Jan 4, 2023
Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp, popularly known as SpaceX, is currently seeking a new round of investing where it has been valued at $137 billion, CNBC reported. Venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, also an early investor in SpaceX, is leading this round, where an investment of $750 million is expected.
Founded in 2002 with an aim to reduce the costs associated with space launches and setting up a colony on Mars, SpaceX has become a workhorse for NASA ferrying cargo and passengers to the International Space Station and is now also tasked with the responsibility to land humans on the Moon and get them back to lunar orbit under the Artemis Program.
Elon Musk owns 47.4 percent equity in the company through his Elon Musk Trust and enjoys 78.3 percent voting control at the company where he has assigned himself the roles of the Chairman, CEO as well as CTO. Under Musk's leadership, SpaceX has become a major force in the space and communications industry and employs over 12,000 people.
The Rise of SpaceX
SpaceX first caught global attention when it began developing the Falcon 9, a heavier-lift launch rocket that could be reused. Fuelled by NASA's funding associated with specific mission objectives, SpaceX's Dragon capsule became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station in May 2012. Back then the company was valued at $1.2 billion.
In December 2015, SpaceX demonstrated its ability to successfully land and recover its Falcon 9 rocket and in 2017, it reached a milestone of successfully landing a reused launcher. A funding round that followed then valued the company at $21 billion.
In 2019, SpaceX launches its first batch of Starlink satellites that aims to deploy the largest constellation to provide satellite-based internet services around the world and the company's valuation soared to $33 billion.
A 2020 launch of its Crew Dragon spacecraft took two NASA astronauts to the ISS, marking the first occasion where a private company sent astronauts there and a nearly two billion funding round valued the company at $46 billion at that time. As the Starlink constellation grew and internet services began, SpaceX's valuation ballooned to $100 billion in just a year later.
As the invasion of Ukraine soured relations between Europe and Russia, The European Space Agency (ESA) approached SpaceX for launch support as the Russian Soyuz became inaccessible. A funding round in 2022 saw SpaceX valued at $127 billion.
SpaceX soars as Tesla tanks
2022 was a topsy-turvy year for Elon Musk. As the world's richest person, Musk forayed into the world of social media by moving to acquire Twitter. As he spent more time at the social media company and offloaded Tesla stock to fund his new purchase, investors became jittery and dropped Tesla stock sending its value into a 65 percent slide.
SpaceX, although privately held, seems to have soared in the eyes of investors during this time as the company completed a record 60 launches of its reusable Falcon rocket and kept internet services running in conflict regions of Ukraine and Iran. Recently, it was also approached by NASA in a bid to rescue two Russian cosmonauts and an astronaut after the ISS had a leak, CNET reported.
Andreesen Horowitz, an early investor in SpaceX is now leading another round of investment into the company that will see its valuation soar to $137 billion. With the Starship program still in the works and its eyes set on Mars, SpaceX is just getting started.