The money will come in the form of convertible debt, loans that can be turned into equity upon a future financing round. Companies that raise convertible debt avoid setting a valuation on the company.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, said Sunday Tesla would use the new cash to speed up manufacturing of the Roadster. Tesla has delivered some 50 Roadsters, which sell for $109,000, and is now shipping 10 per week. Another 1,200 have been ordered.
Almost all the current major investors in Tesla will participate in the fundraising round. Tesla has not disclosed which investors are contributing, but past investors include Mr. Musk, who founded PayPal; Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founders; Jeff Skoll, former eBay president and venture firms VantagePoint Venture Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Tesla has previously raised $146 million.
The vast majority of the commitments were made during a meeting Sunday morning, and a small number of investors are expected to commit within the next few days. The round is expected to close within 30 days.
The money comes during a difficult period for Tesla. On Oct. 15, Mr. Musk, its biggest investor, replaced Ze’ev Drori as chief executive. The company announced it would lay off 87 workers, 24 percent of its staff, and delay production of its Model S sedan. It also shelved plans to raise $100 million, citing the financial crisis.
In an interview with The New York Times on Oct. 24, Mr. Musk said Tesla would raise a smaller round — the financing announced Sunday — and wait for low-interest loans from the Department of Energy, scheduled to arrive in six to eight months. Those loans are reportedly worth around $200 million. He said he plans to raise another $50 million next year."