Astrocast CEO Fabien Jordan (Source: Fabien Jordan Twitter feed)

IoT company Astrocast and launch provider Rocket Lab go public via different routes

This week IoT service provider Astrocast and launch provider Rocket Lab became publicly traded companies, both on the same day.  Astrocast went a more traditional route in Europe while Rocket Lab went through a SPAC process to join NASDAQ.

Switzerland-based Astrocast released its shares on the Euronext Growth market in Oslo, the first IoT satellite firm to do so in a public market. The company raised nearly $44 million (USD) prior to going public and will use the funds to build and launch more satellites as well as to expand its worldwide marketing efforts.

“Astrocast is recognised as one of the pioneers, and one of the most advanced companies in the world providing low-cost global connectivity for the IoT,” said Fabien Jordan, CEO of Astrocast. “Lack of such connectivity has been a roadblock for a massive expansion of this market.”

Astrocast currently has 10 operational satellites in orbit and plans to put a total of 100 satellites up by the end of 2024.  The company’s low-power IoT network enables companies to track, measure, manage, communicate, and control IoT assets in the world’s most remote regions, as well as anything simply outside of cellular or other wireless networks.

Investors involved in the stock offering included US-based Adit Ventures, Palantir, and Swiss-based private equity firm DAA capital partners.  Existing owners of stock include Airbus Ventures, Verve, and DAA.

Rocket Lab completed its merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation and now trades on NASDAQ under the RKLB symbol. Gross proceeds to Rocket Lab totaled a whopping $777 million, including funds in Vector’s trust account and concurrent PIPE financing.  

“As a leader in democratizing access to space, Rocket Lab is well positioned to capitalize on exciting opportunities in commercial and government-sponsored space industry innovation,” said Alex Slusky, CEO of Vector. “We are confident in Rocket Lab’s ability to deliver outstanding performance and reliability to drive long-term value for shareholders.”

Rocket Lab will use the large pile of cash to do a lot of things including accelerating growth in the space systems market, fund the development of the new reusable, medium-class Neutron rocket, and support further organic and inorganic (buy companies) growth in the space systems ecosystem and potential future applications to deliver data and services from space.

“Our team is motivated by the enormous impact we can have on Earth by making it easier to get to space and to do incredible things there. We are excited to be making that a reality by embarking on our next chapter as a public company,” said Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive Officer, Peter Beck. “With our Electron rocket and Photon spacecraft, we’ve simplified space, making it easy and affordable for companies, scientists, governments, and entrepreneurs alike to get their ideas to orbit. Today, we take the next step toward unlocking the full potential of space, paving the way for our larger Neutron launch vehicle which will deploy the constellations of the future, and supporting our potential future expansion into space applications. I am thrilled to declare space open for business.”

Like other New Space companies going SPAC this year, Rocket Lab is positioning themselves as an end-to-end space services company, including launch, spacecraft manufacture, and on-orbit spacecraft management, along with leaving the door open to buy other space companies that provide services.  The company has been on a roll selling its small-sized Photon spacecraft, offering it as a “satellite-as-a-service” solution, announcing sales to NASA for missions to the Moon and Mars and commercially to Varda Space industries to manufacture goods in orbit.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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