SpaceX has not made a public statement regarding the $ 850 million in new funding that CNBC raised last week. A report published today with the US Securities and Exchange Commission confirms the round. SpaceX funding is said to have valued the company at around $ 74 billion, with a lunar value per share in the round at around $ 420.
Investment firm Sequoia led the sizeable increase and, according to Bloomberg, has invested a total of over $ 600 million in the Elon Musk-led space company between that round and a round in 2020. The CNBC report also said that a second sale of existing shares raised the company $ 750 million in additional capital, bringing the total new cash available for SpaceX to $ 1.6 billion – not too far away of the $ 2 billion it raised at a valuation of $ 46 billion last August.
That probably seems like a lot of money to raise in less than a year. But few companies – private or otherwise – have SpaceX’s capital needs. Although the money raised in the first part of its now nearly two decades-long existence has succeeded in building a thriving startup business, this has not slowed the speed at which large new projects with enormous up-front costs have been carried out.
SpaceX is currently rapidly building new prototypes of its Starship, a next-generation reusable rocket with a multiple load capacity of its current Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 cargo nosecone. It has flown a number of prototypes – and lost two in the process to missed landings. The company typically has at least two new prototypes under construction at a time and has been working at this pace for many months, using a highly manual production process for both the rockets and the new engines that power them.
In the meantime, Starlink is also being expanded – the global broadband Internet satellite constellation, which is to be scaled from currently over 1,000 to over 12,000 in order to achieve final, worldwide reach. To quickly scale it up and get its service operational (which it does now to select areas in North America), SpaceX has launched its own Falcon 9 rockets, each carrying 60 Starlink satellites. Since the company is a separate customer for most of these missions, they are all business expenses. Musk has estimated that Starlink will cost around $ 10 billion to fully deploy.
Both projects – Starship and Starlink – cause massive upfront costs, but also have great long-term potential. Hence the soaring evaluation as both efforts between the high altitude testing of Starship and the initial availability of Starlink services produce positive results.