Rocket Lab raised an additional US$ 140 million to fund expansion of its launch activities and research projects
Rocket Lab, a private aerospace manufacturer and smallsat launcher headquartered in California U.S raised an additional US$ 140 million to fund expansion of its launch activities and research projects. According to Rocket Labâ€™s statement on November 15, 2018, the company closed a Series E funding round that was led by its existing investor Future Fund, a Australia-based sovereign wealth fund company. Other investors that joined the round included Greenspring Associates, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures, and K1W1. The round witnessed one new investor, Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand.
Rocket Lab had raised US$ 75 million in a Series D round in March 2017. The total funding raised by the company now stands at US$ 288 million. On November 10, 2018, the company launched â€˜Itâ€™s Business Timeâ€™ mission, which was the first commercial flight of the companyâ€™s Electron rocket after two test flights. Rocket Lab is focused on its next Electron mission for NASAâ€™s Venture Class Launch Services program that is slated for a December 2018 launch. According to a statement in October 2018, Rocket Lab has planned to build a second launch site, named Launch Complex 2, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia. Moreover, the company also gained authorization to construct additional pads at its existing Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. Morgan Bailey, the company spokesperson confirmed that Rocket Lab is focused on developing additional pads at Launch Conplex-1.
Investors stated that Rocket Lab is well positioned to acquire a major share in a growing market for smallsat launches. According to David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners, several startups are focused on replacing billion-dollar mainframes in geosynchronous orbit with constellations of cheaper, faster, and better microsats. He further stated that Rocket Lab is a major contributor for predictable, frequent, and affordable launch capability that is critical for such new ecosystem of satellites. Rocket Lab faces key competition from market players such as Virgin Orbit, owned by International Petroleum Investment Company and Virgin Group and Vector, a Tucson-based company.
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