Existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and K1W1 also joined the round. The latest transaction also sees Data Collective Managing Partner Matt Ocko joining Rocket Lab’s board of directors.
Ocko commented: “Currently, small satellite companies wait years to get on orbit, often at the mercy and schedules of larger payloads. 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.”
Led by CEO and founder Peter Beck, Rocket Lab aims to provide frequent satellite launch opportunities, which will enable companies to reach orbit to offer services including optimised crop monitoring, improved weather reporting, Internet from space, natural disaster prediction, up-to-date maritime data and search and rescue services.
This latest transaction brings the equity funding that Rocket Lab has raised to date to $148 million and values it in excess of $1 billion. According to the company, proceeds from this investment will be used to expand facilities in Los Angeles and to increase rocket production.
The company will use Electron – an entirely carbon-composite vehicle that uses its 3D-printed Rutherford engines for its main propulsion system – to launch its imaging and communications satellites.
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 include NASA, Planet, Spire and Moon Express.
Beck said, “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.”