LOS ANGELES, March 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rocket Lab announced today that it has completed a Series B financing round, led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) with full participation from existing investors Khosla Ventures and K1W1 investment fund. In addition, Lockheed Martin will make a strategic investment in Rocket Lab to support the exploration of future aerospace technologies.
The company will use the funding to complete the Electron launch system and plans to begin operations as a commercial launch provider as early as 2016.
David Cowan, a BVP partner and former Skybox Board member, has joined Rocket Lab's Board as part of BVP's funding. "On the South Pacific islands of New Zealand, a world class team of engineers is designing a rocket that will revolutionize aerospace," says Cowan.
"With unprecedented economy, reliability, fuel efficiency and frequency, Electron is the transformational launch option that small satellite constellations need to usher in a new era of space colonization."
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck says the company is delighted to be partnering with new investors BVP and Lockheed Martin. "Bessemer Venture Partners, a leading VC firm, actively invests in space startups and Lockheed Martin, an aerospace powerhouse with a deep history in space systems, has been instrumental in all major American space endeavors over the last century. We are thrilled to have these global space institutions as part of the Rocket Lab team."
"Lockheed Martin pursues technology investments that help us keep pace with innovation across the industry," said Lockheed Martin's Chief Scientist Ned Allen. "Rocket Lab's work could have application in a number of aerospace domains, and we look forward to working with them to complement our overall efforts in small lift capabilities and hypersonic flight technologies."
Rocket Lab expects to reveal further details about the Electron launch system in April 2015 at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
Rocket Lab is building an all carbon-composite launch vehicle, named Electron. Electron is a revolutionary launch system, designed to liberate the emerging small satellite market. Electron can rapidly deliver small satellites to commercial orbits at world-first frequency and will be the world's most affordable launch service for small satellites. The lead-time for businesses to launch a satellite will be reduced from years to weeks through vertical integration with Rocket Lab's private launch facility in Auckland, New Zealand. The first Electron launch is planned for December 2015.
About Rocket Lab
Peter Beck established Rocket Lab in 2008 as a center for advanced space programs. Rocket Lab's mission is to remove the barriers to commercial space by providing high-frequency, low-cost launches. The company was founded on the belief that small payloads require dedicated small launch vehicles and the flexibility not currently offered by traditional rocket systems. The Auckland startup has developed and launched more than 80 rockets and has worked with customers including Lockheed Martin, DARPA and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Rocket Lab employs a large team of industry experts, who are based at Rocket Lab's facility in Auckland and the USA. Learn more at www.rocketlabusa.com or on Twitter @rocketlabltd.
About Bessemer Venture Partners
Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) invests in early-stage, hyper-growth startups, partnering closely with entrepreneurs to build durable businesses. BVP is a global firm with offices in Menlo Park, Cambridge, New York, Bangalore, Herzliya and Sao Paulo. With $4 billion under management, BVP invests anywhere from $100,000 to $75 million in innovative companies like Pinterest, Twitch, Box, LinkedIn, Shopify, Yelp, Skybox and Skype. More than 100 BVP companies have gone public and in the last three years alone, BVP has had 37exits (IPO and M&A) and made new investments in more than 70 companies. Learn more at www.bvp.com/space or on Twitter @BessemerVP.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
Devorah Duemler, Voce Communications
SOURCE Rocket Lab