SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has responded, stating that it is “incorrect” to say that the company is seeking to double its valuation with a new round of funding.
Broken by Business Insider, SpaceX was said to be working with investors to close another round of funding sometime in early 2021 with the intention of growing its valuation from around $46 billion to $92 billion or more. Bloomberg reiterated BI’s reporting not long after. According to Musk, however, that’s incorrect. The CEO didn’t specify the error, meaning that SpaceX is probably pursuing more funding – a never-ending process – but isn’t trying to double its valuation and share price in a single round.
Business Insider reports that SpaceX is hard at work securing another massive round of funding on the promise of Starlink and Starship just months after raising almost $2 billion.
Aside from raising a truly massive amount of capital, SpaceX’s primary goal, according to BI, is to double its valuation from some $46 billion to $92 billion.
In the history of “unicorn” startups, generally referring to primarily venture capital-funded private technology companies worth more than $1 billion, doubling valuation with a single funding round is rare – particularly in the few private startups worth more than $10 billion. Typically, in large unicorns, nothing short of a highly successful stock market IPO is capable of doubling a company’s valuation.
In SpaceX’s own prolific fundraising history, the company has occasionally pulled off similar feats. In a 2015 funding round led by Google and Fidelity, SpaceX’s valuation exploded tenfold from ~$1 billion to more than $10 billion. Closed in 2017, the company’s next funding round again pulled off a valuation multiplication, leaping from $10.1 billion to $21.3 billion. However, of the seven additional rounds completed since then, ranging from $214 million to $1.9 billion, SpaceX’s valuation has never jumped by more than ~28%.
In the wild and wacky world of private startup valuation, SpaceX could technically sell a single share for ~$500 – twice the current price of ~$250 – and retroactively raise the price of all outstanding shares. Doubling an already massive valuation on a low-volume equity sale would not exactly inspire confidence, however, and SpaceX has no obvious reason not to shoot for the stars given the company’s massive $1.9 billion Series N windfall just four months ago.
As has been the case for several years, now, SpaceX is most likely pitching investors on the potentially extraordinary promise of its Starlink and Starship programs, both of which could easily grow the company’s annual revenue by one or several magnitudes. In just 13 months, SpaceX has launched some 875 operational Starlink satellites, built and tested a dozen full-scale Starship prototypes, hopped two of those rockets to 150m (~500 ft), and flown one to 12.5 km (~7.8 mi). The company is also on track to launch an unprecedented 26 times in 2020 alone, 14 of which were Starlink missions.
As such, while a twofold, $46-billion leap in valuation is extraordinarily outlandish, SpaceX is perhaps the one private company in the world that can actually point to a track record of success and potential sources of growth that might warrant it. Stay tuned for details as they begin to trickle out.