Rocket Lab announced closing a Series D financing round of $75 million (USD). The round was led by Data Collective, with additional investment from Promus Ventures and an undisclosed investor, and with renewed participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and K1W1. The closure of the round brings the total funding Rocket Lab has received to date to $148 million, with the company now valued in excess of $1 billion (USD).
"Closing this funding round comes on the heels of a big year that saw Rocket Lab finish construction on the world's first private, orbital launch site and delivery of the first Electron rocket to the site ahead of our test launch," said Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck. "The 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."
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 150 kg to a 500 km 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.
Rocket Lab's mission is to provide frequent satellite launch opportunities, which will revolutionize the ability of satellite companies to reach orbit – many of these companies currently have had assets sitting on the shelves for years, waiting for launch.
Today, Beck also welcomed Data Collective Managing Partner Matt Ocko to Rocket Lab's board of directors, joining existing members David Cowan (Bessemer Venture Partners), Sven Strohband (Khosla Ventures) and Scott Smith (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."
"It's a privilege to work with the experienced team at Rocket Lab. Launch has been the prime barrier to market entry in small satellites, and we firmly believe Rocket Lab will successfully fill this void with its proprietary technology platform, vertically-integrated supply chain and private orbital launch range," said Mike Collett of Promus Ventures.
Rocket Lab also announced the opening of a new headquarters in Huntington Beach, California. The company has had a presence in the LA area since 2013 and looks forward to expanding its engineering and business units in the 150,000-square foot facility. Rocket Lab remains committed to also growing and expanding its presence in Auckland, New Zealand, which supports Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula.