WASHINGTON – Small launch vehicle developer Launcher has raised $ 11.7 million in Series A funding round, which the company says puts it on track to reach orbit with a fraction of the investment total of other launch startups.
Launcher said on June 2 that the Series A cycle was co-led by Boost.VC and company founder Max Haot, both of whom provided seed funding to the startup. Haot invested $ 5 million using the product from a camera company, Mevo.com, which he sold earlier this year to Logitech. Other existing and new investors also participated in the round, which Haot said was oversubscribed to SpaceNews.
Launcher, founded in New York in 2017, moved to Southern California earlier this year. “The supply chain is there, the talent is there and a lot of our customers are here, including the Space Force,” Haot said in a previous interview about the move. The company currently has around thirty employees, spread between California and a subsidiary in Ukraine.
Haot said the Series A tour will fund “accelerating growth” for the team and the new California plant. The company expects to reach around 70 people by the end of the year.
Launcher works on a small launcher called Launcher Light, designed to perform similarly to Rocket Lab’s Electron, which can place up to 300 kilograms in low earth orbit. Launcher Light is a smaller version of Rocket-1, the company’s original vehicle, which Haot said in March is expected to speed up development as it will require fewer engines.
The company is already planning a Series B round. Haot said the company is looking to raise $ 40 million in that round, closing it early next year. This would support the company through four Launcher Light test flights starting in 2024. “We believe this will allow us to reach orbit on one of those flights,” he said.
If successful, Launcher would reach orbit for a fraction of the cost of other launch vehicle launches. Rocket Lab, for example, spent around $ 100 million to reach orbit with its Electron rocket, while Virgin Orbit reportedly spent significantly more to develop its LauncherOne.
Haot said he believed it was possible based on the company’s past frugality: It has spent $ 6 million to date, including a $ 1.5 million prize for innovation research. Small Business Enterprise (SBIR) of the Space Force, which supported work on engine development and testing. “This level of relative capital efficiency is something we are proud of and provides proof of our ability to meet our total investment target of $ 50 million in orbit,” he said.
Haot added that his business has no plans to stop with Launcher Light. “A small pitcher is a stepping stone to bigger engines and vehicles in our roadmap,” he said, “not the end of the game”.