Rocket Maker Firefly Aerospace Lands $75 Million in Funding and Becomes Austin’s Latest Unicorn

Tom Markusic, Founder of Firefly Aerospace, photo by Errich Petersen

Rocket maker Firefly Aerospace has landed $75 million in venture capital funding, giving it a $1 billion valuation, making it Austin’s latest Unicorn.

The company’s Series A funding round was led by DADA Holdings, with participation by Astera Institute, Canon Ball LLC, Reuben Brothers Limited, SMS Capital Investment LLC, Raven One Ventures, The XBTO Ventures, and other investors.

The round was oversubscribed, which led Firefly’s seed investor, Noosphere Ventures, to sell approximately $100 million of its holdings of Firefly equity to investors through secondary transactions, according to the company.

The funding comes as Firefly is set to launch its flagship

Alpha small launch vehicle. The company plans to raise an additional $300 million later this year to fund its growth plans through 2025, according to a news release.

“It is gratifying to see such strong investor interest that far exceeded our near-term funding goal of $75 million,” Tom Markusic, Firefly’s CEO, said in a news release. “Firefly is excited to welcome our new partners, prior to our inaugural launch of Alpha. Post launch we will embark on a second larger round, that will enable Firefly to execute fully its business plan of new spacecraft and launch vehicle development. With our recent major contract wins and the arrival of new, strong financial partners, 2021 is proving to be a breakout year for Firefly.”

In addition to the funding, Firefly recently was awarded a $93.3 million NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services contract to deliver 10 science payloads to the surface of the Moon in 2023 using its Blue Ghost lunar lander.

Firefly is currently completing preparations for the inaugural launch of its Alpha launch vehicle from Vandenberg Space Force Base Space Launch Complex 2.

“Noosphere is proud to have supported the early development of Firefly Aerospace and the Alpha launch vehicle, “ Max Polyakov, founder of Noosphere Ventures, said in a news release. “As Firefly transitions into commercial service and embarks on additional ambitious programs such as lunar payload deliver, the time is right to expand the Firefly Investor base. We are delighted that Firefly has succeeded in attracting new investors that share Firefly’s long-term vision of “Making Space for Everyone.”