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Friday Fundings: Arrival, Getaround, and Chiara Ferragni

Arrival Secures $118 Million for Electric Vans

Electric automaker Arrival got a $118 million boost from BlackRock (BLK). Arrival is working on building a 10,000 strong electric van fleet for UPS (UPS) after scoring an investment from Hyundai (HYMTF) and Kia (KIMTF) earlier this year. This new funding round will help Arrival construct what it calls “microfactories” around the United States to build its vehicles at lower costs than standard factories.

Earlier this month, Arrival announced it was building its first $46 million American microfactory in South Carolina. They’ve also already started building another factory in England, where the company is based. The South Carolina factory will employ 240 workers and should produce around 1,000 electric vehicles per year. The company’s goal is to make commercial delivery vehicles that cost the same as their gas and diesel counterparts. With BlackRock’s latest investment, Arrival has now raised around $230 million.

Car-sharing Platform Gets $140 Million Boost

Despite an early-pandemic slump, peer-to-peer car-sharing platform Getaround just raised $140 million in a new funding round. The San Francisco-based startup allows users to rent vehicles from private car owners.

Earlier this year, car rentals on Getaround dropped 75% when stay-at-home orders took effect. When car-sharing was classified as an essential service, however, revenue picked up for Getaround. Now, the company’s revenue sits at more than twice what it was before the pandemic.

The new funding, led by PeopleFund, will help Getaround expand in its existing markets. Customers can currently rent cars in 300 American and European cities. Getaround has raised $600 million in funding so far.

Italian Influencer Eyes an IPO

Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni has 21 million followers on Instagram. This star power has allowed her to work with brands like Dior, Lancôme, and many others. Ferragni also controls three companies herself. The first is Sisterhood, a marketing company, which generated 11 million euros last year. She also runs two fashion-based businesses, Serendipity and the TBS Crew, which combined brought her 20 million euros in 2019.

Ferragni is now considering bringing one or all of those companies public on Italy’s only stock exchange in Milan. While some are calling it a publicity stunt, others point to the rising popularity of influencer marketing, which has grown into a $6.5 billion market. Last year, brands devoted anywhere from 10-20% of their promotional budget to these campaigns. Icons like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner have also proven the business model can be a success. At the end of last year, Coty agreed to pay $600 million for a majority stake in Jenner’s cosmetics line.

An IPO from Ferragni wouldn’t fetch nearly that amount. If anything the 33-year-old’s group could be worth around 80 million euros using the same multiples that Prada shares currently fetch. Nevertheless, investors and followers alike will have their eyes on Ferragni if she decides to move forward and test the staying power of the influencer business model.

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