Vector Raises $70 Million Series Be Funding Round

Flight test of P-19H engineering model of the Vector-R launch vehicle from Friends of Amateur Rocketry site in California. (Credit: Vector Space Systems)

TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 19, 2018 (Vector PR) — Vector, a leading microsatellite launch company comprised of New Space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced that it has secured $70M in a Series B funding round led by Kodem Growth Partners, in conjunction with Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures also participated in the round. This latest investment follows a surge in enthusiasm around Vector’s unique approach to the space industry and will help further Vector’s vision to fundamentally change the way space is accessed.

“Vector is entering an extremely important phase of our journey, transitioning from a focus on research and development to flight operations and profitability. This Series B financing is a critical element in Vector’s mission to improve access to space and become a dominant launch provider to the small satellite industry,” said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector. “We appreciate the confidence that our existing Series A investors have shown in their support for Vector, including Sequoia, Lightspeed and Shasta Ventures. We’re excited to welcome our new investors, Kodem Growth Partners, who bring deep industry expertise, tremendous financial backing and exposure to the capital markets consistent with our goal to make an initial public offering of Vector.”

“Vector’s solution for routine and affordable access to space is what motivated Sequoia to partner with Vector in their Series A,” said Bill Coughran, Partner at Sequoia. “Since then, Vector has grown rapidly and we look forward to continuing the journey with this tenacious team.”

“Low earth orbit satellite launches are projected to grow nearly four times in the next four years, but no dedicated launch platform exists with robust capability to get small satellites into space,” said Alex Taussig, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “We believe in Vector’s ability to capitalize on the tremendous customer interest through its launch services, which is why we’ve increased our investment in this round.”

Capitalizing on the booming small satellite launch market, the Series B round saw investment from new investors, Kodem Growth Partners, who will help Vector achieve its ultimate goal of positioning the company for an eventual initial public offering. As part of the Series B financing round, Vector welcomes Philip Friedman, Operating Partner at Kodem Growth Partners, to its board of directors. Vector’s current board includes Bill Coughran from Sequoia, James Palmer formerly of Northrop Grumman Corporation, as well as Jim Cantrell, John Garvey and Shaun Coleman from Vector.

“We view Vector as a true platform investment in a segment of the aerospace market that is undergoing rapid transformation driven by innovative private sector companies,” said Philip Friedman, Operating Partner at Kodem Growth Partners. “It’s an honor to join the board of directors and support the Vector team through this exciting time. Vector will be a leader in the launch and software defined satellite categories, which offers a tremendous opportunity for value creation.”

In addition to raising its Series B funding, Vector has achieved several notable milestones since its Series A round including:

  • Achieving many technical milestones and proving the ability to launch anywhere, anytime with the first launch of a rocket from Camden, Ga., and concept of operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
  • Attracting key talent including Vice President of Manufacturing Brian Barron, who is leading efforts to industrialize the production of launch vehicles and factory operations.
  • Expanding sales to Japan and other Asia markets, and securing several key customer wins and launch agreements.
  • Executing strategic partnership with industry leader Citrix Systems.
  • Expanding its footprint with new Silicon Valley headquarters to facilitate growth in sales and marketing, and also opening Vector’s software defined satellite division, GalacticSky.
  • Receiving 12 issued U.S. patents for Vector software defined satellite technology and critical launch vehicle components.

Over the next few months, Vector will expand its sales and marketing teams, effectively doubling its footprint in Silicon Valley. In addition, as the company enters into the production phase of its launch vehicles, Vector expects to break ground on its state-of-the-art factory in Tucson, AZ. This financing round also marks a critical milestone on Vector’s journey towards its first orbital attempt, which will take place from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska.

About Vector:

Created by the original founding team of SpaceX, Vector connects space startups and innovators with dedicated launch services and enabling platforms to access space more efficiently than ever before. Vector is proud to design, build and launch its vehicles and enabling platforms in the United States of America. For more information, please visit http://www.vector-launch.com

About Sequoia Capital:

From idea to IPO and beyond, the Sequoia team helps a small number of daring founders build legendary companies. We spur them to push the boundaries of what’s possible. In partnering with Sequoia, companies benefit from our unmatched network and the lessons we’ve learned over 45 years working with Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, John Morgridge, Jerry Yang, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jan Koum, Brian Chesky, Drew Houston, Adi Tatarko and Jack Dorsey, among many others. In aggregate, Sequoia-backed companies account for more than 20% of NASDAQ’s total value. We’re proud that their success also fuels great causes. The vast majority of money we invest is on behalf of non-profits and schools like the Ford Foundation, Mayo Clinic and MIT, which means that the returns generated from the incredible achievements of founders can make a massive difference.

About Lightspeed Venture Partners:

Lightspeed Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise and Consumer sectors. Over the past two decades, the Lightspeed team has backed hundreds of entrepreneurs and helped build more than 300 companies globally, including Snap, The Honest Company, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics, MuleSoft, and GrubHub. The Firm currently manages over $6 billion of committed capital and invests in the U.S. and internationally, with investment professionals and advisors in Silicon Valley, Israel, India and China.

About Kodem Growth Partners:
Kodem Growth Partners is a New York City based investment and commercialization firm organized to scale technology enabled businesses with capital and access to decision makers globally. The Kodem team leverages its relationships with senior decision makers in the public and private sectors developed over decades as operators, advisors and investors in order to accelerate partner company growth and create value. To learn more, please visit: https://www.kodemgrowth.com/

About Philip Friedman:
Phil Friedman has been involved in the Aerospace and Defense Industry for more than 35 years in a number of different capacities.  He was a sell-side analyst at Morgan Stanley, a portfolio manager and Chief Investment Officer of two buy-side institutional asset management firms, an investment banker at Perella Weinberg and the founder of a satellite company.  He is currently an Operating Partner at Kodem Growth Partners, which is an investment and commercialization firm organized to scale technology enabled businesses with capital and access to decision makers globally in the public and private sectors.  Phil is also a Senior Advisor at Perella Weinberg Partners.

  • duheagle

    Okay, so money is no longer a problem. Now we need to see some launches, especially an initial foray into LEO. As things stand, Vector trails Up and Exos in impressiveness of missions launched to-date. Time to show us some moves, people.

  • Vectors next launch looks like an upgrade of the single engine amateur rocket they launched to 5,000 feet in October 2017. Their site shows their smallest planned operational rocket has 3 motors. They’ll be years behind Rocket Lab by the time they get past their prototypes. Vector is the noisiest of the terminally slow rocket companies and has never demonstrated guidance or staging. The lead investor Kodem is itself a 2018 startup with a single investment which happens to be Vector.

  • Ignacio Rockwill

    Agreed. I hope this 70 million improves their signal to noise ratio, but I doubt it.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    So 70 million now, 40 million last year, and a few millions the years before that. If they’re not double reporting, they’ve crossed the 100 million dollar mark. They have some early Space X’ers who were part of a company that seemed to do far more with their first 100 mil than this crew. As for their factory, I thought Pima county already built that facility for them. It’s big. In fact, I’m going to go take a pic of it later this week just to make sure I’m remembering right. A few things seem a bit fishy here.

  • savuporo

    That could be done far cheaper by taking away Cantrell’s twitter access. I think i’d be okay if they leave the noise at the current level but boost the signal

  • The headline is misleading because Vector hasn’t necessarily raised $70 million in CASH. They’ve raised an unknown amount of cash for equity VALUED at $70 million. The amount actually received is for a portion of the perceived value of a Vector as a private company. The exact description used for this “investment” on Crunchbase is, “This investment – Series B – Vector Launch, Inc. – was valued at $70M.” For instance, if the investors paid $10 million for a 50% share of Vector that had a perceived (but unknowable) value of $140 million, then the new investors $10 mil bought them $70 mil in VALUE. It’s the ratio between the secret value, cash paid, and percentage of stock acquired that determines Value. We do not know how much cash was raised. The “investor” always looks for the most “Value” they can negotiate for the least amount of cash.