ABL Space Systems Rockets to $2.4 Billion Valuation

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

ABL rocket

Rocket builder ABL Space Systems announced a $200 million funding round on Monday, its biggest to date.


The deal values the El Segundo-based firm at $2.4 billion, seven months after it blew past the $1 billion mark to reach so-called unicorn status. Previous investors including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and others chipped in.

ABL says the latest injection of capital will go toward scaling production of its first rocket, the RS1 launch vehicle as well as to "conduct research and development of future systems."

Their RS1 aims to carry up to 1,350 kg into low Earth orbit — around 200 kilometers above the Earth. ABL is among a number of U.S. rocket builders like Long Beach-based Rocket Lab and Hawthorne-based SpaceX that are competing in the growing small satellite market.

In a possible dig at SpaceX and Elon Musk's grandiose talk of turning humans into an interplanetary species, ABL positions its rocket as a low-cost way to launch payloads: "No over-design, no gimmicks—just reliable, regular launches."

Co-founded in 2017 by former senior SpaceX engineer Harry O'Hanley, ABL has recently secured large contracts with Lockheed Martin, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Asked about the origin of the ABL name, co-founder and chief financial officer Dan Piemont told dot.LA by email, "There's no specific meaning behind it. Consider it a celebration of the storied history of opaque acronyms in space travel."

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Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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