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Startups

Sumitomo wins big with early bet on EV startup Rivian

Once-secretive automaker now worth almost 100 times its original value

A Rivian R1T all-electric truck in Times Square in New York on Nov. 10, the automaker's first day of trading.   © AP

TOKYO -- In the spring of 2017, a Saudi business associate made an intriguing proposal to Yoshito Miyazaki, an executive at Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp., asking if he would like to invest in an interesting electric vehicle startup together.

The target of the pitch was Rivian Automotive, which at the time was still operating in stealth mode with hardly any information to its name. The CEO of the outfit, R.J. Scaringe, maintained an especially low profile.

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