Investment in space dropped 58% in 2022

According to a new report by Space Capital, a New York venture capital firm, overall investment in space dropped 58% in 2022, dropping from the $47.4 billion peak in 2021 to $20.1 billion in 2022.

Space Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm, published its Space Investment Quarterly Jan. 19 for the fourth quarter of 2022. The report notes that early-stage startups fared better than later-stage and growth companies.

One exception was SpaceX, which raised $2 billion in 2022, or 32 percent of the total 2022 private investment in space infrastructure. SpaceX was also in the minority because it raised capital in both 2021 and 2022. Only 38 percent of the space infrastructure companies that raised capital in 2021 sought additional funding in 2022.

Essentially, if you remove SpaceX from the picture, major investment in space startups largely came to a halt in 2022. Furthermore, the report states that it also expects further investment in 2023 to be parsimonious. Apparently the venture capital community has realized how risky many of these space startups are (as seen by the loss of stock value for companies like Virgin Galactic, Astra, and Virgin Orbit), and is becoming more careful where it puts its money.

SpaceX raises another $750 million in private investment capital

SpaceX has just completed another round of fund-raising, gaining another $750 million in private investment capital.

This additional money now means that SpaceX has raised about $10 billion in private money, most of which is being used for the development of Starship and Superheavy. When we add the $4 billion SpaceX will get from NASA for Starship, the company now has $14 billion to build this new rocket.

SpaceX in preliminary negotiations for another big fundraising round

Capitalism in space: According to this report, SpaceX is now in preliminary negotiations with investors prior to beginning another big fundraising round, even though the company just raised $1.9 billion in private investment capital in August.

The talks are still in early phases, and exact pricing for the fundraising round has not yet been determined, one of the people said. Terms could still change, and it could take several weeks to decide and firm up allocations, the person added. SpaceX also may not be able to convince investors to give it the lofty valuation it desires. Allocations refer to which investors will be authorized to buy shares and how much they will pay for those shares.

“It’s a pretty big shock to me, honestly,” one of the people said. “What company jumps to double its valuation in six months? I don’t care at what scale you’re operating, it’s kind of crazy,” they added. “If you look at the series, every single valuation is a 10 to 20% bump.”

It appears that the company is trying to leverage its successes with Dragon, Starship, and Starlink to obtain more funding. The story also suggests that SpaceX now has a better sense of what it will cost to get Starship built, and thus is looking to obtain those funds now, when they are in a good position to get them.

SpaceX raises $346 million more in investment capital

Capitalism in space: According to Elon Musk, SpaceX has raised an additional $346 million more in investment capital.

According to the very short article at the link, this brings the total raised during this latest fund-raising round to $567 million. This is puzzling, as in March SpaceX announced that it had raised $500 million in this round. If the company has raised an additional $346, the total should be higher.

Either way, this brings the total raised by the company to close to $2 billion, almost all of which is being dedicated to building Starship & Super Heavy. Compared to what NASA spends on SLS/Orion — about $3 billion per year with a total about $50 billion when its first manned mission occurs finally in 2024 — this is chicken feed. However, for a private company fueled by competition and good management (unlike NASA), it is likely more than enough to get the job done.