SpaceX Has Raised $1 Billion In 2021 So Far—Is Starlink IPO Next?

SpaceX is now worth $74 billion. Tim Peake / ESA/NASA via Getty Images

Just two months after SpaceX was reported to have raised $850 million in fresh capital through an equity sale, the space company revealed in a new SEC filing that it has raised an additional $314 million in that round. The raise brings its total capital infusion this year to $1.16 billion.

Notably, it could have raised even more. According to CNBC, which first reported the $850 million funding news in February, that equity sale received $6 billion in offers in just three days. SpaceX ended up raising just a fraction of that, at $420 (Elon Musk’s lucky number) per share.

It’s the third time SpaceX has raised more than $1 billion in a single round. The company’s market value currently stands at $74 billion, twice what it was worth this time last year and about half the market cap of Boeing, the largest aerospace company in the nation.

Private investment in space companies reached a record high of $8.9 billion in 2020, according to a January report by New York-based firm Space Capital. The report highlighted “accelerating space ambitions” of Big Tech-backed space projects, such as Amazon’s Project Kuiper and Microsoft’s Azure Orbital service.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper is a direct competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink, with both aiming to build a global satellite constellation-based internet service. Microsoft’s Azure Orbital is a partner with SpaceX, connecting Starlink satellites directly to its cloud computing network through ground stations. It’s also a competitor to Amazon’s existing AWS Ground Station service.

SpaceX is raising fast cash to fund the manufacturing and deployment of Starlink satellites. The company is launching nearly 200 satellites every month to expand the Starlink constellation in low Earth orbit. The constellation is already large enough to provide stable internet access in certain parts of the world. SpaceX is on track to achieve global service coverage this year.

Per Musk’s estimate, SpaceX will need about $10 billion to build a constellation of 12,000 satellites. That means SpaceX will likely raise more capital in the near future. Investors have high hopes for the next fundraising round to be an IPO, ideally of Starlink as a separate company.

Musk has hinted at the plan multiple times. “SpaceX needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable,” Musk tweeted in February. “Once we can predict cash flow reasonably well, Starlink will IPO.”

SpaceX Has Raised $1 Billion In 2021 So Far—Is Starlink IPO Next?