Privately held Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, has authorized another venture capital fundraising round that values the Elon Musk-founded firm at a tidy $25 billion. SpaceX sought $507 million in new funding at that valuation.
At its last funding round in November of last year, SpaceX raised $450 million at a valuation of $20.8 billion, according to data from Pitchbook. Since 2002 the company has raised $1.66 billion, and that total will rise to $2.17 billion when this new round is completed.
Musk has been upfront about a time horizon for SpaceX to return a profit. CNBC cited venture capitalist Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, who said Musk asked her if she was ready “to not see a return for 15 years.” For venture capital, that’s a geologic time-scale.
SpaceX is positioned to be the third-most valuable venture-funded startup in the world, behind only Uber and Airbnb. The company has launched seven missions so far this year and is targeting a total of 30 by year’s end. SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a NASA payload on Monday.
Robert Hilmer, head of business development for private market analysis group Equidate, told CNBC:
There is an unlimited amount of funding that the company could probably access globally in private markets. … I don’t think there is a company in the world that has this sort of runway, because of the faith and support from investors in Elon and the team to execute.
SpaceX’s vision and goal is to launch a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR, where the “F” may have alternate meanings) to establish a permanent, self-sustaining human outpost on Mars. The company released a plan last September that had the BFR sending a cargo to Mars by 2022 and sending people to the Red Planet by 2024.