriguing new electric pickup trucks, but on its second day as a public company…
EV truck manufacturer Rivian raises nearly $12 billion in massive IPO
Rivian, the startup electric truck manufacturer, rolled out one of the biggest initial public offerings in years Wednesday, raising nearly…
Electric Vehicle Startup Rivian Hits $90 Billion Valuation In Biggest IPO Since Facebook
Rivian’s stock surged nearly 30% on its first day of trading.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Rivian: Amazon and Ford-backed electric car company becomes second-most valuable automaker in US
Company plans to produce one million vehicles per year by end of decade
Rivian benefits from markets' thirst for electric automakers
New York (AFP) - Rivian's smashing entry into Wall Street, where its value soared higher than that of the traditional…
Get all your news in one place