SpaceX closes second billion-dollar funding round in eight months

Updated SEC documents show that the appetites of SpaceX’s investors weren’t quite sated after a February 2021 round of funding, leading the company to expand the offering and raise another ~$300 million.

Bumping the round’s proceeds from approximately $850 million to more than $1.16 billion, the second offering means that it’s now the third time in SpaceX history that a single round of funding has brought in more than $1B. In the midst of unprecedentedly capital-intensive investments into Starlink user terminal manufacturing and satellite production and launch, as well as an extremely aggressive Starship flight test program, the latest investment is par for the course during a prolific period of fundraising at SpaceX.

Around the end of February 2021, industry reports (later confirmed by an SEC filing) stated that SpaceX – on top of allowing shareholders to sell as much as $750M back to the company – raised nearly $850M in equity funding. Aside from raising the company’s valuation to $74B at a share price just shy of $420, insiders also reported that demand for SpaceX equity soared past $6B in the single week the round was open.

Two months later, an amended SEC filing shows that SpaceX expanded that round’s offering, adding another 30 investors and $315M for a total of $1.16B. The company’s need for capital has almost certainly never been higher, making the latest bump less than surprising. In the last ~18 months, SpaceX has built and launched some 1380 operational Starlink v1.0 satellites on 23 separate Falcon 9 missions.

Based on public information, each of those launches likely costs SpaceX at least $30M including 60 Starlink satellites, an expendable Falcon upper stage, recovery fleet operations, and rocket propellant – equating to roughly $700M for all 23 operational launches. Relative to prospective competitors like OneWeb, SpaceX’s costs are almost unbelievably low, but the company still needs substantial external funding to support its ambitious launch cadence and get Starlink operational and profitable as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, SpaceX’s circa 2021 Starship program likely spends more than $100M annually on payroll alone, with at least as much going into major construction projects and prototype production as the company works towards an extraordinarily ambitious summer 2021 target for the rocket’s first orbital launch. All told, at least for the time being, SpaceX needs a ton of funding to support its ambitions beyond an already-healthy satellite, cargo, and crew launch business, and investors appear to still be frothing at the mouth to send SpaceX their money.

As of today’s SEC filing, of the $6.2 billion SpaceX has raised through 15 separate offerings spread over the last 19 years, nearly half of all that funding ($3.06B) has come from just two rounds closed in the last eight months.

SpaceX closes second billion-dollar funding round in eight months
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