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US$75M funding boost for Rocket Lab


US$75M funding boost for Rocket Lab

Aerospace company Rocket Lab today announced it had secured further funding of US$75 million. The funding was led by venture capital firm Data Collective, with additional investment from Promus Ventures.

Rocket Lab also attracted reinvestment from Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and Sir Stephen Tindall’s investment firm K1W1. The Series D funding round increased Rocket Lab’s total level of investment to US$148 million. The company is now valued at more than US$1 billion.

Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck says the funding comes on the heels of a big year.

“We finished construction on the world’s first private, orbital launch site in Hawke’s Bay and we’ve delivered the first Electron rocket to the site ahead of our coming test launch.”

“The new funding will enable us to scale up production of Electron to meet the continued high demand we’re seeing from the growing small-satellite industry,” he says.

Rocket Lab’s mission is to provide frequent satellite launch opportunities, which will revolutionise the ability of satellite companies to reach orbit. Many companies currently wait for several years for a launch.

Today, Beck also welcomed Data Collective Managing Partner Matt Ocko to Rocket Lab’s Board of Directors, joining existing members David Cowan from Bessemer Venture Partners, Sven Strohband from Khosla Ventures, and Scott Smith and Iridium Satellites.

“Currently, small satellite companies wait years to get on orbit, often at the mercy and schedules of larger payloads – and at extortionate costs,” said Matt Ocko of Data Collective. “With Rocket Lab, this huge backlog now has access to a high-frequency, quality launch service that will take customers where they want to go, when they want to fly. The commercial and humanitarian applications this will open up are endless, and it should unleash a torrent of financing for space innovation.”

Sir Stephen Tindall, a Rocket Lab investor since 2013, says he sees Beck as an inspired innovator who is pioneering a new path for industry in New Zealand.

“With my investments, I look at them and ask ‘how much would it contribute to the economy and the employment of New Zealanders?’. Rocket Lab ticks all the boxes."

Today also marks Rocket Lab’s move into a new Los Angeles facility, where the company has been headquartred since 2013. To meet demand, the American-New Zealand company is expanding its engineering and business units in both the United States and New Zealand.

Rocket Lab also recently acquired two additional buildings in Auckland and is actively recruiting in Mahia, Auckland and Los Angeles for a range of technical and business roles.

Rocket Lab expects to run a series of test launches from Mahia Peninsula this year.

About the Electron Launch Vehicle
Rocket Lab will use Electron to launch imaging and communications satellites. Rocket Lab’s customers use these satellites to provide services including optimized crop monitoring, improved weather reporting, Internet from space, natural disaster prediction, up-to-date maritime data and search and rescue services.

Electron is an entirely carbon-composite vehicle that uses Rocket Lab’s 3D-printed Rutherford engines for its main propulsion system. Electron is capable of delivering payloads of up to 150kg to a 500km sun-synchronous orbit – the target range for the high-growth constellation-satellite market. Customers signed to fly on Electron include NASA, Planet, Spire and Moon Express.

ends

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