From an Empty Warehouse in Michigan to Silicon Valley: The Road to Eclipse

Jiten Behl


Mar 1, 2024



Eclipse welcomes Rivian alum Jiten Behl to the team as Partner to address critical challenges within physical industries that are foundational to our society.

In my early days at Rivian — when the company consisted of just 25 employees — my daughter, a toddler at the time, asked, “Papa, what do you do for work?” That got me thinking. The simplest answer would have been, “I build and sell cars.” But in reality, that was the tip of the iceberg.  

It was hard to summarize what we were doing at Rivian. We were designing vehicles that let people explore the world responsibly, and therefore, preserving its beauty for future generations. Rivian was our attempt to ensure our children inherit a planet as magnificent as the one we've enjoyed. After mulling over my response, I said, “Papa is building a special car that will take you on adventures while being nice to nature.” I scored several brownie points right away!

Eight years after this discussion, I began to think about what comes next. How could I help other companies accomplish what we did? That is, to build something meaningful from the ground up. At Rivian, that looked like scaling employment from a handful of people in a garage to 14,000 people globally; starting with an empty warehouse to opening offices around the world, including a three million square foot manufacturing plant; transforming the company from a clean sheet to launching three different vehicles. As I thought about how I could continue to pursue my passion for building impactful businesses, one industry in particular kept popping up: venture capital. I knew one of my Rivian peers, Charly, had gone the venture route, but recognized I was a complete newcomer to the space. Thus kicked off an exploration phase that included spending a lot of time connecting with various people I respected, including my wife, mentors, colleagues, and VCs, to understand how I could potentially be a fit for the industry. Throughout all my talks about my next move, one name kept coming up: Eclipse. I consistently heard that, given my in-depth operating background and drive for building generational companies that matter, Eclipse was the clear winner.

After meeting with the Eclipse team and several of their portfolio companies, it became clear that this was where I belonged — this was the work I wanted to do and how I wanted to spend my time, the kind of founders and companies I wanted to work with, and my work directly translated to the founders and startups Eclipse invests in. My previous journey was multifaceted: we were constantly pivoting, adapting to the dynamic environment, fine-tuning our strategic roadmap, and overcoming obstacles that inevitably come with building a company from the ground up. I have seen firsthand how challenging it is to build a company that addresses a complex problem, and that is Eclipse’s ethos. The firm is at the forefront — and has been since its inception in 2015 — of addressing critical challenges within the physical industries that are foundational to our society, which is why I decided to join Eclipse as a Partner.

This was the work I wanted to do and how I wanted to spend my time, the kind of founders and companies I wanted to work with, and my work directly translated to the founders and startups Eclipse invests in.

Eclipse’s portfolio companies require a multi-dimensional, full-stack approach to their business — this means bringing together numerous variables, such as hardware, software, infrastructure, supply chain, data, and more. This level of complexity can intimidate both investors and founders. But I’ve always believed that complexity is your friend. Another way to look at it: the bigger, more complex the idea, the bigger the opportunity and subsequently, the bigger the payoff. If you can figure out the right way to piece together the technology, product, business model, and people, it creates natural competitive barriers and moats around your business. This is where I can uniquely move the needle for our founders. Through my previous experiences as an operator and as an advisor to major industrial and technology companies, I have learned how all these different dimensions of a business need to come together to create invaluable solutions for customers. I understand the transitory needs of various stages of the startup journey and how a CEO’s mindset needs to adapt at the seed stage versus Series A, Series B, and all the way through IPO. I love working with companies at the earliest stage of their big dreams. My experience and passion aligns well with the Eclipse Partners, who have deep operator experience in running businesses at companies like Tesla, Flexport, Samsara, and Apple. I'm excited to be part of transforming traditional industries and creating new companies that will shape the future economy — something that matters not just for me, but also for my children and generations to come.

The bigger, more complex the idea, the bigger the opportunity and subsequently, the bigger the payoff.

Looking Ahead

Shortly after I joined Eclipse, my daughter, now nine years old, sat next to me while I was reviewing a pitch deck and asked, “What do you do now, Papa?” This time, without hesitation, I explained to her that I am still helping to build things that will impact her life, the future of the planet, and beyond, but this time at a greater scale. Eclipse has a unique view of the world that aligns with my own and a proven ability to build companies with founders who are revolutionizing physical industries through the Industrial Evolution. We help improve the way that things are built, changing the way people can experience life — whether it be how they get from point A to point B, how they live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, how they receive medical care, and so on. Our work will pave the way for a more productive, sustainable future for the next generation. 

I’m ready to roll up my sleeves. Let’s get to work.

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