CNBC reported that SpaceX is seeking to raise at least $1.725 billion in its first funding round for 2022, which could boost the private company’s valuation up to $127 billion.
The report marks the latest in a long line of high-profile funding rounds that SpaceX has received over the past seven years, gradually boosting its rating by more than 100 times. More likely, this round will be a fully joint venture or even an oversubscription as investors compete for a relatively rare opportunity to snap up a small slice of SpaceX – so high demand that Equidate once stated that SpaceX has access to an ‘unlimited amount of funding’ in year 2018.
Four years later, Equidate’s position and outlook are clearly prescient. After a few slow years, SpaceX’s fundraising streak ramped up in 2019 and 2020, effectively doubling the amount of funding the company had raised over its nearly two decades of operations in just two years. In the event that the latest in a long line of highly sought-after and highly oversubscribed SpaceX investment rounds, SpaceX will eventually raise among the $8.6 and $9 billion since 2015, averaging about $1.3 billion annually over the past seven years.
Most likely, the vast majority of that $9 billion went to Starlink and Starship — both of which are almost exclusively responsible for the fact that SpaceX’s valuation exceeds its annual revenue by a factor of tens. From 2010 to 2018, CEO Elon Musk stated that SpaceX invested about $1 billion to develop the reusability of the Falcon booster and more than $500 million to develop a triple-booster variant of the Falcon 9 known as the Falcon Heavy — still the most capable operational rocket in the world. the world. the world four years after its debut. It’s possible that a portion of SpaceX’s fundraising since 2015 has been directed toward primary recurring expenses over the years with few launches and relatively little revenue.
However, it is possible that most or all of the remaining $7-7.5 billion — not including a large pool of non-launch revenue from US Army and NASA contracts — went toward Starlink and Starship. In the past few years, SpaceX has built a massive factory and launch pad for the largest rocket ever built (the spacecraft) from a patch of empty land in southern Texas. SpaceX has also converted several untold buildings near Seattle, Washington into the most productive satellite factory in the history of spaceflight and is working in its own factories to produce hundreds of thousands to millions of sophisticated satellite dishes to allow millions of people to connect to the Internet through those satellites. Starlink Industrial.
Assuming an approximate marginal cost of $500,000 per satellite and $15 million per Falcon 9 launch, SpaceX could easily have spent more than $2 billion just to build and launch the 2,650 Starlink satellites launched so far. When calculating the annual salaries and overhead needed for the thousands of employees required to build those satellites and make more than 50 different Starlink launches, the true cost could be closer to $3-4 billion. Meanwhile, Starbase rapidly expanded, created an extensive new infrastructure, mass-produced about twenty different Starship tanks and prototypes, completed dozens of tests, built and tested 150-200 Raptor engines, and conducted nine major flight tests.
As of late 2021, perhaps less than 5-10% of the funding for the above activities came from US government contracts. While Starlink is still almost entirely privately funded, SpaceX’s Starship program has received a significant influx of funding and support from NASA with a $3 billion moon landing contract awarded in April 2021, but protests from two competitors mean that money from this Nodes only started arriving at SpaceX around the end of the year. In the end, it’s not hard to see why SpaceX has needed to raise capital in the past three years.