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Billionaires' Race to Space 🚀

Billionaires' Race to Space 🚀
June 2, 2021

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Apparently, the competition to be named "richest man in the world," a quarterly toss-up between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, isn't enough. The two are now duking it out over space dominion. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have each founded and funded space exploration programs since the early 2000s, SpaceX and Blue Origin, respectively. Today, we take a look at this cold (space) war of 2021.

       

Blue Origin; NASA; Win McNamee/Getty Images; Mike Blake/Reuters; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Elon Musk’s SpaceX:

Elon Musk’s exploration of space began with a vision of sending an experimental greenhouse and video-recording setup to Mars -- all with a humble budget of $20MM. When this budget was quickly expended, he realized that he needed a way to create reusable (i.e. cheaper) rockets for sending people and devices into orbit. So far, SpaceX holds the largest partnership with governmental space agencies, with NASA picking it for operating the first mission to land astronauts on the moon since 1972. Musk believes the future of humanity relies on its ability to populate Mars and has a goal of settling 1MM people on Mars by 2050. 

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin:

The Amazon founder has been selling off $1BN of Amazon stock each year to fund his ambitions toward cheaper space exploration, including space tourism. The company, called Blue Origin, has contested its losing bid for the NASA project to put people back on the moon. A Washington State democrat proposed an amendment to the plan that would include Blue Origin for the construction of moon landers and added $10BN to the proposed budget for the project won by Musk & SpaceX. Bernie Sanders, an avid Bezos denier, submitted his own amendment calling for the blockage of the "Bezos bailout."

Private companies working in space 👨‍🚀

  • Ramon.Space is a Palo Alto-based private company providing super-computing systems for space applications to be developed. The company received a $17.5MM Series A from StageOne Ventures in May.

  • Vertex Aerospace offers aerospace thermal engineering for spacecraft and counts NASA among its customers. Vertex will be working on NASA’s dragonfly mission to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, expected to launch in 2026. Founded in 1977 in Grasonville, Maryland, the company has steadily risen to 4,450 employees. 

  • Peraton provides integration, engineering, 24/7 satellite ground operations, Space Situational Awareness (SSA), and technical support solutions to the National Security and Civil Space sectors. 

  • Science Systems and Applications has had impressive growth over the last few years, doubling its valuation between 2017 and 2020. The company provides scientific, engineering, and IT support for companies who are exploring space.
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Since last week, PrivCo has added:

607 Companies | 260 Funding Activities | 89 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Breinfy raises $11MM from Gutbrain Ventures & PBJ Capital
Technology Services • Seed • Cupertino, CA

Airspace Link raises $10MM from Altos Ventures
Aerospace & Defense • Round A • Detroit, MI

Poparazzi raises $20MM from Benchmark
Software & Internet Services • Round A • Marina del Rey, CA

Genapsys raises $70MM from Farallon Capital Management
Biotechnology • Round D • Redwood City, CA

QuintoAndar raises $300MM from Ribbit Capital
Hotel, Resorts, Casinos, & Cruise Lines • Round E • Sao Paulo, Brazil

Full Truck Alliance raises $1.7BN from Softbank, Sequoia Capital China, Permira Advisers & Fidelity Investments
Logistics Services • Equity • Nanjing, China

 

Motiv Power Systems raises $20MM from Crescent Cove Advisors
Commercial Products & Office Supplies • Debt • San Mateo, CA

Redacted raises $35MM from Ten Eleven Ventures
Security Software & Internet Services • Round B • San Francisco, CA

Fold raises $13MM from Craft Ventures
Software & Internet Services • Round A • San Mateo, CA

KKR acquires Cloudera $5.3BN
Analytics Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • Santa Clara, CA

OwnBackup acquires Nimmetry
Data Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • Santa Clara, CA

DocuSign acquires Clause
Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • New York, NY

KKR acquires Property Exchange Australia for $2.3BN
Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • Melbourne, Australia

Odyssey Investment Partners acquires The Planet Group
Human Resources & Employment Services • Acquisition • Northbrook, IL

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