Rocket Lab's value shoots past US$1b after capital raise
The value of Kiwi satellite launch company Rocket Lab has rocketed past US$1 billion (NZ$1.42b).
The company said on Wednesday it had secured another $105m of investment following a funding round by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Data Collective.
Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 investment firm, as well as Promus Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Khosla Ventures all invested, bringing total investment in the company to $210m.
Rocket Lab said this valued the company at more than $1.42b.
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Chief executive Peter Beck said it had been a big year for the company, which last month transported its first space vehicle from Auckland to a remote launch site at the tip of Mahia Peninsula in northern Hawke's Bay.
The rocket – named It's a Test – was being tested before being blasted into space at a yet-to-be-determined date.
"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," Beck said.
"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."
Rocket Lab said on Wednesday it was also moving into a new Los Angeles facility, where it had been headquartered since 2013, as well as expanding its engineering and business units in both the United States and new Zealand.
The company had bought two buildings in Auckland and was recruiting across Mahia, Auckland and Los Angeles.
Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle would be used to send satellites into orbit at a cost of US$4.9 million (NZ$6.9m), has completed its flight qualification and acceptance testing.
In September, it completed its launch site and in June the Government said it was putting in place a new regulatory regime for space launches from the country.
Rocket Lab's launch range, which was licensed to launch every 72 hours for the next 30 years, would mean the country would soon become the nation with the highest frequency of space launches anywhere in the world.
A report from Sapere Research Group in June found Rocket Lab's establishment of a rocket launch industry in New Zealand would contribute between $600m and $1.55 billion to the economy over the next 20 years.
Nasa, Planet, Spire and Moon Express have all signed on as customers.