Space Companies and Investing
- Part of Series Science and Technology Series and Guide
- Space Investing 101
- Mapping, Geo Data, Remote Sensing
- Internet, Satellites, Broadband
- Space Infra, Launcher Companies
- VCs, Early Stage Space Companies
- Space Industry Funding
Space Investing 101
ARKX - Space ETF
Mapping, Geo Data, Remote Sensing
MAXR - Maxar - Image Data Leader
Internet, Satellites, Broadband
DirectTV and Dish
Space mobility technology provider Momentus (NASDAQ:SRAC).
OneWeb - broadband dense
OneWeb has raised more than $2 billion to fund its massive satellite network, with investments from SoftBank, Qualcomm, Airbus and Virgin.
OneWeb CEO Adrián Steckel mid 2018 revealed OneWeb plans to launch only two-thirds of the previously announced 900 satellites for its broadband internet constellation. Steckel explained that OneWeb only needs to put 600 satellites in 12 orbits, rather than 18, to get global coverage. OneWeb would focusing initially on large enterprise customers not rural – such as aviation and marine – for its broadband networks - a noted shift from OneWeb’s stated mission, which the company’s website says “is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone, connect every school on Earth, and bridge the digital divide by 2027.”
Space Infra, Launcher Companies
All companies are New
These companies are graduating and going from concept to scale
SpaceX - Musk
SpaceX has continued to push the envelope since 2012 and has accomplished more than any other aerospace company in the same time. All very efficiently with hundreds of millions instead of billions per Shuttle flight incurred by NASA!
Technologies behind SpaceX
- Reusable launcher tanks - recovered at sea.
Larger Rockets maximize energy efficiency and reuse efficiencies the larger the launchers are!
SpaceX has the heaviest rockets
- To be competitive with Saturn and Apollo but far cheaper per launch due to their reuse.
- For launching 100s of Satellites in one launch
- For trip to Mars
For Asteroid Mining capacity
Precision Landing on tail - saves heavily on recovery costs
BM$ 1 - Launchers for NASA
SpaceX has the heaviest rockets for its existing rocket business to support NASA commitments eg resupplying ISS and allowed closing out very expensive space shuttle programs.
BM$ 2 - Starlink
Starlink is its ambitious project to build an in-space-interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites to deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.
SpaceX leadership has previously estimated Starlink will cost about $10 b and can bring in revenues of $30b/year - this is expected to be 10x/year from existing rocket business.
SpaceX to date has launched more than 1,000 satellites for Starlink, while beginning to roll out early service in a public beta to customers in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
It seems it will not compete on price with urban DSL or Fiber but will target high priced eg $100/mo or higher rural services where the pricing is very high or just unavailable. SpaceX recently widened the scope of that public beta (disclosed at early Feb'2021 having 10k+ users in the USA), allowing prospective users to preorder Starlink service for $99. Preorder messages tell users that SpaceX is “targeting coverage in your area in mid to late 2021,” while other preorders say 2022.
SpaceX plans to eventually spin off Starlink and take it public. He said that Starlink “needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so.” But later on as FCF steadies, it will be spun off in an IPO "owning" assets of the 1000s of satellites.
BM$ 3 - Starship - High Volume Cargo Ships and Reverse precision landings
SpaceX is developing Starship with the goal of launching cargo and as many as 100 people at a time on missions to the moon and Mars.
SpaceX’s Starship rocket is evolving in building and testing prototypes in Boca Chica, Texas. The company has successfully launched multiple Starship prototypes, landing them safely after short flights to about 500 feet altitude.
The Starship prototypes are built of stainless steel, with the company aiming to develop a rocket system that is reusable in much the same way as a commercial airliner.
Despite the explosive endings to the last two flights, SpaceX has viewed the launches as steps forward in the rocket’s development. The next Starship prototype is in place on the company’s launchpad, with SpaceX expected to attempt another test flight in the coming weeks.
Its two most recent high-altitude flights in Jan/Feb 2021, despite passing multiple development milestones, have exploded on impact during attempted landings.
BM$ 4 - Mars Mission, Space Mining
- SpaceX has the heaviest rockets for trip to Mars and for Asteroid Mining capacity
- 2021Feb Raised money with offers for subscription over $6b!
- Raised war chest of $850m at $420/share valuing company at $74b representing a 60% jump in valuation from Aug'20
- Insiders and existing investors were able to sell an additional $750 million in a secondary transaction
- Aug'20 raised $2b at a $46b valuation
- 2018 Elon Musk predicted SpaceX stock would be valued at $420/share in a few years
- 2008 SpaceX was NASA's first signed contractor.
Blue Origin - Amazon/Bezos
Rocket company Blue Origin just completed a successful test flight of a human-capable rocket last week, and said that it is “very, very close” to flying humans on suborbital launches.
Rocket Lab - rockets
Unicorn valuation led by CEO Peter Beck
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket comes at a price tag that’s only a fraction of the $50 million or more it costs to launch a larger rocket.
The company hopes to revolutionize the industry by expanding who can send satellites into space.
Avio - rockets
Virgin Galactic - Space Tourism, SPAC funding
VCs, Early Stage Space Companies
- Raised $140 m in 2019 for Relatively Space's 3D printed rocket system
Space Industry Funding
Early State Funding creates aggressive Disruptors
Early stage investors are important in this to identify disruptors and support niche strategies.
Razor’s Edge Ventures
VC and Money Raising ramped up in 2015
- While the big ones raised billions, there are still early-stage strong deals as well, making up 72% of the total investment rounds in 2019.
Space companies have received nearly $26 billion in investments since 2009 - Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson
|Year||VC funding||No. Rounds||Notes|
|2020||? IPOs from several pure-play space companies created in the past decade|
|2019||$5.8 B||198 rounds|
|2015||Space funding really got ramped up this year!|